November 12, 2012 — Language101.com is a team effort.
First I’ll introduce some of the team members. Then I’ll tell you how Language101.com got started.
The picture on the left is me. My name is Brent Van Arsdell, and I am the founder of Language101.com.
I’m a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering.
I’m a wild enthusiast for learning foreign languages and for using technology in the right way to make language learning easier.
My approach to developing language-learning software is simple. “If we can test something and prove that it works, we do it!”
Lead Programmer — Christopher Morrison
Chris is an honors graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with two degrees, one in computer science and the other in aerospace engineering.
Chris has programmed for Language 101.com for four years and has written concise, elegant, well commended code on three different continents.
Customer Service — Thomas Wyse
Thomas is one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Thomas will set up additional accounts for your family members, reply to your e-mails, answer your questions, and generally make you feel right at home.
Spanish Teacher — Edgar Mencos
Edgar recorded most of the Spanish lessons you’ll hear on this site. He’s one the people who give Mexicans their reputation for friendliness.
American English Teacher — Susan Fauman
When Susan is not busy doing yoga or chasing after her toddler, she’s recording American English lessons from her new apartment in Marseille, France.
Yes, she’s an American!
And too many more to mention
The team is really quite big, especially if I were to count everyone who has contributed substantially. All of our language lessons have been recorded by educated native speakers with lovely voices.
How Language101.com got started
Back in 2005, I was studying Russian using the Pimsleur language course, and it was working. What fun! I could actually communicate (a little) with these strange new sounds.
Unfortunately, every time I got done with a Pimsleur lesson, I ended up saying, “Man, that was boring!” There had to be a better way to learn a language.
Next, I tried Rosetta Stone, but it didn’t work at all. Then I tried a lot of programs that you have probably never heard of, and they didn’t work either. Pimsleur worked, but it was slow and boring.
It was a good thing that I learned how to solve problems at UIUC, because now I had a big problem. I was having so much fun learning Russian that I was pretty sure I wanted to learn several other languages too, and at the rate I was learning Russian with Pimsleur, I was going to grow old and die before I learned all the languages I wanted to learn.
In 2006 I started to think seriously about how to develop foreign-language learning software. In December of 2007, I hired my first programmer, and we started developing a program.
Learning foreign languages and traveling the world has been the best thing that ever happened to me. I went from being a typical American who couldn’t speak any other language to being able to speak conversational Russian and being able to have fun in French and German.
I’ve also made some amazing personal changes since I started learning Russian. When I began learning Russian, I worried about everything. