Archive for the ‘language learning’ Tag

The easiest way to turn $20 into $1500 or more!

I recently wrote about “What’s the best $20 investment?” and in that article I outlined a concept for participating in a new project that would very likely provide an excellent return on your investment of 20 dollars.

When you invest in stocks, etc then you are essentially a ‘passive investor’. You’re not able to participate much in the growth of the businesses.

Quite obviously, those who are ‘active’ in developing successful new businesses will reap much higher rewards than ‘passive’ investors.

An earlier post of mine suggested “A Better Alternative to GDI.” which outlined a multi-level payment structure for those who actively promote the business. This scenario involved a $10 per month membership fee which is the same as with GDI and the same as the cost of our memberships for people learning Indonesian or Russian.

Taking all these elements a step further, I think we now have the final piece to the puzzle. For a simple $20 investment, people can now join a website which will provide them with exactly what they need to learn English (or improve their English). They can remain ‘active learners’ and ‘passive investors’ if they wish, and they will eventually still get a very nice return on their $20. That’s what I described in detail in “What’s the best $20 investment?”.

But I’ve always insisted that I don’t want to be busy with marketing and advertising. I want members, who love the product, to tell others, and I’m more than happy to allocate a marketing budget to be paid to them. Thus, the solution.

By applying a similar multi-level payment structure for those who pay a one time membership fee of $20, anyone who introduces 5 new members, who then also introduce 5 new members, etc, will soon earn $1,585. That’s a heck of a return with almost no effort.

10% $2.00 x 5 $10.00
5% $1.00 x 5 $25.00
2% $0.40 x 5 $50.00
2% $0.40 x 5 $250.00
2% $0.40 x 5 $1,250.00
21% $1,585.00

Regardless of whether you believe it’s really likely to happen or not, the absolute downside is just $20. If this is a complete scam, you will have only lost $20. If I deliver on my promise, you will earn thousands of dollars.

And the growth will never stop. Why should it? We are committed to developing the best language learning material available anywhere. Members can also become employees; working as teachers, translators, programmers,  etc.

And as the membership grows travel agents, hotels, resorts, airlines, bars, restaurants, etc will all want to promote their products to our members and that income will all be paid back to the members.

Businesses and others spend a LOT of money on language training, and our members, as ‘owners’ will share in those profits.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Let’s simply start getting people to take that first simple step of investing $20 to join our vision of the future.


Get Paid 20 Dollars to Learn a Language

It sometimes takes an incredibly long time to really nail down an idea into a complete and clear concept that can be put into action.

My ideas for teaching English (and other languages) online have really developed a lot recently, and many of the ‘missing pieces’ have been found. Until now, I’ve been waiting for a group of people to ‘kick-start’ the project by investing $20 each.

Yesterday (June 26, 2013), the final ‘missing pieces’ clicked into place. I finally came up with an idea and concept that allows me to begin promoting it on my own. To heck with waiting for others.

As with so many things in life, the answer has been there all along, and I essentially ‘knew it’, but for some reason I hadn’t ‘connected the dots’ to make it a complete concept.

I had already trimmed it down from $10 per month, to a simple $20, one time payment. As I told a group of people practicing their English at a Language Exchange Club meeting recently, there’s no point in me teaching English and getting paid $40 an hour. Why not get people to pay $20 each and teach a million or more people?

That helped them realize that $20 wasn’t actually incredibly cheap for them to learn English. They have each already spent hundreds of dollars to learn English with very poor results, yet to get them to commit to a ‘very cheap’ $20 investment is still not easy.

Now, I’m going to offer “Get paid $20 to learn English“. If I can’t get people to sign up with that offer, then the whole idea is completely dead with no future.

Here’s the concept.

I will offer 3 options for joining our website for learning English and other languages. All members will share in the income from AdSense, new memberships, etc, so for sure they will make a profit on their ‘investment’, in addition to gaining access to top quality language learning material.

Even though they will get ongoing income year after year, there still needs to be a way to get them to take that first step.

Option 1:

Pay $20, join, get full access and receive ‘member rewards’ (basically like a dividend; a share in the profits).

