Monthly Archives: January 2016

Interview with language blogger Kris Broholm

Today’s interviewee is Kris Broholm from Actualfluency.com who currently lives in Budapest. He runs a popular language learning blog and has helped me set up our Danish site. His in-depth interview is definitely worth reading!

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Chris Broholm with his irresistible smile!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I grew up in Denmark and lived there most of my life. I started learning English in grade 4 and German in 5. However by 11 my entire inner monologue switched to, probably terrible, English and it’s been that way ever since.

I always enjoyed language classes but a major depression removed all my interest in school and so my results were very disappointing.

Then 2 years ago I discovered the on-line polyglot community and the rest is history.

What languages do you speak?

I tell people I know some: English, Danish, German, Esperanto, Russian and Hungarian.

How do you prepare for an interview, and how do you find new interview partners?

One of my primary philosophies when preparing for an interview is that I don’t want to know a lot about the person I’m interviewing.

This is to make the conversations more valuable to the listeners or viewers who often don’t know much about the person I’m interviewing or their projects.

If I did a lot of research before every interview I’m sure it would decrease the quality of the podcast a lot, because suddenly I would be asking questions based on that information and not from a reactionary point of view.

My favourite way of finding new guests is to simply ask my audience, who would you like to hear from? Most of them say Moses McCormick or Tim Doner – the latter of which I believe will be on this season, but I sometimes get some great suggestions that I hadn’t heard of or thought about.

How much editing is necessary before you publish the interviews?

I want the interviews to be uncensored and unfiltered and so I make a point about telling every guest that once I’ve made the introduction there will be no editing of the conversation itself.

However, that doesn’t mean I can just upload the file directly so I would say each episode takes about 5 to 6 hours to make.

0.5 hour prep and pre-interview chat
1-2 hours interview
1 hour editing the audio for the podcast
1 hour editing the video for YouTube
1 hour uploading, writing and scheduling.

What are the best parts and worst parts of language blogging?

The most amazing part of being a language blogger or content producer for me is when people write me to thank me for my content. I’ve had a fair number over the years and it’s the single most rewarding experience of my entire life.

Especially my content related to depression and fighting back to get out of the proverbial hole so many people find themselves in these days. Just the idea that I, little me, actually managed to help make just one other person’s life better.

On a personal level that’s pretty awesome. To add just one more best part, the accountability that’s built in when you put your language learning on display.

I HAVE to study Hungarian, not just to actually speak it and live here in Budapest, but also so my readers and listeners don’t start to send me emails asking, “hey Kris why are you not doing anything??”

There are very few “bad parts” about being a language blogger. Of course it’s a lot of work upfront where any kind of financial return takes years to build up, but that’s more or less obvious when you start.

In general, as long as you get into a rhythm you’ll grow as a person and hopefully inspire others in the process.

The HARDEST part is for sure to keep consistent. I’ve managed to be more or less consistent with my podcast, but the blog posts have been a bit too sporadic. I hope to change that in 2016.

How is your life in Budapest? What are the pros and cons of living there?

Right now it’s extremely cold. Every day is -5-15 and going out is physically painful. Summer on the other hand was 35-40 every day and way too hot.

So I’ll put the weather on the “cons” side of the argument.

However, Budapest is an amazing place with lots of history, beautiful buildings, cultural offerings, bars, cafés, restaurants and pretty much anything you could ever want.

And it’s very affordable with a very nice tax system for freelancers.

I’m very happy here in the middle of Europe with excellent transport connectivity to the rest of the world and I plan to stay here for the foreseeable future.

What are your long term plans? Do you want to do something outside of blogging in the language field? You mentioned you have a book in the pipeline.

My long term plans are to continue to develop Actual Fluency to the point where it can generate enough income for me to go down in hours on my day job. Then I would look to possibly teaching more Danish, as that is one of my unfair advantages in the world.

Yes I have a vision of a pretty epic book in my head, but for now I can’t share any more details. I recently released a 30-page book where I talk about the right mindset to start learning a language and also share my own language learning story, how it was an escape from depression that motivated me to get into learning languages.

Do you dream in a foreign language?

Well, I live my life through a foreign language so of course my dreams are mostly in English. I have caught myself dreaming in foreign languages before though.

What do you think of constructed languages? Would you be interested to learn one?

I’m relatively fluent in Esperanto and I’m a big fan of the positive effects to your learning it can have to learn a really easy language. Esperanto also comes with a global community of people who you can instantly connect and become friends with.

