Tower of Babelfish

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In search of more efficient ways to learn languages.

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    1. Cynthia Szymkowicz

      Hi! I just discovered your blog and website today, through Ellen Rissinger of The Diction Police. I’m also an Opera Singer, and have lived in Germany for 24 years now. I’ve sung roles like Sieglinde (Augsburg), Senta (Flensburg), Helmwige (Deutsche Oper am Rhein), and am fluent in German for all practical purposes (speaking, reading, singing, of course, watching tv, etc.), but my grammar sucks big time. I am full of what some language teachers call “fossils” — that is, I learned my German “on the streets”, and through reading, and as one teacher said, “I practiced my mistakes extremely well”.
      Now I am singing less and teaching English more (primarily through Inlingua now, although also privately and through some other schools), and find that many of my English students are also “fossilized”. They have learned certain phrases or pronunciations falsely, and it’s sometimes really hard to correct these bad habits.
      Do you have any special methods for people like me?
      I am very interested in reading your book, and wish you and your agent a lot of success in getting it published soon.
      Best regards,

      1. gwyner Post author

        Yes! Write, write, write. At your level, it’s how you figure out exactly where your ‘fossils’ are. Routinely write out a 5-minute journal in German and submit it to Get your correction and put it in Anki as a fill-in-the-blank-type card wherever you make a mistake. Get a daily Anki habit going.

        The program will automatically focus on the more difficult stuff, because you’ll make more mistakes with it, and so you’ll see those cards more often.


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