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Thanks for Coming to Karaoke!

Before I start this post - thanks so much to people who came to Karaoke. It was mostly people I already knew, but one reader, Curtis, came. I thought it was totally awesome that he read about Karaoke here and decided to go. Even better, he nailed Guns 'N Roses' Welcome to the Jungle. Also in attendance were my brother and his friends, Steve, Anissa, and Dan from work, and Todd and Doug who helped me run the show.

I had no idea what I was getting into. Things like "hey, I should probably have music for when no one is karaokeing" never even occurred to me. All I had was the leaked copy of Jay-Z's Kingdom Come, so I kept playing that. There was silence, there was no crossfading. That part of the show was a disaster. I also had no idea how to hook stuff up to their system, so the first hour was spent doing that. I felt really bad for people who came during that part.

Finally things got rolling, although I think only 4 people I didn't know sang songs. It wasn't too busy because the weather was cold.

On Learning Languages Quickly

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

I had a wonderful chat with Oscar del Ben last week. We swapped some interesting ideas, but one that fascinated me was him telling me how fast he learned English. Given I travel a lot, I was curious as to how he did it. Here's his thoughts -

Hey Sebastian, I think that in order to learn languages quickly, you have to use them. It took me a bit to learn English pronunciation, and I still make many mistakes without knowing it, but the trick is to continue despite the mistakes you make. When I was learning, my girlfriend said that there was no chance for me (bad memory, bad pronunciation), but I didn't give a damn.

Anyway, in my case I had some background from school, even though very little. What worked for me was reading tons of books in English, and then talk with other people via skype.

If you only read books, you'll be able to understand 70% of your target language in one month, assuming it's similar to ones you know (I've never tried wit very different languages). But by only reading you'll have no idea about pronunciation, so I encourage you to listen to music or audio as well. Note that you'll have to get the lyrics of the songs, otherwise it will be nearly impossible to understand, even if you already know the language.

With this, you can get very far, but you'll be missing communication abilities, because you never exercise your speaking abilities. To do that, find a friend who communicates in that language over skype (should be easy if you do english exchange), or practice alone by recording your voice.

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