Option 2:

Click on my affiliate web-hosting link, and get a website of your choice for 2 years FREE. I switched to iPage this year and they have a promotion now for $1.99 per month with a free domain. Thus, a 2 year hosting plan currently costs $48. The affiliate payment is $105, so I will pay the person back their $48 and sign them up as a member to our language site for free, since they have effectively paid $20, and in fact paid me $57. We will then also help them get their website going and earning money, so that in 2 years time they will re-new the hosting. If not, that’s okay also. That’s the risk that iPage and other hosting companies are taking.

Option 3: 

Do the same as Option 2, only I’ll take the new domain and hosting (with a domain name of my choice), I’ll pay back their $48 plus give them an extra $20 and sign them up as a member to our language site for free, since they have again effectively paid $20, and in fact paid me $37.

It’s extremely simple, and the only requirement is a credit card to make the payment through. Many Ukrainians and Indonesians don’t have a credit card, so this will be a limitation, but it’s easy enough for them to get a card, so it’s not a big problem.

The website hosting / affiliate aspect is something I’ve known for years and used a few times before with PowWeb. I was never able to make money as an affiliate because I wasn’t promoting it and nobody ever clicked and bought from the links on my webpages.

Now, I can use it to help motivate people to take action, join our program and begin making money online while learning a new language or improving their English.

Such a concept should be appealing to anyone, anywhere, and in fact everyone, everywhere!!

Human nature is such that taking the first step can be difficult, but this makes it incredibly easy. It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks. 🙂

For those of you that have begun following my blog and clicking on the ‘Like’ button, you’re also most welcome to sign up and get either a free website or $20 cash.

For more information on our concepts you can read previous blog posts: What’s the best $20 investment? and A Better Alternative to GDI

To read more about our language learning project you can start here: ExpressWay Languages – A truly new approach to language learning

All the best, Brian

Changeling – Great movie and Learn English and Russian

Hi, just finished watching the movie, Changeling, with Angelina Jolie.  Great movie! And an amazing story. Pretty frightening the corruption that has and does exist.  And it emphasizes the need for individuals to have the courage and the strength to fight against it.

Here’s a look at the trailer and then I want to chat about many of the simple phrases I picked up from the Russian subtitles.

The entire first scene is fairly manageable for a beginner to intermediate learner.

Walter, honey. Уолтер, дорогой.
Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Just 10 more minutes. Ну еще 10 минуточек.
Oh, I’m sorry, sport. You can sleep in tomorrow. О.. Прости, малыш. Ты можешь отоспаться завтра.
That’s what Saturdays are for. Для этого и существуют субботы.
Up against the wall. Вставай к стене.
Come, come, come. Сюда, сюда, сюда.
All right. Хорошо.
Got it. Got it. Look, look! Вот.. Вот.. Смотри, смотри!
All right, sit down. Хорошо, садись.
Your breakfast is getting cold. Твой завтрак остывает.
It’s cereal. Это хлопья.
It’s supposed to be cold. Они должны быть холодными.

Straight away you can see why Russian speakers use the expression ‘stand up’, where we say ‘get up’.  And it gets used twice, so nice for comparison.

Movies are great for seeing how phrases are used and developing a better understanding of them.  For example:

It’s time…. = Пора…

Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Walter, it’s time to come in, honey. Уолтер, пора домой, милый.
But I think it’s time for you to move on and start over for yourself. Но я считаю, что вам пора двигаться дальше и начать жить для себя.
We should go, ma’am. Нам пора, мэм.

And movies are proof that we don’t speak English ‘properly’.

Here’s your books. Вот твои книги.

This is a very common ‘mistake’, so much so that in spoken language, I wouldn’t call it a mistake. It’s what people say, so it is the language, regardless of what the rules say.

Similarly, words at the beginning of a sentence are often dropped when speaking casually.

Well, what is he doing? Ну, что он делает?
Oh, my… Боже мо..
Everything all right? Все в порядке?

It’s ‘okay’ to drop words, or say “Where’s my keys?”, when you’re simply speaking quickly and being lazy, or ’rounding the corners’.  Of course it should be “Is everything all right?”, and it is there, sort of, in thought.

