Betting on Fluency – a Chat with Robert Toms

Betting on Fluency - a Chat with Robert Toms

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We had a great time chatting with Robert Toms about “The Hanzi Movie Method” because, as it turns out, he’s a stage actor! (Check out his website: https://www.robertleetoms.com/) Naturally, he was like a fish to water with a method using mnemonic metaphors like “Actors,” “Sets,” “Props,” “Scripts” and “Special Effects.”

So why did he want to learn Chinese? Well, it was a spur of the moment decision. In spending time with his friend, Robert proposed a self-improvement bet with his friend. It’s a race to see who can achieve the following goals first:

Roberts friend:

  1. Get a pilot license
  2. Learn Spanish to fluency

Robert himself:
Learn Spanish, Russian & Mandarin to conversational fluency.

What a challenge! We’re pleased he chose us because we think he stands a pretty good chance to win the bet.

In the interview, we talk about a range of topics including:
Tim Ferriss’ language learning techniques
Flowstate in language learning
The 80/20 rule
Spaced-repetition software
How he experiences The Hanzi Movie Method as an actor himself
The memory palace from Sherlock
Learning a 3rd or 4th language through “laddering”
Globalization necessitating Mandarin learning
Confucian, Daoist & Buddhist philosophy embedded in the language
Chinese attitudes towards Americans 美国人
The importance of starting with pronunciation in language learning
…and much more!

Enjoy!