I’ve learnt all the 120 words of Toki Pona and spent two days trying to speak it and although it is a bit of a silly language I found it had great effects on how I perceived the world and language in general.

I was learning Russian at the time and I was struggling to speak, because Russian is very different from English.

My problem, I discovered through Toki Pona, was that I was not trying to convey the meaning my mind was trying to convey, I was actually trying to translate from English into Russian, which severely impeded my progress.

After learning the Toki Pona word for goodbye “mi tawa” translating directly as “I leave” something clicked and I understood that when we say goodbye, we’re actually conveying the meaning of “I leave” at the most fundamental and rudimentary level this is language.

I’d recommend people spend a day or two learning it as I did, but then after that I would not spend a lot of time on it. I think the value of such a minimalist language is mostly for its creator and the first time you learn it as a learner.

I know some people speak to each other in it during conferences and stuff, but I’m not really interested in that as I don’t see it as a practical language, but more as a philosophical experiment.

How has your strategy to learn new languages changed over the years?

One of the great things about learning languages is that you can do it in so many different ways using a million different tools.

My strategy is constantly changing but I think the core is simply to engage a lot with the languages and have many lessons with native speakers.

Do you have a favourite language?

Hungarian is my favourite language right now. It’s so different and unique to any other language I’ve ever studied and it sounds awesome too.

What do you think of LearnWithOliver.com?

It’s a good concept. The main problem with spaced repetition learning today is the quality of the courses or decks and the lack of focus on full sentences.

LWO manages to do both and also offer a lot of ways to learn at an affordable price. I’m a fan.

What is your definition of fluency?

Being able to speak to people in the language without significant hesitation. Making mistakes is OK but you can’t take 15 seconds per word 🙂

I think my German is at this level. I have a high understanding, can read books and watch TV in it but when I speak I make mistakes. Also I sometimes have to explain missing words but that’s totally fine too.

What keeps you motivated to keep learning?

I’m trying to find as many avenues of motivation as possible. The primary one is to speak the language, to understand and conduct business in it.

Secondary motivation I get from going to Polyglot events all over the world and meeting up with fellow language learners as much as possible. By seeing people who’re doing much better than me I get super motivated to study on my own languages.

My blog and podcast are also sources of motivation because as I explained earlier if I’m not learning anything it’s very hard to blog about it.

What would you recommend a new language learner? How to get started?

My book “Polyglot Beginnings” has a lot of tips and tricks on how to develop the right mindset for a new language learner. I think it’s incredibly important to work on the mindset first to avoid burnout or desperation later.

The other tips is simply to keep going. Sometimes the road to fluency seems incredibly long and impossible, but the only way to fail is to stop learning.

And what point would you recommend to read up on grammar?

I don’t focus a lot on grammar. In most languages you actually don’t even need to worry about it.

For grammar-heavy languages like Hungarian and Russian I try to systematically learn about the various cases and then I consult tables when I have to try and memorise endings or rules.

How has speaking multiple changes changed you as a person?

I’ve developed a thirst to find out more about foreign cultures and in the process also become more open and tolerant. Two years ago I had no idea about Hungarian culture and now I’m living here.

Do you travel more now since you’ve learned a lot of languages?

Yes for sure. It’s a great way to experience other cultures and to broaden one’s horizon. The Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen once said; “To travel is to live!” and I agree 100%.

How can you know anything about your own life if you don’t know anything else?

Have you ever started a new language and then given up for some reason?

Yes, I gave up on French on several occasions. First I was very tired of school and just quit the subject. Secondly I was trying to learn at home, but I had not yet found the polyglot community so I had no network, no accountability and no-one to talk to about it.

One day I’ll get back to French.

How important do you think is talent when learning a language?

I don’t think talent is very important. We’ve all learnt at least one language so we’re all capable of learning more.

What talent does is speed up the process and allows you to learn more languages faster. Some people might also just be talented at concentration, which is a huge plus for language study.

Do you use mnemonics to learn new words?

I don’t generally, but if there is new information I particularly struggle with (like a tricky word) I will try and make a mnemonic for it.

The argument, which I’ve not yet found an answer for, is: “Is the effect of a mnemonic so strong that it’s worth spending many times the time on each word, rather than simply repeating it more times?”

How much time do you spend learning languages per day or per week?

