Languages are not hard – it’s just a people problem

So many people live in a country that is not their own. I am one of them: I lived in Helsinki (Finland) for 6 years, then came to Vilnius (Lithuania) in 2011 and I have been living here for almost 4 years.
When you live abroad learning a language becomes this thing that haunts you every day of your life: the pink elephant in the room!
Vilnius
When you don’t study or practice the language, deep down you feel guilty. Every conversation you have in English – instead of Lithuanian – reminds you that you are still a tourist, a tourist in a country where they speak a language you can’t fully understand.

A classic conversation with Natives

If you live abroad this type of conversation will sound quite familiar:

The Native (they): Hi
The Student (me) : Hi
THEY: What’s your name/what do you do here/why you moved here/bla bla bla
ME: I am Claudio/I love the weather/bla bla bla
THEY: Wow, your English is really good for being Italian.
ME: Thanks. I learned English f…
THEY: But wait a second, how long have you been living here? Aren’t we supposed to speak in Lithuanian?

- switch in Lithuanian –
ME: Yes. I speak Lithuanian a bit, but nobody ever talks to me in Lithuanian.
THEY: ‘bla bla bla bla bla – did you understand what I just said?’
ME: Yes, almost everything, I just can’t talk very much

- switch back to english!!! -
THEY: your Lithuanian pronunciation is really good, almost no accent. So… what are you doing here in Vilnius?
ME: bla bla bla
THEY: bla bla bla

Live your life or not to live your life, that is the question

I should speak Lithuanian more, it’s true. Deep down I just dream that natives would speak with me more often in Lithuanian: isn’t it supposed to be easy for them? It’s their native language, I am the one that can’t really speak it…

Here is my dilemma: studying the language at home, alone OR trying to practice with friends?

Study = Results, no doubt!

People that manage to find the motivation to study a language every day for several hours make progress. They often get to a very good level. This is the painful/hardcore/polyglot approach. It requires lots of motivation and a long period of training that might not be so much fun. And of course you need to use the right tools
The right tools

Friends = fun but no practice!

Practicing with friends/lover would be so much more fun (at least for someone like me) but that practice never comes: it’s always hard to find 10 minutes to talk in Lithuanian.

Lots of psychological reasons make practicing with natives hard, but you can be sure that if there is English as a common language, English is the language that will be used 99.9% of the time.

Italian is not an easy language…it’s just easy to learn

Italian language is easy to learn just cause Italians can’t speak English (I am Italian, I know that). Same goes for Spanish, French and lots of other languages when natives can’t speak English.

The environment (Italy) makes learning the language inevitable (Italian)
The environment (Lithuania) makes learning the language inevitable (English)

Do you see the problem here?

Come to Lithuania to learn English, not Lithuanian

When you live in Lithuania (or Finland), where the population speaks very good English, you’ve got a problem. In Vilnius learning the language is not inevitable and you don’t get good exposure to the local language. Something magical happens: when you enter any conversation the language switches to English. Hundreds of conversations in the local language around you but you are not part of them. As soon as you get involved in a conversation, the language switches and you loose your possibility to learn.

Environment

The environment makes the difference

Do we want to make languages easy to learn? We all just need to create the perfect environment for language learning.
Immersion is very important: it really helps to surround yourself with music in that language, videos in that language, books in that language, people that speak in that language.
But what is important is that immersion needs to be relevant for you. Lots of elevator music won’t make you fluent, same for lots of elevator conversations that are just in the background and you are not even listening, as they are not relevant to you.

You need to be an active part of these conversations.

Vision of the future

2 years ago at Bliu Bliu we had a vision: to create the perfect environment to learn a language, so that while you are having fun, as a side effect, you also learn the language, as quickly as possible.

Bliu Bliu OFFLINE

Practicing with Natives
Recently we started to experiment with offline projects, looking for ways to facilitate dialogues between Natives and Students, between me and my friends.
The aim is to find smooth ways to switch these dialogues, that normally are in English, into the local language.
How to get students involved in more conversations? How to help natives to connect with their foreign friends, overcoming the psychological barriers that make it impossibile to talk in the local language when English is an available option?

