making mistakes is bad or good?

A comment on Steve's blog says:

The essence of learning is making mistakes, that's HOW you learn to do it right!

I have to say, I don't agree with this. We learn to do it right by doing it right, not by doing it wrong. When you do something wrong, it means you haven't learned how to do it right yet.

Is it impossible for someone to do something right without doing it wrong first? No, I don't

no English, none of the time, never!

Have you heard of "No English, None of the Time, Never!" before? Maybe we can shorten it to NENTN! I think I don't even have to explain what this means. 99% of readers probably understand what it's all about. For that one percent who are totally clueless, here's an explanation:

You're trying to learn a foreign language, right? Presumably, it's not English. All of my readers have already learned

reading like a native

I know many people have the notion that you'll never be as good as a native speaker in a foreign language. A few of us have the audacity to aspire to native-equivalent performance in our second languages and even fewer strive for native-sounding pronunciation. Even if we are delusional, I think for those that really want to be extremely good in another language, there is no reason that we can't

example sentences

One feature of modern dictionaries is the "example sentence." If you go to, you can find example sentences with the definition of a word. For example, here's an example sentence from the entry for "hamburger."

That's a sad fact for hamburger lovers, but it's true.

Unfortunately, all of the example sentences for hamburger, and most other entries, are useless. My guess is, though,

what is fluency?

I'd like to take another look at what fluency is and is not.  Fluency is easy to define, easy to confuse, but difficult to achieve.

Fluency is, essentially, the ability to speak like a native speaker.  But that does not mean exactly the same as a native speaker. Speaking exactly the same as a native speaker is language mastery.  So, a fluent speaker need not be perfect, nor have as large of a

this is fluency in Japanese

I found a new hero for Japanese language learners. Watch this video! This guy is fluent in Japanese. His speed of speaking matches the speed of native Japanese. It is really impressive. In this, his first video on YouTube, he is speaking without a script. He pauses to think about what he wants to say, not how to say it, nor does he pause to recall any words. The second video he posted is much

does time-boxing work for language learners?

Do you use time-boxing for language learning? Does it work for you? I wonder how many language learners are time-boxing.

Time-boxing means to set certain lengths of time for working on tasks. You might have 30 minutes for your French and 20 minutes to work on another language and so on. You manage your time so you are able to work on all of the things you want to do instead of getting carried