And notice that he says: what is he doing, and not “what’s he doing?”. There is a difference.  It’s a difference of emphasis and it will come naturally over time if you’re learning English (and have good examples to follow!).

A lot of the movie is way too difficult for me and other beginners, but sections of it are great, and are just a bit above my ability. With a little help with some of the vocab and having both languages side by side, I can manage to understand it all.

Hey, sport. Привет, малыш.
Hey, Mom. Привет, мам.
How was school? Как в школе?
Okay. Хорошо.
Yeah? Да?
We learned about dinosaurs. Мы проходили динозавров.
And I got in a fight with Billy Mankowski. И я подрался с Билли Манковски.
What happened? Что произошло?
He hit me. Он ударил меня.
Did you hit him back? Ты ударил его в ответ?
(he nods yes)
Good. Молодец.
Rule number one, remember? Правило номер один, помнишь?
Never start a fight, always finish it. Никогда не начинай драку, всегда заканчивай ее.
Why’d he hit you? Почему он тебя ударил?
Because I hit him. Потому что я ударил его.
You hit him first? Ты ударил его первым?
Why? Почему?
He said my dad ran off because he didn’t like me. Он сказал, что папа сбежал, потому что не любил меня.
Honey, your father never met you, so how could he not like you? Дорогой, твой отец никогда тебя не видел. Так как он может не любить тебя?
Then why did he leave? Тогда почему он ушел?
Well, because the day you were born, something else arrived in the mail. Ну, потому что в день, когда ты родился, кое-что другое прибыло по почте.
And it was in a box a little bit bigger than you. И это была коробка, чуть большая, чем ты.
You know what was in it? Знаешь, что там было?
Something called responsibility. Кое что, под названием ответственность.
And to some people, responsibility is the scariest thing in the world. А для некоторых людей ответственность – самая страшная вещь в мире.
So, he ran away because he was scared of what was in that box? Значит, он сбежал, потому что боялся того, что было в той коробке?
Uh-huh. ..
That’s just dumb. Это просто глупо.
That’s exactly what I thought. Это в точности мое мнение.

Short phone calls, and even one sided phone calls for really simple expressions, are also great for learning.

Hello? This is Margaret. Алло? Это Маргарет.
Hi, Margaret. Привет, Маргарет.
So, how are you? Ну, как у тебя дела?
Fine. Хорошо.
Listen, Jean can’t come in today and now we’re a little shorthanded. Слушай, Джин не может сегодня прийти и нам сейчас немного не хватает людей.
When did she call in sick? Когда она позвонила, что заболела?
About half hour ago. Где-то с полчаса назад.
I’m having a hard time trying to find someone. У меня возникли трудности в поиске замены.
Well, what about Myrna? Хорошо, как насчет Мирны?
I know she could use the extra hours and… Я знаю, она могла бы использовать дополнительные часы и…
She’s busy. Can’t you come? Она занята. Может ты придешь?
No. No, no, no. I just… Нет. Нет, нет, нет. Я просто…
I promised Walter that I’d take him to the movies, is all, and… Я обещала Уолтеру, что мы пойдем в кино, и…
Well, it’s just until 4:00. Ну, это только до четырех.
All right. Ладно.
Just… Just until 4:00. Но… Только до четырех.
I’ll see you then. Увидимся там.

I’ll do a more complete summary of expressions from the movie soon and put them on our website, complete with audio, so come visit us there: Learn Russian

And if you have questions or comments, please, I’ll answer the English questions and perhaps others can help with the questions about Russian.


Walter, honey. Уолтер, дорогой.
Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Just 10 more minutes. Ну еще 10 минуточек.
Oh, I’m sorry, sport. You can sleep in tomorrow. О.. Прости, малыш. Ты можешь отоспаться завтра.
That’s what Saturdays are for. Для этого и существуют субботы.
Up against the wall. Вставай к стене.
Come, come, come. Сюда, сюда, сюда.
All right. Хорошо.
Got it. Got it. Look, look! Вот.. Вот.. Смотри, смотри!
All right, sit down. Хорошо, садись.
Your breakfast is getting cold. Твой завтрак остывает.
It’s cereal. Это хлопья.
It’s supposed to be cold. Они должны быть холодными.