Motivation is not enough

Motivation alone is not enough. I am sure you are highly motivated to learn a new language, or to go to the gym to get healthy, change your diet, get some new habit.

When you make changes, when you learn a new skill, there is always a reasonable amount of stress to manage and that’s what you/we need to work on.

Stress management: the secret to learn any language

So many people learn English by watching hours and hours of movies. I learned English by watching the TV Series Friends: 10 seasons, around 90 hours of fun dialogues. Then I moved to Finland and while I was trying to learn Finnish I basically spent many years improving my English, just by accident.
Language learning happens when you don’t think about it, when you are busy doing something else.

It’s important to be busy doing something fun that requires to use the target language. Relevant will also work: try to call your bank or mobile operator to discuss the 20 euro they accidentally took away from your account: you will learn more during that conversation than in the last week of studying.

Wanna join us?

Starting from this week we will share with you lots of tips&tricks on how to reduce the stress and how to keep the flow in practicing with Natives.

Learning doesn’t have to be hard
Let’s make learning a language Quick, Easy and Fun.

The Perfect Environment to learn a language

First of all: welcome to 2015. The language learning community is really excited: so many news coming up and learning languages is becoming easier every day.

Add1Challenge

There are many methods and tools out there to learn a language and Bliu Bliu is one of them. But today we don’t want to talk about us, if you get our emails you know very well who we are and what we do.

Can you learn enough of a new language to have a 15 minutes conversation with a native…in just 90 days?
You think is impossible? Check this video

Just few days left to enrol into the challenge.
Enter the Add1Challenge now

Motivation is the key

Add1Challenge works, creating the perfect environment to practice a language and constantly improve. The tools don’t matter so much, what matters is the motivation, motivation that needs to be there day after day.
The Add1Challenge is designed so that you will get all the support needed, getting the results that you want.
Enter the Add1Challenge now
https://transactions.sendowl.com/stores/3549/11055

PS: the link to the Add1Challenge is an affiliate link, meaning that Bliu Bliu gets a percentage out of every account sold following this link. This said, we truly believe in the validity of the program and we encourage you to take a look and try it.

Great and Quick progress

Hey folks
did you miss us? Lately we haven’t posted so much on the blog but as you can imagine Christmas is a busy season, so many new students coming to our website. New Year is coming, a time for new resolutions. Together with “getting back in shape”, the “learn a new language” resolution is on top of everybody’s list.

Bliu Bliu is here to help you and 2015 is going to be a great year for language learning.
We are closing 2014 with lots of enthusiasm, receiving everyday message like this one:

Hi, Claudio,
I’m very happy to find a very simple and smart way to improve my English knowledge. My English words luggage was big enough, but I had a problem to use them in right way when I need to talk with other people and try to understand them. Bliu Bliu method shows me the way how to do that simply and effectively. Suddenly I find out that I can understand what singers are singing in their songs :)))
I already told about Bliu Bliu to my friends who live and work in England and have the same problems. They began to use Bliu Bliu and are very satisfied how great and quick progress they done.
Thank you very much for your great job!

Sincerely Yours,
Šarūnas

Read a Book

Reading has been proved again and again to be one of the best ways to acquire lots of vocabularies.
It worked for your native language and it works like magic for any second language you want to master.

That’s why BOOKS play an important role in Bliu Bliu.
http://bliubliu.com


From the main menu click on BOOKS, once inside you can pick a book from the free books available.


What if you can’t find what you are looking for? You can always upload your own books or pdf documents.


The interface is clean and it’s easy to skip pages. It looks beautiful even on your phone.


When you find a page that you like you can add it to your Favorites to make it easy to go back later to the best parts of the book.


Bliu Bliu knows which words are difficult for you (they are in RED) and it helps you to understand them, offering an inline translation, quick and easy to access.


And of course you can also translate the entire paragraph to make sure you understand what is going on in the story.

