StartuBerlin

A lovely article from StartuBerlin.com.

Startuberlin

What is the best feature of Bliu Bliu?
I think the best thing Bliu Bliu offers is that it makes you feel confident. No matter what is your level Bliu Bliu always finds something you can understand. It takes 20.000 jokes in a language and reorganizes them from the easiest to the hardest. And the more you click on words telling Bliu Bliu which ones you know or don’t know, the more Bliu Bliu adapts and find content tailored on your level.

Read the entire article here
http://www.startuberlin.com/bliu-bliu-claudio-santori-interview/

Learn Languages – the Italian Way

I know I know, you are thinking that italians are famous because they DO NOT learn languages.

But let me tell you why Italians don’t learn and HOW I use the italian way to learn languages fast and effective…while having a lot of fun!
Bliu Bliu

Why Italians Don’t Learn Languages

I bet you have seen already the video of the Italian in Malta!

We are terrible english speaker. We have a horrible pronunciation and we do not understand anything people are telling us.

We spend 5/8 years at school doing boring exercises, learning all the grammar you can imagine practicing boring dialogues

Problem is that Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and all the 6 guys from FRIENDS, they all speak italian. In Italy you can listen to real english only from music. We do have a lot of tourists and we do understand what they are saying, but we reply in italian to them. This is why they go back home speaking italian.

But Italians CAN Learn Languages

Italians are good at few things: pizza, coffee, pasta, you probably know we are quite good with LOVE. And by love I mean PASSION. We are very passionate people and when we like something we put an amazing amount of passion into it.

Amore

And this is when Italian learn languages very quickly. If we fall in love with somebody, or with the local culture, with the people, the food, the movies, then we have no enemies.

LOVE: My Approach to Languages

I recently started learning Russian. I have been studying for about a week and I just love it.
I started with Michel Thomas, learning few verbs, nouns and phrases.
And from day 1 I started to speak with people.

Stalk from day 1
Benny Lewis is famous for his “Talk from Day 1″ – I personally Stalk from Day 1.

I jump to random people and just talk. All I care it’s to make sure it’s fun and easy to understand for both sides.
My dictionary is limited but I always have some special phrase that I use to make them laugh and interact with me. It never feels like language practice, I make it feel like fun, also for them.
Some of my favourite phrases in all languages are:

  • would you marry me?
  • would you like to dance with me?

RADIO BROADCAST, not conversations
It is more like RADIO BROADCAST than conversation. There cannot be a conversation yet as I don’t know so many words, but I have my show prepared and I keep improving it every time I test it on somebody. I am able to predict what they are going to ask me, so the all “conversation” is more or less staged, with me in total control and ready to bring it back to known territory. I create conversations so that the natives always reply to me with something that I can actually understand.

Build on top of what I know (n+1)
I have my show and what I do is constantly adding new peaces to my radio program. In the beginning I can talk for 30 seconds. Than 1 minute, then 2, then 5, then 10. And I say the same things all over again, simply adding few new words into the SHOW based on what natives keep replying to me. I become so good at anticipating their reactions/answers that it starts to feel quite natural.

For my friends this is boring, as they get to listen to this all over again. This is why it’s so hard to practice with friends: they get bored of you! A joke is fun one, maybe two times, not 1000. But I need to tell it 1000 of times to get better at it. This is why I used a lot of natives, between friends, random people, online people, to make sure they don’t get bored and I get a variety of feedback.

Confidence
I focus a lot on pronunciation to make it sound as natural as possible, not worrying too much about the right words, the right expressions, am I being formal, informal…I don’t care. I just want to sound like a native. And this is the one and only time that I let native to correct me…but unfortunately they get bored after 3 times and my pronunciation becomes perfect.

Positive Reinforcement from Environment
I create a fake world where every time I speak I get positive reinforcement from the environment. People like when you speak their language, especially if you speak with confidence. And I flirt heavily, especially with older women. Who knows when was last time they got a compliment and here I am, studying Russian and telling them how beautiful and young they look. And seriously, this does not work with younger girls, it works only with 50/60 years old women. But it works like magic!

Grammar…Grammar?
I don’t study the grammar. I have a good knowledge of it, having studied Italian, English, French, Latin, Lithuanian and Finnish grammar. I can understand why words behave in a certain way and I try to figure out grammar from real usage.

I certainly don’t want natives to teach me anything, unless it perfectly fits in what I know already. Natives are really bad with their own grammar. Students on the other hand are better and I listen to them when they have a valuable tip.

Avoid Difficult Stuff
When it feels too difficult, I just skip it. No matter how much it’s important, I don’t care. I want to keep it fun so that it is effective. When I get stuck, I just move on to something else, jumping from online course, talking with people, watching videos on youtube, music, tv series, anything.

I am focused on keeping the motivation at a very high level.

Make it a Habit
I don’t “study” for 3/4 hours and then forget about it, but I keep using the language as much as I can. I focus during the day with a timer for 30 minutes, morning and evening. But I also try to use the language in my daily interaction.
You can say a lot of Good Morning (Доброе утро) and Good Evening (добрый вечер) in a day.

