Personal Update

September 16, 2017

It's been over three months since I've posted here! However, I do post regularly on the Frictionless Mastery Facebook page, so check that out. Here are some highlights and trends from the recent months.

I've prioritized my languages. I've consciously chosen to ignore Spanish, French, and Slovak for now because there are no immediate prospects to travel to these countries. Instead, I'm choosing to focus on one or two languages at a time in addition to my continual attention to Russian and Georgian, based on specific opportunities to use those languages in the foreseeable future.

Reflections on Polyglot Gathering 2017, Bratislava

June 12, 2017


A week ago I gave my first talk on language learning in Russian at the 2017 Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava. You can watch my presentation in Russian at https://vk.com/yapoliglot, but you'll need to join the group first. Furthermore, the slides themselves are posted at https://youtu.be/1D64z1S-l4g. A more complete and professional recording of the talk will eventually be published on Youtube by the event organizers, but nobody knows when.

The P-Myth: Misconceptions About Becoming a Polyglot

March 19, 2017



"Please tell me the best way to learn languages A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H in the next 5 years. My goal is to become a polyglot by the age of X."

Workshop for Alumni of Exchange Student Program

March 14, 2017

Yesterday I held a workshop for FLEX program alumni in Tbilisi, Georgia. I talked to them in several different languages at the beginning to engage them, and shared a bit of my exchange student experience in Slovakia. I could relate to their experiences, and they clearly felt this.

Before the workshop, I had them fill out a questionnaire which showed me that most of them were now getting less than 5 hours a week of English speaking practice after a year of speaking English every day in the U.S. Many of them noticed their English getting worse and were distressed by it.

Traveling abroad as an exchange student, missionary, international student, intern, or volunteer?


– Do you know how best to master a foreign language once in the field?

– Are you equipped to pick up correct vocabulary and grammar through direct communication with native speakers?

– Do you have the tools to acquire excellent pronunciation and overcome the psychological challenges of operating in a different culture and language?

Multilingual Language Club Evening

January 2, 2017

The other day we held the first multilingual meeting in the five-year history of the Tbilisi Language Exchange Club. When planning the event, I asked attendees what languages they would like to practice at the event. I made simple signs for all the languages (there were 13 in total) and set them up on the tables at our venue so that they would be visible to people entering the cafe.

The rules were:

Feedback on Frictionless Mastery

What are people saying about Frictionless Mastery?

First, check out the reviews on Amazon (still very few as of February 2017 — remember, I'm self-publishing, and this is my first book ever...).

Also see comments on a guest interview with me for the Actual Fluency podcast.

Below is my collection of unsolicited feedback from people I've corresponded with or know personally:

Should I Make Any Effort to Improve My Russian?

December 3, 2016

My friend Petre grew up in Georgia and speaks Russian at a C2 level thanks to regular exposure from childhood on and ongoing contact with friends and clients from Russian speaking countries. However, he has no far-reaching goals for the language and doesn't "love it" like he does English. "My main goal is simply to avoid discomfort for the Russian speakers I talk to," he says. "Seeing that I don't intend to become a translator or speak perfect Russian, should make any effort at all to improve my Russian?"

My Language Logs: Part 2

My Language Logs: New Developments (Fall 2016)

November 22, 2016

I can't quite put my finger on the causes, but I am now more motivated to improve all of my languages. Maybe the language club meetings have become more interesting recently. Maybe it's because of publishing my Instruction Manual or attending the recent Polyglot Conference. Whatever the reason, practicing and improving my languages (and not just Russian) now feels directly relevant to my core interests.

Scarcity and Language Learning

October 3, 2016

I'm a big believer in scarcity: scarcity of resources, of time, of reproductive opportunities, and yes, of access to native speakers and conversation practice. Scarcity drives competition and therefore evolution. It's woven into our lives at so many levels.

Let's look at how scarcity of speaking practice affects language learning.
(c) 2016-2018 Richard DeLong.