I currently aim for about 1 hour of study time per day, split up into 2-3 sessions. This does not include tutoring sessions or classroom hours.

Unfortunately I sadly reach my goal, but as long as I get a little something done every day I’m happy.

Which language you learned did you find most/least challenging and why?

I think the first foreign language you try to learn on your own is always going to be the most challenging. You have to learn not only a brand new language, but you also have to teach yourself how to actually learn.

Objectively speaking Hungarian and Russian cause me struggles because they are soooo different than the other languages I know.

Esperanto was extremely easy for me and I think anyone would say the same.

Any books about language learning you can recommend?

I think Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis is a great primer to get rid of most of the limiting beliefs that stop most adults from learning languages.

Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner is a great comprehensive resource. It does focus a lot on Flashcards, so if they are not your cup of tea you will have to skip a lot of the book. If you do enjoy making your own flashcards this book is right up your alley.

Any tips for people who want to start blogging about language learning?

Be very realistic with your reasons for doing it and the time it will take to keep up. I suggest keeping to a very fixed schedule, because there is nothing worse than visiting a blog where the last post is months old.

I’d suggest people do it for their own sake, but also mine. I love to read other bloggers and it really motivates and inspires me to do better in my own language learning and blogging.

But yeah, be realistic that it’s a serious commitment.

To learn more about Kris Broholm please visit his website over at ActualFluency.com.

10 Reasons Why Knowing a Foreign Language Will Make You Happier

One of the most disappointing stats we have recently come across is that only 7% of American college students are currently attending language courses. An even more disappointing piece of data is that less than 1% of Americans who were taught a foreign language over the course of their education are proficient at it. Even so, these stats are hardly surprising, because there is more than one reason that is to blame for this situation.

First of all, there are the budget cuts, which prioritize subjects which are at the top of the list when it comes to their practical application, such as math, which leaves arts, sports, and languages out in the cold, with reduced or no funding. As a result, there are less language teachers, too.

There is also the fact that English is spoken pretty much everywhere around the world and is the unofficial language of the World Wide Web, which means that an average American will have no trouble communicating with foreigners no matter where they go.

But, we often forget about different ways in which knowing a foreign can benefit us and make us happier, which is why we have put together the following list, in order to remind ourselves, so keep on reading.

  1. The Satisfaction of Learning Something New

There are very few things in this world that feel as good as learning something new, and that is perhaps most evident when you learn a new language. You feel good about yourself, because you have accomplished something which is by no means easy, which gives an additional boost of confidence to learn other languages, or some other skills you previously thought were too difficult for you to master. Plus, there is the small bonus in being able to impress people around you with your knowledge of a foreign language.

  1. Taking Your Travelling Experience to Whole New Level

No matter how confident you are, once you find yourself in a foreign country, whose language you don’t speak, it’s natural to feel a little bit insecure or even intimidated. But, if you take the time to learn the language of the natives, your staying will turn into a totally different, and a lot more pleasant experience. There is also the fact you will be able to save money, because you will know where to find cheap lodging, transportation, and food. Also, in some countries, museum tickets are more expensive for foreigners.

  1. Being Able to Immerse Yourself in a Foreign Culture

You can learn about different countries, customs, and cultures in books or online, but nothing can compare to finding yourself on the soil of a foreign country whose language you speak, and being able to understand it and look at it from a whole different perspective. You are opening yourself to a wider range of pretty much everything: foreign movies, books, art, music, and history. Just the comfort of not needing subtitles is worth it.

  1. Meeting Different People

Like we’ve already said, pretty much everybody speaks some English nowadays, but you will find that communicating with different people online, and especially if you are visiting their country, will make them a lot friendlier towards you, because you have taken the time to learn their language, and anyone can appreciate that. Also, one can only really begin to understand the people, their emotions, the way their think, and speak, if they are familiar with all the nuances of their language.

  1. Access to More Job Opportunities

Some positions will require you to speak a certain foreign language if you want to get hired. There is also a flip side to that coin, as well, because you can command a higher salary if you are multilingual. Then there is the opportunity to go abroad and get a better job there, in some beautiful city. The fact that English is the most widely accepted language also means that there is a constant demand for English tutors and teachers, which is something you can take advantage of.

  1. Increasing Your Cognitive Abilities

Yes, learning new languages actually makes you smarter. There is whole raft of research which proves that students who speak more than one language have better test results, not just when it comes to languages, but other subjects as well, such as math. Believe or not, the process of learning and speaking one or more foreign languages actually alters your gray matter, which is responsible for information processing in your brain.

