I was honored to be the first person to interview the Rocket Languages co-founder and CEO, Jason Oxenham. He is a bilingual francophile hailing from Christchurch, New Zealand, and the engineering brainchild behind this highly-effective language learning system.
Jason manages a team of 30+ educators, linguists, course writers, researchers and Web/app developers based primarily in Christchurch, New Zealand, and also sprinkled across the globe.
As this show goes live, Rocket Languages is available for the following 13 languages:
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Sign Language
Rocket Languages also has products for both Japanese and Spanish speakers learning English.
Mondly is a freemium app for iOS, Android and Web which has been downloaded in over 190 countries by 30+ million people.
The app integrates chatbot technology with VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) experiences.
"The idea behind Mondly is it's really easy to get in. It only takes ten seconds. You download the app, you hit start and you're actually hearing and seeing and even speaking the language."
Mondly is a revolutionary way to learn languages right from the comfort of your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. It takes you on a gamified language journey designed around real-life situations. It is a freemium app for iOS, Android and Web that has been downloaded in over 190 countries by 30+ million people.
Mondly launches you into an immersive learning experience right from the get-go and is the first language learning app to offer chatbot technology with voice recognition and the first to create both VR + AR experiences with both technologies.
Michele Frolla is an avid world traveler and polyglot who runs The Intrepid Guide, "a language and travel blog featuring travel tips, language hacks, travel phrase guides, free resources and photography from around the world".
She is an Australian native currently based in London as a springboard for language travel adventures. Michele speaks fluent English, Italian and French and is proficient in Afrikaans and Arabic.
In addition to maintaining her blog, she has a YouTube channel on the same topic where she puts together fun and helpful videos about travel phrases for specific languages and guides you through some of her favorite destinations, exploring history, language and culture along the way.
After becoming fluent in Italian, Michele realized that so many people were spending time on things that just didn't matter that much when trying to learn a language specifically for travel. She again decided to take matters into her own hands and wrote a book called Learn Italian FAST...
Aside from physical challenges, there is one main impediment to language learning: fear.
When you are afraid, your entire neurochemistry changes and you go into a state which is not at all conducive to learning and most definitely not helpful in squawking out strange noises in an unfamiliar tongue.
If you repeatedly experience fear or anything close to fear over and over in a given situation, you are likely to develop a conditioned response to those stimuli which will, unfortunately, rear its ugly head when you least want it to; for example right at the moment you actually need to speak the language in question!
My opinion is that this is exactly what happened to many people, maybe even you, in high school, or perhaps even earlier than that.
My goal here is to tease out hidden away fears, expose them for the nefarious devils they are and, ultimately, move past them into an entirely different kind of long-term potentiation; that of successfully speaking a foreign language.
Peter Galante is the founder of JapanesePod101 and co-founder and COO of Innovative Language, a Japan-based company specializing in language education through podcasting and video.
Innovative Language has been blazing a trail in the online language learning world since its flagship product, JapanesePod101, launched in 2005.
Innovative Language offers language students a full-fledged, all-in-one learning system that is engaging, fun and culturally relevant.
Lessons are scripted as entertaining audio and video shows focused on interesting and useful topics led by two hosts - a native speaker and a learner with a high level of proficiency.
Each 10-minute lesson is the result of no fewer than five hours (and often much more) of planning, writing and production. Each lesson is accompanied by a full transcript of the show as well as further details and instruction, including the ability to interact directly with the creators for feedback and clarification.
Richard Delamore is a significant figure in the worldwide Esperanto community and the most prolific and followed Esperanto YouTuber (he's known there as Evildea).
Richard has a background as a signals operator in the Australian army and served on the Board of Directors for the Australian Esperanto Association (AEA), the Language Festival Association (LFA) and the Esperanto Federation of New South Wales (EFNSW). Additionally, he's got experience as an actor and film maker and worked for numerous international businesses as a systems administrator.
Now he is leading the Amikumu team and believes that "Amikumu will become an essential part of every language learner's tool kit in the near future".
Amikumu is a free app that helps you find people nearby to speak any language with. It was originally created for Esperanto speakers and has since broadened its spectrum to incorporate a whopping 7,500 languages, some of which only have a handful of native speakers.
Idahosa Ness is the founder of Mimic Method, a language learning program with a twist.
Actually, a flip.
Mimic Method flips the language learning game right around by effectively training your ear from the very beginning.
It's currently available for Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Europe), Russian, and Spanish with more languages coming soon.
In this podcast episode, Idahosa explains how most traditional language learning today is focused on learning by eye whereas his method begins from day one with the ear.
He also touches on why so many would-be bilinguals fail in learning a language because of the traditional approach many textbooks and school programs are based on.
Mimic Method students learn the elemental sounds of a language and, in doing so, are able to advance much more quickly conversationally in the long run.
In this episode, Idahosa explains how Mimic Method came to be as well as how it works.
Combining a keen interest in Fractal Geometry with a love for language, Tony Marsh has created what one happy student calls "a new light" in language learning.
He helps students achieve impressive results by building a custom Language Matrix with you in person, beginning at the very start of your first lesson.
The spiral shape that permeates all life - from deep inside our cells to the edges of the visible Universe - is a phenomenal constant.
“Why”, asked Tony, “wouldn’t the same hold true for human language?”
Tony Marsh has been applying the principle of the Golden Mean to language education with exceptional, even surprising results.
The fractal nature of language is apparent in the way that "I am" is a single node from which potentially infinite points can be reached.
From any single node, you can depart in an impossible number of directions.
The entire content of any given lesson, right from the start, is focused on you and your interests.
