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A Polyglot World

a polyglot world feature 2Do You Know What The Best Polyglots In The World Have In Common?

They all started with adding one new language.

If they can add one, why can’t you? :)

What you will get from A Polyglot World:

  • Inspirations From Untold Polyglot Stories
  • Hacks From Polyglots Who Spent Years Perfecting Them
  • The Add1Challenge, Where We Add a Language Together

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Which will you rely on when learning a language?

“Habit” (built by repetition) or “Will power” (depends on your feelings) ?

I will pick a solid habit any day.

So I asked 9 highly effective polyglots the following question:

“What is your most effective habit that pays the most dividend when you are learning a language?”

Enter the polyglots.

benny speak to left1. “Make at least two hundred mistakes a day.”

-Benny Lewis, FluentIn3Month.com

I failed learning Spanish for months because of perfectionism, but embracing a “screw it, I want to actually use this language, mistakes or not” approach allowed me to communicate and ultimately make friends. [click to continue…]


Kevin lives in the UK and couldn’t speak a lick of any other language but English for 30+ years.

He then fell in love with and was completely fascinated by Japan after visiting the country.

So he attempted to learn Japanese on his own, on and off for a few years.

Like many frustrated first time language learners, he got no where and was about to give up on learning Japanese and the dream of living in Japan.

This was when the Add1Challenge came along and changed everything.

After completing the Add1Challenge #1 & #2, he now can’t stop speaking Japanese (he even spoke Japanese with his mother who can’t speak any Japanese and pissed her off lol true story) and he is now searching for English teaching opportunities in Japan so he could fulfill his dream of living in Japan. (Go Kevin!)

During Add1Challenge #2, he did an immersion experiment of only speaking Japanese for 30 days while living in the UK.

I wonder what he learned so I asked him a few questions.

Enter Kevin.

[click to continue…]

Here is an age-old language learning problem: “I can’t find someone to practice with!”

This problem was valid BEFORE the internet came into our lives.

With so many language exchange sites, you can always find someone to practice your target language.  “I can’t find someone to practice with” is now only an excuse.

I personally have tried many of these language exchange sites (both paid and free), and paying for a tutor from italki beats everything else in terms of the time, energy, and effort that it saves me.

“But, but, but, I don’t want to pay for a tutor!”

This is the first thing that many people think of when they are suggested with the idea of paying for a tutor.  

I know, because I used to be one of them.  So let me tell you what made me change my mind.

[click to continue…]

APW 003: How To Work on Accent Reduction and Be More Fluent With Luca Lampariello #add1challenge thumbnail

I’ve always wondered.

“How the heck can this Italian dude speak such good English with an American accent and with such good pronunciation in Mandarin?”

This question was in the back of my head while we took the train together after the Polyglot Conference in Budapest, speaking both English and Mandarin for most of our ride.

So when my mom, caught me by surprised, told me that she wants to take on the +1 Challenge to reduce her accent and become more fluent in English.

I knew exactly who to talk to.

Luca Lampariello from The Polyglot Dream.

In this interview, Luca dived into the steps of how to work on accent reduction and become more fluent.

Not just for speaking English, but for any language.

Here is the interview with Luca.

[click to continue…]

APW 002: How Hyperpolyglot, Emanuele Marini, Learn to Speak 30+ Languages thumbnail

How can one learn to speak 30+ language in 23 years?  (Yes, thats 1.3 language a year)

But wait, “Thats not possible right?”

That was my first thought when I heard someone yelled,

“HEY! This guy can speak more than 30+ languages!” at the Polyglot Conference in Budapest.

I was like “What?”

My next thought, “Prove it.”

And Emanuele did not disappoint.

Many polyglots at the Polyglot Conference verified it with the languages that we know.

Alex Rawlings, UK’s Most Multilingual Student, who can speak 11+ languages himself said this about Emanuele,

“It’s not only the range of languages that amazes me, also the depth in each language.  Thats amazing.”

Watch Emanuele in action, then learn how he did it in this first time ever, English interview with Emanuele.

[click to continue…]

Anthony Lauder Speaking At the Polyglot Conference Budapest 2013

Anthony Lauder was the most interesting and most engaging speaker at the Polyglot Conference in Budapest 2013.

Hands down.

You don’t want to miss these golden nuggets on language learning in this interview.

Especially if you are serious about learning to speak a new language.

You will learn:

  • What motivates him to continue to learn new languages and how you can do the same
  • How you can balance “Play time” and “Study time”
  • If you don’t have time and only have an hour a day to learn, what he suggest you to do to get the most out of that hour

Here it is.

[click to continue…]

Since we launched Add1Challenge #4 (#A1C4), we have been getting a lot of feedback.

If you are a skeptic, don’t know what the #Add1Challenge is, or if you think it is a great idea but don’t know if it’s worth the money.

This post is written for you.

Before I tell you how I screwed up, let me tell you a little bit of background and what the Add1Challenge is about.

The Add1Challenge is a community where we all learn a language together.

