June 24, 2017


Understanding Chinese characters is a book that compiles years of Chinese character study in a concise and understandable way for the learner. Learn to understand Chinese characters for what they really are with a book that is easy to use, combining the best modern Chinese character academic research with the best learner experience.

Written by Vladimir Skultety, a graduate of Chinese studies specialized in Chinese character etymology and a polyglot speaking 15 languages working as an interpreter of Mandarin Chinese, English and Slovak.


Buy PDF for € 16.99 (+VAT)


Free Character practice sheets included

Download 50 page preview


Key features
  • suitable for anyone looking to understand and learn Chinese characters quickly and effectively
  • simple enough for beginners, detailed and accurate enough for advanced learners
  • characters in the book cover up to 70% of most modern texts written in Chinese
  • contains both Traditional and Simplified characters 
  • free printable character practice sheets with correct stroke order included
  • based on years of extensive and very detailed academic research, but written in a way which avoids academic clutter
  • high quality color images
  • custom designed illustrations
  • custom painted Oracle bone characters
  • licensed beautiful Seal Script font
  • 273 pages

June 23, 2017

Learning to code and language learning parallels

Recently I started to learn how to use the programing language Python. Language learning and learning how to program are two different things but are connected in many ways - not the least in that you need to ‘learn’ both.

Key takeaways from learning how to start using the programing language Python that can be used in learning how to start using a real language too (absolute beginner level):


  • Learn from top to bottom. (Start with the general idea, don’t get lost in small details)
  • Learn in small chunks
  • First see/hear the chunk, then read about it. (First see the small chunk in use, then read about the theory/listen to the explanation related to it. )
  • Learn by looking at someone who already knows the things/concepts you need to learn = work with a teacher
  • It's very frustrating and takes forever to work yourself through whatever course/tutorial/manual you can find to get to what you actually need. A teacher sitting next to you is absolutely crucial for lightning speed progress
  • Analyze how your teacher uses the concepts you need to learn until you realize what's going on = reach an aha! moment
  • Practice your small Aha! moment chunks until they become automatic
  • Review so you: 1. don’t forget 2. store the chunks deeper and deeper into your automatic memory
  • Move on to another chunk and repeat the above
  • Build on aha! chunks: combine, substitute, and then repeat the automation process
  • Only learn chunks that are absolutely necessary (or are an integral part of what you need)
  • Learn by looking at practical examples
  • Copy something someone already did and adjust it to your needs.
  • Your time is precious: only look for explanations or work with teachers who know what you’re trying to learn. Look for explanations that are short and effective and explained by someone who has invested their time in making sure the student understands what the teacher is saying and is making real progress. Avoid explanations and teachers who only lump everything they know onto the student, having the student deal with the whole lump on their own
  • Rant: Stay far away from teachers whose main concern is to manifest their ego by showing you how intelligent they are and not to make sure you actually make real progress :)
  • To teachers:
  • Explain only that what is necessary - do not deviate away from the explanation, don’t explain alternatives, exceptions, other possible functions, the history of this or that thing.. only if absolutely necessary
  • Every time you can, explain using things the student can relate to (use metaphors, known concepts, real life examples etc.)
  • Use as little unknown concepts and unknown or difficult words in your explanation as you can
  • Show instead of explain
  • When explaining something, don’t talk about all possible ways of doing/saying this or that particular thing. Don’t even say there is another possibility of doing so. It will only confuse/add options which a beginner will find overwhelming. Talk only about your one most preferred way or the way most people prefer.

February 08, 2017

Fitness

A lot of people have been asking me about my fitness, diet, daily routines, travel and just random things which I love to talk about so I thought why not make what 1000 people do every day and start a podcast:) If you'd have a specific topic you would like me to talk about just leave a comment, these recordings are really a lot of fun to make, I'll try to make my best to be consistent if you guys like it.



iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/vladimir-skultety-podcast/id1202514702?mt=2

August 21, 2016

How to learn a foreign language fast and well - short answer


A Slovak journalist once asked me to write a short paragraph about how to learn English fast and well. It is very difficult to summarize something like that into a few sentences, but I tried. Very simply put, learning a foreign language can be compared to learning how to play a guitar. If you want to learn how to play a guitar fast and well, you need two things (except for the guitar obviously):

  • spend a lot of time listening to someone who plays the guitar well 
and
  • spend a lot of time practicing. 