Be Accountable
When I start a new language I tell it to everybody. As an Italian you might think that this is because we love to show off, truth is that if you make yourself accountable, then it becomes harder to drop out.

Once the world knows you want to be fluent in Russian in 3 months, now you are on a mission and you have nowhere to hide.

Use it for Real Interactions
I start posting interesting links I find on every social media so that my friends know how to help me. I use the language on Instant Messaging actively asking for help! I want the natives/fluent people to keep sending me good stuff so that I have a little bit of the language during the entire day. And most importantly, so that I connect the language with something useful that matters to me.
Olga

Call me lazy, but this is what I DO NOT DO

  • I don’t learn list of words – only words that I can use
  • I don’t do homework
  • I don’t write (not too soon)
  • I don’t try too hard to understand

The Journey is What Brings Us Happiness,
Not the Destination

When I learn a language my final target is to be fluent and be able to participate in actual conversations. But my reward comes every day, I don’t want to wait 3 months (or 3 years) to celebrate. I believe that the entire learning process needs to be fun, from day 1. It’s not always fun, not every day, not every time. But you will not become a good basketball player unless you have fun training and playing. Same goes with languages.

Learning languages is like an adventure, not just to discover words but to explore the world with new eyes. This is what really excites me about languages.

Learning Russian Language Day 10

Here how much you can (or cannot) talk in Russian after 10 days of learning the language.

 

  • Not attending any course
  • Using only Michel Tomas + Memrise + Bliu Bliu
  • Talking with Natives

GOAL: from 0 to fluent in 3 months

 

Language Mastery – John Fotheringham

There are quite a lot of blogs out there talking about learning languages.
One of them got our attention since the beginning of Bliu Bliu. We are talking about
Language Mastery – How to Learn Languages the Fun Way with John Fotheringham

Maybe because since 2012 we also love the fun way to learn languages !

John is an wonderful writer, a linguist, interested in psychology and he writes a lot about learning languages. We do agree 100% with everything he writes in there. It’s so nice to see how many already are on the same page.

John Fotheringham is not a big fan of the traditional methods of learning and he regularly post about new interesting ways of learning languages.

Here a list of things NOT TO DO if you want to learn a language

http://l2mastery.com/blog/linguistics-and-education/methods/not-to-do-list

If you want to get a sense of who is John Fotheringham read his “33 Life Lessons Learned Living, Learning & Working Abroad for 10 Years“.

Love and Languages

When you are trying to learn a languages, it helps you so much to be in love.
love-always-wins

Loving the grammar

You can be in love with the grammar. It happens all the time.
So many people actually love to study rules, exceptions, preposition, suffixes, affixes, conjunctive, partitive, accusative and locative.
Grammar works for you if you love it: the more you study the more you fall in love with the language.

But for some people grammar doesn’t work, not everybody wants to be a linguist!

Loving the literature

You can be in love with poetry and books. It happens all the time.
So many people are in love with literature. They learn the language to read their favourite authors and masterpieces in the original language. Reading works for you if you love it: the more you read, the more you learn, the more you fall in love with the language.

But for some people, literature doesn’t work, not everybody wants to be…or not to be!

Loving school

You can be in love with the classes and teachers.
So many people are in love with classrooms and teachers. They have a lot of fun while going to school everyday.
Attending a real course works for you because you love it, and the more classes you attend the more you fall in love with the language.

But for some people, classes and homework don’t work, not everybody wants to go back to school!

Loving music

You can be in love with the music of a language. It happens all the time.
There are so many people in love with music. They learn the language to listen songs and sing along. They are musical in their normal life, and music becomes the vehicle for the language.
If you are this kind of person, listening to music and singing works for you because you love it, and the more you sing the more you fall in love with the language.

But for some people, music doesn’t work, not everybody wants to become a singer!

Loving people

And last, but not least, you can be in love with people. It happens all the time.
There are so many love stories around the world where people don’t speak the same language. And one of them learns the other person language in a very natural way.

If you are in love with a person, you don’t even think about learning, or studying, you are just using the language to communicate and understand each other.

It doesn’t have to be romantic love, you can just be in love with people.
The more you love the more you learn, the more you learn the more you love.

But WHAT IF I AM NOT IN LOVE?

For some people, love doesn’t work. Not everybody wants to be in love.
If you are this kind of person, my friend, it will be really hard for you to learn a language.

Love is all we need – according to Beatles

What does it mean to be a polyglot?

What does it mean to be a Polyglot? By definition, a polyglot is somebody who can speak several languages fluently.
Last week we were lucky enough to attend an event in Berlin that gathered together more than 200 polyglots from all around the world.

YES! They can speak an amazing number of languages.
Some of them more than 10.
Some of them more than 20.
Some of them, more than 30.
Some of them, they can’t even remember how many languages they can speak or understand.

Claudio was there and he was amazed: he could not tell if most of them were italians or just foreigners speaking italian like a native.

How does anybody learn 30 languages?

Polyglots don’t use traditional methods and approaches to learn a language. They do not learn it at school.
Every polyglot has a different approach. The main difference is Active vs Passive. Should you start by speaking or by reading?
They all use both approaches, just at different stages.
They start from what works for them, because the most important thing, when you learn languages, is to get positive reinforcements from the environment.