The Best Way to Learn a New Language.

So what is the best way to learn a new language?  Is there a language learning program available that provides everything you need?  I don’t think there is, so I’d like to build one.

I came up with an interesting acronym for language learning: ICE.

The primary element is the Idea.  That’s really all language is: the communication of ideas.  Regardless of the language, including body language, sign language and braille, it is simply the communication of an idea or feeling.

So, the underlying element for everything MUST be the idea.  Not grammar rules or anything else.  What is the IDEA being expressed?

When someone says ‘hello’ in any language, including eye contact from across the room, the idea is clearly understood, regardless of whether you know that particular language or not.  Learning your first ‘word’ in a new language is as simple as that.

Next is Comprehension and Expression.  Did you understand the ‘hello’ or not?  Did you reply ‘hello’ or not?

I want to create a language learning system that starts with ‘hello’ and carries on, leading you step by step, word by word, Idea by Idea, until you can Comprehend and Express everything in a new language.

Similarly, if a girl walks across the room, smiles, offers her hand to shake and says, “Hi, I’m Julie.” or “Привет, я Наташа.” or “Konichiwa, watasha wa Yuko.” you can bet your life that I will understand what she said regardless of the language and will reply “Hi, I’m Brian.”

Now, if I had a perfect memory, I’d already know how to say that expression in the new language and I wouldn’t ever forget.

Of course, most people, and definitely me included, have a hard time remembering names, let alone how to say it in a new language.  So, we need to hear the idea expressed again and again.

The perfect language learning system would understand this need but provide it naturally and pleasantly.  And it would also provide the repetition in accordance with your own particular needs, not simply at an average speed for everyone.

So, she then introduces herself to the rest of your friends at the table and you get a natural repetition of the expression: Привет, я Наташа. [privyet, ya Natasha]

She then motions to the empty seat beside you and says: Можно? [moshna]

Well, you’d have to be braindead not to realize that she asked: May I?  And you’d have to be completely dead to anything but quickly reply, “Yes, yes! Please!”

Offering her a drink, learning where she’s from, etc, etc, is perfectly simple even though neither one of you speaks a single word of the other’s language.

Now, if she became my girlfriend and had endless patience and could be with me 24/7, then I’d have “The Best Way to Learn a New Language.”

Since that’s not likely to happen any time soon, and certainly can’t happen to everyone all over the world, there needs to be something else that’s “The Best Way to Learn a New Language.”  There needs to be something online, on the internet..  language learning software that accomplishes the same thing.

I believe it’s possible and I have a friend in Kyiv who’s a programmer and is currently working on just such a program. When we get it finished, I’ll be sure to let you know! Until then, let’s continue to figure out exactly what’s needed.

The language learning program needs to maintain repetition but in a ‘spiralling’ manner.  One of your friends needs to forget her name, so that she has to repeat, “Я Наташа.” and then again but the expression ‘my name is..’ gets introduced:  Меня зовут Наташа. [menya zavyt Natasha]

Other language programs like Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone like to give it a special name, and trademark it, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty obvious to all students. We forget and need to be reminded.

Within seconds or minutes, most people forget what they just ‘learned’.  There’s no need to use any special memory techniques if the learning material is set up correctly.

Pimsleur calls it “Graduated Interval Recall”, and he’s absolutely right that it’s a key element to a good language learning program, and in fact any learning program.

In his research, Dr. Pimsleur discovered how long students remembered new information and at what intervals they needed to be reminded of it. If reminded too soon or too late, they failed to retain the information. This discovery enabled him to create a schedule of exactly when and how the information should be reintroduced.

Thousands of teachers and millions of students all over the world have ‘discovered’ this, as I did, and it is extremely interesting to see it in action.  For some reason, if you see a word 5 to 7 times with gradually increased spacing within the context of a story you will have learned the word.  It will now be ‘locked in’ and shifted from short term memory to long term memory.

I don’t need to be a scientist or perform a whole bunch of (government funded) research to reach the obvious conclusion.  And it’s impossible to create a schedule of exactly when and how the information should be reintroduced.

