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Get on with Language Study February 19, 2007

Posted by Edwin in Learning Tips.

For those who have not noticed, a post from Ken the ChinesePod entrepreneur in his blog has ignited an explosive discussion chain over the weekend. The topic? Master Steve and his language learning methodology. As of today, the number of comments is exceeding 80, not including more than a dozen from Steve’s own blog.

I am not fluent in 9 languages and I have not established any successful online language-learning business, so I am not going to give my opinion on “whether we should include the learner’s language in a beginner-level podcast”.

The debate itself is interesting, but not all of the comments. I have not read all 80 comments myself. Some are lengthy and repetitive. Others are all about how many languages someone claims to have learned. This is very typical in other language learning debates on the web. Meanwhile, I would leave the debates to the experts. I would rather spend more time getting on with my own language study.



1. 米蘭 - February 20, 2007

If Steve has the skill to master 9 languages, there must be something he is doing right! I’m sure his technique can work for the majority of people and probably produce effective results!

In regards to Ken’s Chinesepod, the method is different to Steve. However, Ken is running a business and needs to promote his methodology or language beliefs to be superior to others.

I would prefer to learn from Steve Kaufmann because he has proven his method. Why are there so many people failing to learn languages? They spend years and can’t even get fluent.

I have learnt Canto for just over 1 year following Steve’s method from the very beginning and can certainly say my Cantonese skills are better than some people I know who have learn for a few years!

Also, I believe your blog is blocked in Mainland. I tried accessing your site for the last 4 days in Guangzhou and could not access it!


2. Jeremy - February 20, 2007

I believe Ken is multi lingual also and both Steve and Ken have business ventures in language education.

Anyway, Edwin, I agree for the most part. I do read the comments and occasionally make a few of my own. Of course I have time at work to do this. When I’m at home I focus on study. When I’ve got a few minute to kill at work though I go through the CPod blog.

Just one persons perspective on it.

3. edwinlaw - February 20, 2007

I was talking with someone from China on Skype last night. He did not seem to have problem accessing my blog. I will double check with him. Thanks for letting me know.

4. edwinlaw - February 20, 2007

What you said is right. Both Ken and Steve are multi-lingual and both have their businesses. Both have plans to expand their businesses into other languages too! Obviously, they have their differences in approaching language learning.

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t object leaving comments, as I myself always do in other people’s blogs (including yours :P). But if you don’t watch out, it might takes up a lot of your time.

5. Joe - February 20, 2007

It’s an easy trap to fall into: the internet provides a lot of interesting discussion and resources for language learners, and contact with other learners can provide interesting stimulation and motivation to learn. But the other side is that you can find yourself spending more time reading ABOUT language learning than actually doing it.

The last few days I’ve found myself in an extended debate about a particular method of learning Japanese kanji (defending it from false accusations, in my view); today I realized that I’m probably putting a lot more time and effort into the debate than the other guy is, time and effort which should be put into actually LEARNING (and sure, into my job too).

6. edwinlaw - February 20, 2007

Joe, thanks for your comment. This is exactly what I am talking about, and it is a trap that I myself have been trying very hard to avoid falling into.

So I decided not reply to your other comment on ‘How Many Languages’, just to avoid both of us spending too much time discussing and falling into the same trap. 😉

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