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[Archive]

Why Everything You Do Wrong Is Right

July 10, 2014

You are not a screw-up. You are not lazy. You work hard. Too hard. At things that don’t matter. You work hard at struggling and self-blame and self-hate. You work hard at worrying. You work hard at pacing the floor. You work hard at imagining terrifying, low-probability contingencies. You work hard on trying to force yourself, like a stubborn...

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What’s Wrong And Right With Vocabulary Lists — How To Use Them Without Being Used By Them

July 5, 2014
What’s Wrong And Right With Vocabulary Lists — How To Use Them Without Being Used By Them

So I met a German girl at a cafe today…actually, she was Austrian but, same difference. Anyway, we got to talking about books and  I gave her a book recommendation, and it came out that I’ve only ever read the book in Japanese, so I had to find out what the English title was. She was shocked (or maybe...

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How to Learn to Read L2 Newspapers Even Though You Suck Right Now and It Seems Impossible

June 30, 2014

Simple Version Get a newspaper written in your target language Pick out a headline Look up and learn any words you don’t know in the headline Stop for now Repeat from (1) tomorrow Detailed Version Get a newspaper — preferably a dead-tree one Pick out a headline (or an interesting-looking article, picture, caption, whatever) Google the headline Find the...

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You’re not learning the language…

June 25, 2014

…You already know the language. It already belongs to you. You’re just maintaining your knowledge. You’re not struggling and there is no “there” to get to. You’re not a foreigner; you’re just a remedial native speaker who was functionally deaf (not enough hearing hours) and is now getting speech therapy.

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Think Like An Aristocrat, Act Like A Builder

June 20, 2014

 lay Lego bricks of fluency one at a time“Mallory is famously quoted as having replied to the question “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” with the retort “Because it’s there”” Growing up, I had the privilege of interacting with people from a wide range of social classes on a daily...

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Isn’t Competing Against Yourself Kinda Lonely, Aspy and Pathetic?

June 15, 2014

There is no doubt about it. Living to amuse yourself is lonely and pathetic. But so is living to impress the Joneses. That lifestyle leaves you feeling plenty empty inside; it’s always psychologically impoverishing and often monetarily so as well. One either dies trying to fill one’s life with the accoutrements of Jonesiness (BTW, I have IRL friends who...

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