  1. Improving Knowledge of Your Native Language

Although it may seem strange, this actually makes a lot of sense. When you are learning a foreign language, it requires you to approach it in a different way to your native language. You have to be more mindful of the vocabulary, grammar, the way you compose sentences, use idioms, and apply all of those subtle details every language has. That approach will carry over to your native language, and you will begin to pay more attention to it than you ever did before.

  1. Become More Understanding of the World around You

Each culture has a slightly, or completely different view of the world, and speaking another language will help you understand world events much more clearly and figure out the reasons how and why they are taking place. Being able to evaluate something from an entirely different perspective is an eye-opening experience which nobody should not miss out on.

  1. Prevent Mental Illnesses and Disorders

Although degenerative conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s can have a number of different causes behind them, there is plenty of research data to suggest that people who learn and speak a foreign language can prevent or even slow down the progress of the disease. Keeping yourself mentally healthy is just as important as keeping yourself physically fit, and mastering a new language is one of the best ways to do it.

  1. Becoming a Well-Rounded Individual

When you put together all of the benefits of knowing a foreign language we have described above, they add up to you becoming a more confident, satisfied,
knowledgeable, and eloquent individual, which, in turn, will make you more successful, both at work and in your social life.

Learning a foreign language is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have in their lifetime. And the best thing about it is that it’s available for you in a number of different ways.

Language schools, language-learning apps, books, or simply chatting with foreigners online, those are all legitimate methods, and some of them are completely free, so why not make use of them? Start learning a new language today!

Antonio is a consultant at dissertation writing service EduGeeksClub where he provides online assistance to students and supports them throughout all stages of dissertation writing. When not doing that, he’s biking to new exciting places.

7 Tools to Polish Essay Writing Skills for Language Learning

One of the best, yet criminally underused ways to improve your knowledge of any foreign language is to start writing essays in that language. If you take a moment and think about it, it makes perfect sense. Essays require perfect grammar and spelling, as well as use of words and sentences you wouldn’t normally come across in colloquial speech. This means you will have to expand your vocabulary, especially if you are writing an essay on a specific subject which requires you to master the necessary lingo. Most importantly, once you immerse yourself deeper, you will begin to think in that language, and that is your ultimate goal.

However, it takes time before you can reach such a level where you can write essays using a foreign language. In order to make that time interval as short as possible, you can rely on a multitude of different tools which will help polish your writing and lingual skills. We have done our research and chosen 7 best ones for you.

1. EssayMap

The tricky thing about essays is that they have to abide certain rules and have a particular structure, but you shouldn’t worry about that, if you decide to start using EssayMap. Basically, this interactive tool allows you to construct an outline for your essay in a graphic environment. It is especially novice-friendly, because it helps you develop your work with step-by-step instructions. If you don’t have a decent outline, you don’t have an essay,
because an outline allows you to build your essay around it, and retain a sharp focus on the subject, instead of meandering all over the place and missing the point. It’s so easy to use, you don’t even have to register. Just open its home page, and once you are done creating your essay map, save or email the final product.

2. The Easy Essay

If you think essay tools can only help you if you are already a pretty advanced speaker, think again, because The Easy Essay can help you craft an essay whether you’re a grade school student, or a PhD candidate. It covers all levels, because it enables its users to develop a logical way of thinking.
Moreover, thanks to a built-in translator, you can pretty much use it in any language. Its global appeal is not just limited to lingual aspect of essay writing, because it can be used to produce essays and papers in any line of work, ranging from medicine, law, arts and history, to business, marketing and technology.

3. EduGeeksClub

EduGeeksClub is one of the most complete online services if you are looking to develop your essay writing skills, and take your knowledge of a foreign language to a whole new level, because you will be working with some of the best professionals in the field. They can help you cover all aspects of essay writing, starting with the research process, and ending with writing itself, proofreading and publishing. They will teach you how to access academic journals, papers and publications, how to adjust your vocabulary for the task at hand, and help you correct some of the bad grammar and spelling habits you’ve picked up along the way.

4. Paraphrasing Tool

Another way to develop your language skills through essay writing is to use Paraphrasing tool. Not only will it enable you to make your work more original, but it will also introduce you to new words, phrases and sentences which you haven’t come across before, and which offer a different way of expressing your ideas and arguments. It is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is paste a word, a paragraph, or an entire essay, and answer a simple math question asked by the app, and you will get a thoroughly rewritten content.