In the world of foreign languages, this translates into:

  • a lot of input (listening and reading) 
and
  • a lot of output (speaking and writing). 

The approach of a beginner and an intermediate student will be different of course, but the learning philosophy remains the same.

June 14, 2016

Interview for Refresher.sk about languages, books, movies and other things


There’s a saying which goes “The more languages you know the more you are a person”. Based on this saying, Vladimir Skultety would probably have quite a lot of personalities. He belongs to a group of people which are called polyglots. He knows more languages, than is typical for one single person to know. On his blog he says, he speaks 15, half of them fluently. He became known after he posted a video on YouTube, where he spoke in even more - nineteen languages. He told us why he chose such an exotic hobby and what it feels like to be a polyglot. 

Could you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

I’m 33 years old and I come from Kosice, Slovakia. I have a Master’s degree in International relations and a Bachelor’s degree in Chinese studies. I work as an interpreter of English, Mandarin Chinese and Slovak and currently work on a book about Chinese characters. I’ve lived in Taiwan for five years, in the USA for two years and have spent longer periods of time in the Czech republic, Italy and Austria.

June 11, 2016

How a video goes viral


A short video explaining how a video goes viral.
Last year I made a video which reached 1.5 million views and I thought I would make a video explaining how and why it happened.
If you like the video, feel free to comment, share or subscribe.

May 23, 2016

How to improve your accent


A video with short tips about accent improvement.

Several people have asked me to post a video about how I go about acquiring a good accent in the foreign language I study. I'm not sure whether what I do will help everyone but maybe you will find some inspiration from what I do and adjust it to your learning style.

If you like the video, feel free to comment, share or subscribe.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa35...

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VladSkultety

Language Blog: http://www.foreverastudent.com

Mailing list: http://www.foreverastudent.com/p/subscribe.html

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VladSkultety

Instagram: https://instagram.com/vladskultety/


Many thanks for letting me use the music to:

https://soundcloud.com/beatchild
Song: https://soundcloud.com/beatchild/it-starts-with-the-bass-beat-tape-vol-2
Website: www.beatchild.com

April 21, 2016

Don't worry about making mistakes


I made a new video on my channel about making mistakes in language learning.

Don't worry about making mistakes too much and stay away from teachers who are too strict to beginners. This will all slow you down and create unnecessary stress and will lead you nowhere. Correcting mistakes is of course necessary but it is almost an art form. There is a time and place for every correction and talented and experienced teachers know when to correct a student.

April 16, 2016

Which language should you learn?

In one word: English

If you speak English well already, then: Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic or Russian

If you need to learn a language for work, then: learn the language of the country where you will be working, or the country at which your work will be aimed at.

If you'd just like to learn a language because you like learning languages, then: pick whichever language you are attracted to emotionally.


Learning languages has always been very popular. At least in countries where learning foreign languages is necessary. The most important language from where I come from to learn is English and if you would ask me, which language should you learn or work on for economic or career reasons, I would not hesitate one moment and say, you should learn English. The languages you should choose to learn however often do not depend on how much money you can make knowing them or by how much better your career prospects will be. Many factors are very individual and greatly depend on the reason why you'd might want to learn the language more than anything (obviously).

The reason

There are several reasons why you might want to learn a foreign language and usually it's one of the following:

April 02, 2016

Compound pictograms

A compound pictogram is a Chinese character used in Chinese writing, which combines two or more simple pictograms into one character in order to convey a more complex meaning. 看 for instance is a compound pictogram:


Some other examples of compound pictograms include:

投 to throw 
扌hand
殳 spear