When a community of language learners are all in action and striving for the same goal of holding a 15 min conversation with a native speaker on day 91, a huge amount of inspiration and motivation transpires.

This empowers language learners in the Add1Challenge community to stay on track and keep each other accountable to meet their language learning goals while having a blast learning our target languages together.

This is why the Add1Challenge works.  (You will see plenty of evidence soon)

So far, we have completed Add1Challenges #1 & #2.
#A1C3 is still on-going (we are on about day 60) and #A1C4 is open for application as I write this.

We had 116 people in #A1C1 and 129 people #A1C2.

It was a huge amount of work, as I went through every application video manually (and each video is at least 3 mins long – do the math!), answering language learning questions and providing support, organizing Google hangouts so people can ask hyperpolyglots questions directly, improving on how to run the Add1Challenge so it’s more effective in keeping people motivated, and the list goes on.

I didn’t charge a dime for #A1C1 and #A1C2.  It was completely free.

And then I realized two things.

1.  I am scared shitless to ask people for money but I can’t work for free anymore.

2.  Only about 20% of Add1Challengers produced breakthrough results. (Meaning that they didn’t go way beyond their expectations, because they didn’t put in the time to learn).

I am scared to ask people for money because I am afraid to fail.  What if no one signs up? What does that mean about me, about what I created and what I worked so hard for?

And according to the 80/20 rule, 20% of people producing breakthrough results makes perfect sense.

But I asked myself, how can I focus and spend all my time and energy to serve that 20% of people who are actually serious about learning a language and filter out the people who are just messing around?

So I decided to charge a fee for the Add1Challenge #3.

At the time, I was in Fukuoka during my bicycle tour in Japan.  I grew some balls, wrote a sales page, and sent it out ONLY to my email list.

This offer was only sent to my email list because I didn’t know if people would be willing to pay for the Add1Challenge or how much would be the right amount to cover my time and make sure all the applicants took the challenge seriously.

 At the same time, I added new elements to the #A1C3 with “Add1Challenge Buddy” and “Study group” (more work for me but it makes a huge difference) so I limited sign ups to only 30 people.

41 people paid for the Add1Challenge after the registration closed a week later (yay!) and 29 people started the #A1C3 together.

(I declined some applications and gave those people their money back. Some people I never heard from again after they paid.  I have no idea why.)

Then Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months sent me an email saying that Lauren wants to learn Russian and she wants continual support from a community so lets meet and talk about it in the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin.

Cool, this is just getting better!

I met Benny in person even before the 1st ever Add1Challenge last year and he was a part of the first Add1Challenge Facebook group during the #A1C1, so he knows first hand that this works.

Benny, Lauren and I had lunch in Berlin and I shared the new things that I’ve been implementing to the Add1Challenge.  By the end of it, Lauren wanted to be a part of it to learn Russian and Benny offered to share the #A1C4 with his audience.

WOW, Benny has close to 1 million unique visitors per month, win!  Let’s set the goal to 150 people this time!

And since I already had an existing sales page for #A1C3, all I needed was to make minor adjustments and give it to Benny.

Before we launched, Benny and Lauren reviewed the sales page and gave me some feedback.

This is where I screwed up.

I didn’t implement 100% of their feedback, and I should’ve completely re-done the sales page.

What I now realize is that since the original sales page was only sent to my audience, that means they know who I am, what me and the Add1Challenge is about.  Many people were just waiting for the Add1Challenge to open so they could sign up, which was why I had more than 30 registrations even though I have a small audience.

But Benny’s audience is different.  They don’t know who I am.  What I am about.  What the Add1Challenge is. And the sales page fell short on answering those questions.

3-4 hours after Benny sent an email, we had 18 sign ups.

We are closing the application today and we are at 60 sign ups. (Which I am still very stoked about! I am ready to serve these 60+ language learners!)

Even though I have completely re-done the sales page according to Benny’s, Lauren’s and the #fi3m Facebook page community’s feedback, the damage from the first sales page had already been done, and we most likely won’t meet our goal of helping 150 awesome language learners to learn together.

Everything in life is a practice and there is always positive in the negatives.

What I didn’t expect is that 9 out of the 29 language learners who are currently in Add1Challenge #3 signed up for the Add1Challenge #4.

That is a 31% repeat customer rate, not including a few that did the Add1Challenge #1 or #2 for free but they would still pay for Add1Challenge #4.

Why would they pay for the Add1Challenge again?

You can hear it from them.

It is very exciting that language learners like Kevin, Eleni, Aki and other Add1Challengers are getting results from the Add1Challenge.  And they see enough value so that they would join the Add1Challenge again.

If you are still skeptical by now, I understand that, and I know I need to do a better job of communicating the value of the Add1Challenge the next time it opens.

But the Add1Challenge works. It will motivate you to start a new language project, to keep your momentum, and to reach hard toward your goals.

If you would like to give the Add1Challenge a try because you are tired of not progressing in your target language,  it costs only 52 cents a day, for 90 days of support, with a 30 day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

We will close application today, July 18th at midnight PST, so I invite you to give it a try and apply here :)