CONFIDENCE!

If you are introvert, speaking from day one won’t be good for you, it won’t feel natural. If you try to speak with natives too early it won’t feel right. Memorizing lists of words and reading is what keeps you motivated.

On the other hand, if you are very social and you don’t mind role playing and acting, the role of the “stupid tourist” could be fun and it will be easy to try out the few phrases you know.

All you need is positive feedbacks for your ego.

Check how much Russian you can speak after only 3 days of studying it

…but there is ONE SKILL all polyglots share…

A polyglot connects with strangers very easily: talking with a polyglot feels like talking with an old friend.
A polyglot is very good at adapting. To learn a language you need to start so many conversations – you learn very fast how to connect, read people, understand situations and interpret body language.

…more coming soon…

In the next week we will go into the details sharing with you some of the lectures we attended and interviews with the most influential people in the language learning community.

PS: during the workshop, Bliu Bliu was mentioned by 3 speakers

Fail Until You Make It

Finally on Tedx Claudio’s talk: Fail Until You Make it
Subtitle: did you know that 36 = 18+18 ???

In this talk Claudio speaks about Bliu Bliu. But most important, he shares the path to get where Bliu Bliu is today.

2:00 Filters your can apply to your life
2:20 18 + 18 = 36
4:00 How to talk with a girl
4:50 Don’t protect yourself from stress
5:20 Dancing
5:58 Comfort Zone
6:20 Moving to Lithuania
7:20 Fear? It’s ok
7:50 Bliu Bliu
9:50 60.552
10:28 Do your best, forget the rest
10.50 Fail It, Until You Make It
11:16 The secret of success, success, sucKcess
12:00 Fire
12:20 Life is not perfect – it’s like an adventure
12:40 Rabbit Holes

“Maybe I will start this on monday, or one day, when I will be ready”
That day, that you are going to be ready, it never comes.
Because that day, my friends, is today.

Can you speak a language after 3 days?

Have you ever tried to speak a language after studying it for only 3 days?
Well, if you did not…Claudio did it for you.

Claudio is experimenting with the Russian language and decided to speak with a native after only 3 days of studying the language by himself with an audio course. Here the results

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Foreign Language Syndrome

Have you ever wished just to fall asleep and wake up knowing a new language just like that- without too much effort? Are you being sceptic and thinking “it’s unreal” or “it’s impossible”? The world is full of surprises…

Foreign Language Syndrome

image

According to scientists, after injuries different parts of human brains can assume responsibility for other. In some cases  (illness or accident) brain becomes confused which leads to unexpected damages. Foreign Language Syndrome is example of it. Have you ever heard the story that people woke up after coma speaking completely different language from their native?

People who had FLS

To make it clear. Bliu Bliu tried to look for some examples. To start with, the first time foreign language syndrome was mentioned is 1907. After that it was announced more and more cases. In 2010 Croatian teenager woke up after coma speaking just German language and no longer her native Croatian. Moreover, in 2012 Australian teenager could speak fluent Mandarin and in 2013 American man woke up speaking Swedish.

This syndrome last different timing but important is this – sometimes we try to study language hard and it seems impossible… Don’t you think that brain is somehow stopping you?

 

Choose few words you want to work on

Practicing with Natives #03

Summer arrived in Vilnius and we decided to practice Lithuanian language outside. Join us for a walk in the city center of beautiful Vilnius.

Vilnius City Center

3 elements we focused on:
1. Set the timer for 10 minutes (to take away the pressure)
2. Pick a topic (Vilnius + Summer)
3. Use a list of words I wanted to practice/learn (square, tower, castle, building)

Choose few words you want to work on

If you have a clear topic in mind it’s easy to talk for 10 minutes. We covered that in the previous episode.
Even better if you give to the Native a list of words you want to practice, so he/she knows where to go to push your boundaries and help you learning.

Vilnius and Summer

[tweet]

Before pressing “Rec” we agreed on words we were going to talk about.
Topics was summer and Vilnius and we tried to make sure I would practice some specific words.

Practicing with Natives

Watch the video if you speak Lithuanian or you want to check my progress.

0:00 Short intro in English and I start the time: 10 minutes of “pain”
3:00 When Greta asked me “what was this” – pointing at the statue – I didn’t know what to say. Maybe because I don’t know the word for statue (statula). I would have liked her to tell me what that was before asking me.
4:00 We talked about grammar
9:50 The flag incident. Greta asked me what colours are in the Lithuanian Flag. And ups, I said them in the wrong order, like a tourist. For sure I need to study the name of the colour.

It’s fun how I see the flag every day and I could not recall the colour, in Lithuanian. Sorry Lithuanians, sorry Dalia!

Tricky Questions

The lesson here is that when practicing a language it’s fun to ask tricky questions but it might not help in the long run. I did not feel good for screwing so badly, but maybe it was just about the flag!

Getting to know the Level…

So far I spoke with Greta for only 25 minutes. She is learning my level and she is starting to get to know better what she can ask me and what she can’t. We will see how long before we can have more like a “talk show” and not a monologue like a radio program.