We just updated this page few hours ago, fell free to take a look and we can’t wait to get your feedback.
http://bliubliu.com

Languages are possible – the ADD1Challenge

 

Are you sick and tired of not being able to speak the language you’ve studied for years?
If you are, we highly recommend the Add1Challenge!
This is where language learners around the world, aim for the goal of a 15 minutes conversation with a native speaker in 90 days.

add1challenge bigg2
We’ve seen lots of successful stories in the past already.
http://add1challenge.com/category/add1challenge-day-91-results/

A FANTASTIC PRICE FOR THE WINNER

AND you won’t just be able to speak in 3 months, you will also have a chance to win a FANTASTIC PRIZE even we are drooling over…
So stay tune, more info coming soon next week!

Rewarding Moments

Jason sent us this email with his reasons why he likes Bliu Bliu and what he would like to see improved in our system.

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Hello Claudio,

I found Bliu Bliu entirely by accident and it has been very useful. For several years I have tried learning Spanish through traditional methods and I seem to only retain one or two new pieces from each: for example Rosetta Stone taught me the conjugations of “ser” & “ir”, but not much else.

Then a little more than a year ago I discovered a combination of online learning aids that allowed me to make real progress. Duolingo, Memrise, Forvo, & Ankidroid.

So finally I arrived at the stage in learning Spanish where my largest obstacle is getting enough practice, and just at that moment I found Bliu Bliu. The best parts of your site design are that it is not translation driven, that many phrases have native speakers reading the sentences rather than the robot voice, and that the site builds competence through practice using actual phrases. Of the sections, I like best los chistes. The jokes are actually funny and one of the most rewarding moments I have ever had was reading and understanding a “what is the difference?” joke that was a wordplay on a Spanish idiom.

Bliu Bliu was born with the mission of make language learning rewarding, we are always happy to see that it’s working for more and more people.

How can we improve?

Jason added few more ideas to help us improving Bliu Bliu.

The weaknesses that I see in Bliu Bliu at the moment are that the phrases are too often telegraphic headlines that only make sense in a larger context (so they are both confusing and do not represent actual Spanish usage), I would prefer more readings by Spanish speakers, and there is very little for the student to mark their progress by in the current design of the site. The Minimum/Standard/Huge dose milestones were motivating, but I haven’t seen them in a long time.

YES YES YES. We are guilty! We need to work on content curation to add more interesting texts. We are moving out of the Newspaper headlines, they were useful in the beginning to test the system but not we are adding more interesting and juicy content.
A new dashboard has been brainstormed in the office. We want to visually show the progress and help people understanding their actual level and how a 5 minutes reading session every day can impact your knowledge in the long run.

Thank you very much for listening to my thoughts, and I do assure you that I enjoy your site very much and look forward to using it on a regular basis.

Best wishes

Jason

Jason has read almost 1000 texts on Bliu Bliu…what about you?
Time to learn a new language. Start now

Just like how I learned my first language

3016933-inline-i-1-nabil-music-video-making-master-class

Ciao Bliu Bliu!

Your site has now become a daily routine for me.
I love the simple and non pressuring method. This allows me to familiarize with the new language just like how I learned my first language when I was younger.
My favorite is the drilling and the music videos. I used to go to youtube and open the lyrics site, but this allows me to listen, watch and read on the same page.
I wish google translate was more accurate but that’s an added challenge I guess
– Song

Take That Tech to UK

Last week we were invited by UK Trade & Investment at the British Embassy in Helsinki with 9 other startup from Scandinavia and the Baltics.
Take That Tech to UK was very well organized, we met lots of interesting people and WE WON a ticket to London Technology Week 2015.
DSC_9433

Here our pitch at the British Embassy in Helsinki

Quality is not the best but some higher quality version might come next month.

Talking about this

http://sc.bns.lt/view/item.php?id=174108

http://www.baltic-course.com/rus/good_for_business/?doc=99172

http://www.arcticstartup.com/2014/11/25/top-10-startups-ready-to-expand-to-the-uk

This is the inspiring message we got from Nicole Yershon at the end of the event
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