Win private language lessons!

Hi all!

I am working on some big plans to create the best methods and resources for language learners, and I need your help.

I would like you to answer just 3 questions as much in detail as possible! It would be a massive help and there is something in it for you – scroll below:

1) What is your favourite website or software which helps you learn a language and why?

2) What is your favourite method for memorising new words?

3) What is your biggest difficulty in learning a language?

What’s in it for you??? I thought you’d never ask!

I am going to give away three iTalki promo codes, each one worth 400 points ($40), to three lucky participants. Italki helped me to practise my Russian with native speakers at very affordable prices. To learn more about iTalki please read my article here. In addition, everyone who takes part will be the first to get access to my upcoming ebook ‘Learn Russian the smart way’, for FREE.

Please send the answers to: until the 7th of August 2015!

Thank you,


Live Diversified italki promo

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  • Reply
    Charles Bentley
    July 25, 2015 at 7:38 am

    1) Duolingo seemed to me to be a great website for language learning, I toyed around with German for a while and am patiently awaiting for Russian’s release. Besides Duolingo, I also have to give a shoutout to Livemocha since it’s the one that’s basically started my language learning voyage. Influent is also a good program to make repetitive word memorization more fun by disguising it as a game.

    2) As stated in #1, Influent tries to make word memorization more enjoyable by disguising it as a game. Other than that, I’ve used RapidRote/Study Blue flashcard programs when I was learning languages for the military. All three of those keep track of how well you are memorizing the words, and the ones you get wrong fairly often, it tries to put them into use more so you can work on trouble areas. Besides them, I also love just practicing your words throughout the day by reciting the words to the objects you’re trying to remember (i.e. saying to yourself “яблоко” every time you pick up an apple)

    3) My biggest difficulty by far is keeping to a schedule of language learning. I really want to dedicate myself to it, but just can’t. When I was in the military, it was easier. I had a set schedule more or less, with grades and tests that had repercussions if I was unprepared. Outside of that, trying to learn languages on my own it’s hard to keep myself dedicated to a schedule. I’ll pick up language learning, do it for a few days steady, then just slowly drift out of it. Until I pick it up later. And besides dedication/self discipline in language learning, I know I have the skills and the materials to do it (since I’ve already done it previously), I just lack motivation/dedication.

    • Reply
      July 25, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Charles,

      Thank you for all this useful information!

      Regarding your third point, what I do myself is to find what a call ‘an accountability buddy’! It can be someone who learns the same language with you so you can practise together or check each other’s progress. It can also be someone else who has set any goal like you. You both set up micro goals and check each other on a regular basis. To give you an example, my friend Mark wanted to give up chocolate whereas I wanted to learn 30 new words in Russian every day. We used to send a message to each other on a daily basis that Mark didn’t eat any chocolate and that I did indeed learn 30 words. It helps sometimes to report to someone as it adds an element of responsibility!

      Good luck and let me know on your progress!


    • Reply
      Lady Croft
      July 25, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Charles, re. point 3: I’ve heard it’s a good habit to hook one thing to another. E.g., if you have supper and then after supper always wash up, hook 10 minutes of language learning to the end of that. Keep the time short, to make it achievable, and at the end of a week you’ll have done over an hour, and so on.
      Motivation is the clincher; Angelos has some good ideas on that but yes, one does need motivation. Though they also say that motivation comes with doing, not doing comes with motivation. So force yourself for a bit first and see if it flows after a few days.

      • Reply
        July 26, 2015 at 12:04 pm

        That’s a good idea Lady Croft! Thanks, I will give it a go!

  • Reply
    Lady Croft
    July 25, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Here’s my answers:

    1) What is your favourite website or software which helps you learn a language and why?

    Actually I’m pretty old school in this and I would recommend the Michel Thomas audio books. I used them in the past and I found them quite effective cos he’s quite good at giving you a basic toolkit very quickly, so you can communicate, and then on that you can build. Also it’s something you can listen to while commuting or walking or doing anything else; and we spend too long already stuck facing a screen. Plus it doesn’t require an internet connection so you can do it on the underground or on that remote beach.

    2) What is your favourite method for memorising new words?

    Writing them on my hand… 😉 No, really.
    Also, listening to poetry on repeat till it sinks in, and then linking those words that I know just as “sounds”, to an actual meaning. The best part is that this way, they’re already in context. The downside is I know a lot of morose lovelorn Russian, but not much about booking hotels. 😉

    3) What is your biggest difficulty in learning a language?
    There doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming need to, right now, as I can communicate in most contexts of my life reasonably adequately. So there needs to be a really clear and present reason to do so.

    • Reply
      July 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you very much for your answers Lady Croft!

      By the way I listened to an audio sample from Michel Thomas method here The lady is certainly not a native Russian speaker. I am assuming the main lessons feature native speakers, don’t they?

      With regards to poetry, that’s a nice method indeed. Do you listen to poetry on YouTube or any other sites?

      • Reply
        Lady Croft
        July 26, 2015 at 9:07 pm

        No, back in the day youtube wasn’t invented. Frankly neither was google. But I still memorised this beautiful poem:
        Although I admit I’m sure the recording I used to listen to was MUCH better, and different. But I can’t find it.

        Wikipedia has the same recording, but cleaner:

        Translations vary; this is my favourite:

        But could you?

        I blurred at once the chart of trite routine
        by splashing paint with one swift motion.
        I showed upon a plate of brawny glutin
        the slanting cheekbones of the ocean
        Upon the scales of tinny fishes
        new lips summoned, though yet mute.
        But could you
        right to the finish
        a nocturne on a drainpipe flute?
        А вы могли бы?

        Я сразу смазал карту будня,
        плеснувши краску из стакана;
        я показал на блюде студня
        косые скулы океана.
        На чешуе жестяной рыбы
        прочел я зовы новых губ.
        А вы
        ноктюрн сыграть
        могли бы
        на флейте водосточных труб?


        We also used to recite the poems out loud in class (not this one), school-style.

        PS You can call me Lara.

        • Reply
          July 27, 2015 at 7:36 am

          Beautiful poem Lara! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    July 26, 2015 at 4:09 am

    I am Russian and study english, but i think that it is not important.
    1. Duolingo and i try to translate articles for my blog (to slowly);
    2. i write out new words, then translate it and make 2 papers – with english and russian words. I stick first paper to a coldbox, and second – to the wall of another room. Where i see the paper, i read words and try to translate it. Its working.
    3. none, but you see, that my english to poor 🙂

    • Reply
      July 26, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Hey Vladimir, that’s a great way to learn! I like your 2 paper approach! Is your house full of papers? I hope you don’t have to move house quite often! 🙂 Thanks a lot. I will be soon putting together some resources to learn English too! Stay in touch!

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