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February 23, 2009

An email sent to Mr. Steve Kaufmann

Mr. Steve Kaufmann is a linguist, who can speak more than ten languages, Chinese Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, and just to name a few. Amazingly, he is a Caucasian Canadian, and his age is 60 something now. His success in using languages seems to have broken the myth from us that only kids can learn English better, older people are not suited to language learning, or things like that. He founded a Website called LingQ.com, which I think is the best language learning tool I have ever seen. With the view of helping more people in Taiwan learn English in a more proper way, I plucked up my courage to write him an email. Here is the detail of it:

linguist 會多種語言的人, 語言學家
Mandarin 國語
Cantonese 廣東話
Portuguese 葡萄牙語
Amazingly 吃驚地是
Caucasian 白人
myth 迷思
found 建立
with view of 為了
pluck up courage 鼓起勇氣

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Dear Steve,

My name is Albert Chang, a BASIC member at LingQ. I just plucked up my courage to write you this letter because there is some idea of mine that I wish to let you know with regard to attracting more users in Taiwan. By the way, I am a fan of you as well as LingQ. I think it is a perfect tool to learn a language with.

with regard to 有關於
attracting 吸引

I am currently teaching English in Taiwan though I am not a native speaker of English. I know this is kind of against your view point because you suggest that a language should be taught by its native speakers. Most of my students' English proficiency level is fairly low, so I think I am relatively functional enough to help them learn English.

currently 目前
against 反對
fairly 相當程度地
relatively 相對地
functional 派得上用場

I have always told my students how wonderful a tool LingQ is, and I believe many of them must have joined LingQ as free members. But I also found that there have been only two "BASIC" members so far in Taiwan region. And other "Free" members also seem to have low active scores. I wonder why they are not using it.

region 地區
active 活躍的
wonder 想知道

The answers I have got from some were like, "I am too busy", "I don't know how to use it", or something like that. Therefore, I concluded that there are still hurdles ahead to make them not wanting to use LingQ. First, I gather that they are really busy. Second, just because they are busy, they don't even have the time to sit down at their computers and spend some time taking a closer look into the site. I think if they had done that, they would have soon enjoyed it. But too bad they haven't even reached that far yet. So, my plan is as follows and I am hoping to get your feedback.

concluded 結論
hurdle 障礙
ahead 前方
gather 猜想
feedback 回應

I am planning to hold a workshop for my students to show them how to use LingQ. If it comes along fine, I may keep doing it not only to my students but to companies or communities around. I think I will charge them a small fee if possible. Lazy bones must pay. I think some of them will eventually understand the power of LingQ. My next concern is, how to make them feel necessary to upgrade to a BASIC level or even the higher ones? Is it possible to offer them some "tiny" benefit if they once become non-free members through my referral? I think just a little points or discount can be huge incentive. This is just my two cents and I hope I haven't brought up anything too ridiculously.

hold 舉行
workshop 實做研討會
come along 進展
eventually 最後地
concern 關心
upgrade 升級
tiny 小的
referral 推介
incentive 激勵物
my two cents 我的個人一點淺見
brought up 帶出
ridiculously 荒謬

In any case, I really expect more people in my country to benefit from using LingQ. You know, some aborigine children who live in the mountains in Taiwan are badly lacking in language learning resources, so I hope one day I can give them a hand too, using LingQ.

in any case 無論如何
benefit from 獲利於
aborigine 原住民
badly lacking in 極度缺乏
resources 資源

Best wishes,

Albert Chang

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I got a quick response from him the next day after I sent him the mail. He was delighted to receive my message and told me that first they will be introducing other changes that will make LingQ more attractive to join as a Basic member. Also, they are going to bring in incentives for introducing a friend or recommending someone. These are all things that are coming in the next few months.

response 回應
delighted 高興的
recommend 推薦

I am so looking forward to these changes. Maybe I should start planning my itinerary now for helping people use LingQ at different places such schools, company, etc.

look forward to 期盼
itinerary 旅行計畫

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