Michael Campbell is an accomplished linguist, phonologist, Chinese dialectologist, polyglot and CEO of Glossika, a highly-respected name in language learning unlike anything else out there.
Glossika helps you build muscle memory through exposure to sound patterns.
Michael is extremely passionate about languages and language learning and has spent the better part of his life figuring out better and better ways to learn languages effectively.
It’s difficult to put a finger on just how many languages he speaks, but he is quite familiar with and able to hold his own in dozens!
In the beginning of the podcast, we get a brief history of Michael's passion for language and how, over the period of a decade, he personally helped thousands of people overcome their language learning hurdles.
This process led to an analysis of what issues in language learning needed to be addressed while helping people overcome language learning hurdles, which in turn led to the formation of Glossika.
Connor Grooms, CEO of BaseLang, first learned Spanish fast by filming a documentary about his experience!
In this episode we’ll get into not only language speed learning tips and trips, we’ll also dive into how BaseLang came to be and what has evolved since inception.
A few of the richest nuggets are available in BaseLang's free 120+ page Ultimate Guide to Spanish.
There’s some deep Spanish learning in there, folks. If you fancy long form content, this is form you.
Free shortcut to conversational Spanish course
Get the Shortcut to Conversational Spanish email course for free and find out exactly how all this works.
BaseLang is ideal for the serious fast learner! If you want to get talking Spanish straight away, this is for you.
It's also for everyone else learning Spanish as the technique can be applied to meet each individual's needs.
BaseLang has a unique model and offers unlimited Spanish tutoring sessions for $129/month.
Kirsten Campbell-Howes is Head of Education at busuu, a language learning system available online and on iOS and Android.
Currently, there are over 60 million language learners using busuu to learn a dozen languages.
As of this podcast, the languages available at busuu are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.
busuu is redefining the way people like you are approaching the rewarding yet daunting task of learning a new language.
The busuu course material is crafted by language education experts (like Kirsten), designed for beginner to advanced learners and covers all the basics including reading, writing, listening and speaking.
busuu is a guided language course enhanced by support from other learners and native speakers who offer corrections and general help as well as the potential for direct social interaction.
Forvo is a massively-useful resource for language learners at all levels who want to improve pronunciation and truly sound like a native speaker. The website has literally millions of recordings of words by native speakers in over 300 languages!
Hear how native speakers in specific locations pronounce words!
You can use this awesome database to, for example, learn how a Spanish speaker in Colombia says a word versus a Spanish speaker in Spain. In other words, you can get really specific with the exact region and accent you want to learn and hear examples of words spoken by people from that area of the world!
Forvo maintains an API for online dictionaries, language learning apps and websites. Projects interested in leveraging this amazing resource are able to link up with Forvo to work out a way to make things happen in a good way all around.
Forvo is the largest online reference for pronunciations with a database of over 3 million words pronounced in 325 languages – all create
Steve has my utmost respect - he speaks 11 languages and is still learning more in his 70s! He is convinced that you can continue to learn better and better as you get older, and the more languages you learn, the easier it gets.
Discover his story and learn how he uses his own language learning service, LingQ, to successfully learn new languages.
LingQ helps you learn languages through listening to and reading content that interests you!
I am excited to be able to bring you this interview with polyglot Steve Kaufmann of LingQ, a unique language learning system that uses authentic, interesting content to engage you in the learning process.
LingQ was launched in late 2007 by Steve Kaufmann and his son Mark in en effort to develop better tools for language learners.
The LingQ system is based on Steve's personal experiences learning eleven languages.
The HelloTalk app makes effective language exchange mobile!
I caught up with Zackery Ngai while he was traveling in Shanghai on behalf of the free HelloTalk language exchange app. He’s the project's founder and continues developing an extraordinary yet simple app for effective multilingual exchange.
HelloTalk takes it further than just a dialogue, allowing users to use enhanced tools to manage time, translate on-the-fly, exchange links and content, send recorded messages and more.
HelloTalk is a project started by and for language learners who wanted a more effective method of social language exchange. With this app, you can keep a steady flow of custom language exchange partners using built-in friending tools and privacy choices.
Zackery tells us about some upcoming features for HelloTalk including video chat and voice channels.
Preferring to stay interested with ease while learning languages, Zackery learns watching films and interacting with native speakers.
Simon Ager created Omniglot, the go-to online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages. And it’s 100% free!
You can use it to learn about languages, to learn alphabets and other writing systems, and to learn phrases in many languages.
The site offers advice on how to learn languages as well as details of nearly 200 writing systems. You'll also find tips on learning languages as well as language-related articles.
This prodigious resource also offers useful foreign phrases in more than 200 languages, with many audio recordings.
On the website you'll have free access to Multilingual texts, language names, country names, colours, numbers, idioms, time expressions, kinship words, tongue twisters, signs, proverbs and sayings and songs in many languages, a book store with language learning materials and, finally, links to online language-related resources.
That’s a lot of language goodness - and it’s all free.
Steve Ridout created Readlang to help you learn languages using numerous learning modalities including tools for enhanced online reading, a video player, a customizable dictionary, a vocab manager and a flashcard toolkit.
Enhanced online reading tools include a Web Reader that allows you to instantly translate and save text from any web page for use in learning as well as on online eReader with inline translation which reduces distractions and keeps you focused on the materials you choose to import.
With Readlang you can import your own texts - anything from poems to short stories to full length novels! - and instantly get all these cool learning tools to work with while reading what you really want.
Readlang is free to use and offers an optional and very reasonably priced upgrade to gain access to more phrase translations, increase the length of phrases you can translate and allow enhanced flashcard features.