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Noel van Vliet

Noel is the founder of Smart Language Learner. When he isn't learning languages or writing about it, you can find him enjoying the good life of Costa Rica, where he lives with his wife and 4 children.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Too Nice When You’re Abroad

The average Western tourist (or expat) acts way too nice when abroad.

A fake happy, innocent, and weak attitude takes possession of him as soon as he sets foot on foreign soil.

His eagerness to be accepted by the natives is written all over his face.

Now you might think … so what? Someone who wants to be liked. Big deal!

But in underdeveloped countries, there are still some unwritten social laws.

And such open attitudes can get you in trouble.

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Speechling Review: Improve Your Pronunciation in a Foreign Language

An often overlooked aspect of language learning is pronunciation.

Many learners want to “sound like a native”, but then do almost nothing about it.

To sound like a native you don’t necessarily need more words. That helps, of course, but no one will mistake you for a native speaker if you sound like Tarzan all the time.

Problem is, we’re often unaware of the pronunciation mistakes we make. We need someone to tell us where we’re messing up.

A new App called Speechling can help you with this.

How to Get the Most Out of FluentU

Recent years have seen an incredible rise in the number of language learning materials available — overwhelmingly digital.

Most of the language learning Apps around are pretty poor in quality and superficial at best.

Fortunately, there are exceptions.

FluentU is one of them.

In this post we take a detailed look at how you can get the most out of this remarkable tool.

FluentU vs Yabla – Which One Is Better?

In the overwhelming sea of language learning apps, most apps don’t offer anything new.

FluentU and Yabla are different.

With both, you can learn a language by watching interesting videos.

The language spoken in the videos, is the real-life version of the language. Not the overly formal language most apps serve you. (This is good in some cases, but not so much for intermediate learners and above.)

In this post I talk about the strengths and weaknesses of both FluentU and Yabla.

Alcohol Can Help You Better Speak a Foreign Language

Yeah, this will be a controversial post.

But it’s true:

Alcohol can help you with speaking a foreign language.

Some claim it doesn’t, but I want you to know the truth with as less hypocrisy as possible.

When I say alcohol helps you to speak a foreign language, I’m not talking about getting drunk. (Although that may help you speak a foreign language no one has ever heard about.)

What I’m referring to is what’s called moderate drinking:

A beer here and there to loosen up your tongue, but not so much that it gets all tangled up!

In this post I’ll talk, somewhat reluctantly, about the reasons why alcohol is beneficial if you want to learn a new language.