5. Vocaboly


Using Vocaboly is one of the most fun ways to expand your vocabulary. Offering more than 12,000 words, it also allows you to add your own, which means you can keep up with modern slang and new words that are created almost every day. It has plenty of features through which you can learn new words and definition, among which is the Word Ticket, which presents you with flash cards that contain a word along with a short definition. There is also a spelling quiz, and a multiple-choice test feature. Its user interface does feel a bit old-fashioned, but it’s simple and easy to use.

6. Thesaurus.com

When writing an essay, especially in another language, one tool which you simply can’t do without is Thesaurus. Offering a massive catalog of synonyms, Thesaurus.com will provide you with all the synonyms there are out there, but it will also suggest related and similar words, as well as history of every word, and how it came into existence. Along with Dictionary, Thesaurus is your ultimate destination for learning new words, and there is also plenty of useful features, like Word of the Day, Word Fact, and an endless number of useful blog articles.

7. PlagScan

Another tool you’re going to need when writing an essay is a plagiarism checker, and we recommend that you check out PlagScan. Out of all the plagiarism-detecting apps out there, PlagScan is one of the most accurate and one which offers a multitude of different features, such as user accounts which you can customize to your liking, accurate reports, and above all, quick and helpful customer service. Equally useful if you are native or a second language student.

Despite the fact that most people would shudder at the very mention of the word “essay”, essay writing has many advantages, including the possibility of entering contests, earning money, receiving scholarships and grants from prestigious academic institutions, and last, but not least, learning another language, with all its nuances. Start using these tools today, and see the change in your lingual skills happen for the better, every single day.

Micheal is a Content Manager at resume writing service Resumes Planet. He’s psyched about marketing, business, blogging and SMM. In his parallel life, he loves hiking and can’t wait to see the Himalayas one of these days.

Few Things That Contribute To A Good Translation

Today’s guest blog post is from Trisha Gill from TranslateDay. Enjoy!

Why is translation essential?

There are many languages in this world. A lot of information, books, documents and texts are available in all these languages. Translation allows people to get what they want in whichever language they are familiar with. There are individual translators as well as online companies that offer translation services to fulfil people’s translation needs.

What makes translation an art?

Translation is to express the ideas of a text using some other language. This is why it requires a certain skill and art. Simply changing the words may be disastrous. If the translation is not done with concentration and skill, the entire concept can be misinterpreted. Therefore, it is very important that the basic concept remains unaltered.

Translation as a career option:

Translation is a great career option in the modern world. Good translators get easily employed by companies that ensure good translation services. A number of Certified translation services throng the net and satisfy people with all types of translation requirements. Companies and individuals also hire translators for a variety of legal documents translation.

Few things that contribute to a good translation:

Translation is a great expertise. Therefore a good translator has to keep in mind a few things that contribute to a good translation.

  • Precision: A good translation offers great accuracy in interpretation of thoughts. People trust the Certified translation services for their accuracy and precision. The semantics are covered well, leaving no vague interpretations.
  • Clarity: Clarity of the expression is a must. A good translation service satisfies its customers by processing a comprehensive and uncomplicated document.
  • Factual: Facts should remain as what they are in the original document. The translator should not change them even if they seem incorrect.
    Maintain the tone and style: A good translation carries the tone and style of the actual text. The legal document translation should maintain the legal tone while an adventurous story should not allow the thrill of adventure to disappear.
  • Knowledge: A good translation requires a perfect knowledge of both the languages: the language of the original text and the language in which the text is to be translated. Plenty of information and understanding of various genres of texts are also important. The legal documents translation will require a particular kind of vocabulary and awareness; and a literary translation will require literary expertise.
  • Enhancement of skills: Enhancement of certain skills is important for a translator who aspires to get employed by companies. Certified translation services are good translation services who hire linguistics with perfect command over the language and have impeccable expression power. Hence, reading voluminously and research in various fields are necessary. Travelling, talking to people, getting to know about their history and culture are also beneficial.
  • Connect: A good translation is a bridge between two languages, two regions and two cultures. It connects thoughts, ideas and views. So the target language text should carry all the moods and expressions of the original text.

Trisha Gill, understands the essence of making excellent content that suits the needs of every business especially when it comes to translating legal documents. She can spice up your marketing campaign with the content and then incorporate TranslateDay services.