Category Archives: Just for FUN!

The Way to Learn a Language Is to Live It


The first step in language learning is to make the commitment to do whatever it takes to make your project a success. If you have the passion to do what it takes, no matter what that may require, then this will ensure that you will, soon, be able to speak your target language.

For more on my story and other thoughts on the importance of passion in language learning, check out (see website below) intro, where there are videos, links to sites of people mentioned in this chapter, and extra updates designed specifically for readers of this introduction.
The Way to Learn a Language Is to Live It

One of the biggest issues with a traditional approach to language learning is that the benefits to picking up a new language are constantly postponed. Study this and study that and then, if you’re lucky, in a few years’ time, you’ll eventually understand the language. As well as being far from the
truth, this approach removes the fun and the life from the process.

In many education systems, especially in English-speaking countries, languages are taught the same way as any other subject, like geography or history. Teachers provide the “facts” (vocabulary) so the student will “know” the language. Or, as in mathematics, students do the exercises to understand the “rules” (grammar). Except on rare occasions, this approach does not produce speakers of the target language, so something clearly needs to be fixed. A  language is a means of communication and should be lived rather than taught.

A teacher’s primary role should be as a language facilitator. A teacher should make sure students use the target language at whatever level they happen to be at, rather than keep them quiet while he or she does all the talking, trying to transfer the informational components of the language into the students’ brains.

In high school, I had to learn Irish. It was mandatory and, in order to gain admission to university, I needed to pass my exams. As a result, I only cared about learning enough Irish to pass; I didn’t care about the language itself.
My attitude toward Irish changed completely when I actually took the time to live in the Gaeltacht region of Ireland, where people still speak the language, and I started to make friends using it.

The second language I took in high school was German. I took German because Germany is an important economy in Europe, and I figured it would look good to have this language on my résumé. German language skills would help me stand out, especially since most people in my year were studying French. Once again, I didn’t care about the German language; I just thought learning it might give me secondary benefits. And, of course, I barely retained anything. I thought German was nothing more than der, die, das tables of impossible- to-learn grammar. And I imagined Germans were robots that automatically spit out grammatically correct sentences. That is, until I met actual Germans and saw firsthand how interesting and fun they were. So fun, in fact, I wanted to get to know them better.

This way of thinking allowed me to stop thinking of the German language as a barrier between Germans and me, but instead as a bridge I could cross to communicate with them. In both cases, my initial tangential motivations for learning a language were replaced by a direct motivation to live that language and use it as a means of communication and connection.

This is how language courses should work. The best tend to veer away from the traditional approach of drilling grammar and word lists into us, or providing us with old, boring, and irrelevant texts. Instead, the best courses encourage us to play games and role-play in the language.

They let students speak the language with one another, which—as I realized with both of the languages I had learned poorly in high school and then much better as an adult—is the truest means of communication. As a result of speaking the language right away, students start to acquire the language rather than learn it as they would other academic subjects.

Benny Lewis:Fluent in three months

Just for FUN!


Jamila Lyiscott is a “tri-tongued orator;” in her powerful spoken-word essay “Broken English,” she celebrates — and challenges — the three distinct flavors of English she speaks with her friends, in the classroom and with her parents. As she explores the complicated history and present-day identity that each language represents, she unpacks what it means to be “articulate.”

Jamila’s poetry and scholarly work has been published in Teachers and Writers Collaborative Magazine and English Journal. She has directed several conferences and projects both locally and internationally and has presented both spoken word and academic papers at many seminars. Through her community, scholastic, and artistic efforts, Jamila hopes to play a key role in forging better connections between the world of academia and communities of color outside.

You think English is easy?


Think again!
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture..
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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