Different people learn at different speeds.  If you’re gifted at languages or sports or music, you will learn quicker than someone who isn’t, so a learning program needs to take this fact into account.

I envision a language learning software program where the student simply chooses the speed: ‘just right’, ‘slow down’, and ‘speed up’.

If you have a private teacher, you’re not left to decide what to study. Most language learning websites are an imposing array of section on verbs, tenses, etc, etc and students are left dazed wondering where to go and what to do.

I want a language learning system which starts with ‘Привет’ and simply takes me forward and all I need to do is control the gas pedal.  ‘Speed up’, ‘slow down’ or ‘just right’.

Getting back to Наташа, imagine someone decides to have a cigarette and offers her one, to which she replies, holding up her hand: Нет, спасибо. [niyet, spaciba]

From her body language, you know she said ‘no’, so it’s obvious she said, “No, thanks.”

As you continue to enjoy the evening and order a few more drinks, offering Наташа another drink and she replies each time: “Да, пожалуйста.” [da, pazshalsta] or perhaps “Нет, спасибо.”

If you’re listening to the audio for this story while reading along, then you don’t need to see the […] guide for how to pronounce the Russian, and very, very quickly you will have learned how to read Russian; naturally and effortlessly. That’s another key element to the ‘perfect’ language learning program. It all needs to happen naturally and effortlessly.

When Наташа gets a phone call and says to you, “Извинте.” [izvinitiya], you know she said ‘sorry’ or ‘excuse me’. And when she answers “Ало.” [a’loa], you’re very surprised by how close it sounds to ‘hello’ but it has a slight inflection that you can’t quite figure out.

And if you’re really on the ball, when she’s done you’ll ask: “Можно your telephone number?”  🙂

… to be continued

Pimsleur Language Courses – How good (or bad) are they, really?

First off, I don’t want to offend anyone who likes the Pimsleur programs and I would really like you to keep reading with an open mind and I think you’ll agree with virtually everything I have to say.

Clearly, the Pimsleur Language Courses have some very good features but from a student’s perspective, I still find them lacking in many ways.

One, I want the text.  Learning to read a new language is just as important as learning to understand it in spoken form and I really don’t understand at all, why you wouldn’t begin both at the same time.  More on this later.

Two, I want to be in control to go at my own pace, and I don’t want to spend time listening to a bunch of English.

Those are my main 2 criticisms, so now let’s look at the course in more detail.

Here’s some typical literature about Pimsleur Language Courses and I’ll make comments as we go.

Why Pimsleur?
Pimsleur Language Courses are audio courses. Since there are no books included, the Pimsleur courses are great way to learn while driving, exercising, etc.

A complete course can easily have a suite of audio material that’s even much more extensive and complete than Pimsleur’s.  Why not include soundtracks from movies?  Music with lyrics to learn while not driving then you can sing along while driving. Radio interviews, programs, etc.  Much better, right?

The Pimsleur language courses teach you to both speak and understand a new language. You’re not just learning “phrases” with the Pimsleur method, you’re acquiring essential, conversational language skills! You’ll be thrilled to discover you can hold real conversations in your new language when you have finished the course.

Uh, well, that is the point of learning a language isn’t it, so you can have a real conversation! It’s sadly true that most programs, especially those in schools and universities don’t provide students with the ability to communicate in the language.

Dr. Paul Pimsleur’s original and unique method enables you to acquire new language ability as effortlessly as children absorb their native language. You will succeed because the Pimsleur program makes sure that you learn vocabulary and grammar correctly and easily in conversational settings without mindless repetition. Pimsleur is the only language program that includes exclusive, copyrighted memory training that ensures you will always remember what you have learned.

Let’s be honest, these claims of “learn as effortlessly as a child learning your native language” are completely ridiculous.  There’s an element of truth, but I for sure don’t want to be completed immersed in a language and wait more than a year before I can say ‘Mama’.  There are many programs making similar claims but when you really look at the programs closely, none of them, including Pimsleur, are delivering what’s really needed and wanted by virtually ALL the students.

…sorry I have to run now, but will continue this soon. 🙂

For some samples of Pimsleur Russian along with the text that they don’t provide, please visit: Text for Pimsleur Russian