Language log 2014-03-10: Notes on Luca webinar interview

Recently, I viewed a YouTube series given by the polyglot Luca. (It’s a seven-part “webinar,” easy enough to find on YouTube.)

Here are some notes I took from it. I include them here purely so that I can refer back to later.


Luca. Bidirectional. Easier to translate from target language to home language.

I’ve refined the technique over the years.

How do I learn from scratch? Get hold of a language series that you can get from the market.

But I have to add that you have to know how to use it.

Books were written to help you acquire an ability. Learn how to choose material. You have to figure out the best way to use it, to make the best out of it.

Find yourself a language partner as soon as possible.

Nobody has really ever learned a language totally by themselves. When you interact with human beings, that’s the moment when your language learning really takes off.

If you don’t live in your target country, then use the Internet. A site like Sharetalk or

How do I know if a book is good?

It has to look good visually. It needs to have some grammar, but not be overloaded with.

It should have some phonetic information. Assimil adds stress patterns.

Next question: Learning a language takes a lot time. How can you maintain the discipline? How to maintain a language-learning routine?

There are some cognitive principles that are important.

· Stick to your routine every single day. But, a lot of people don’t stick to it because they don’t have a lot of time.

· First, ask yourself, Why am I learning this language? If your motivation is weak, you’ll flag.

· Think of what you stand to gain from learning the language.

· Reframe the question: Don’t say I don’t have the time, say I don’t make the time.

o Divide up your study time into blocks. Scientific research shows that intense high-attention study is very effective.

Luca talks about “extensive reading”. What is that? Look it up.

· Energy levels change during the day. They tend to be high in the morning, dwindle after lunch, and then rise again in the evening. “Know your own biorhythm.”


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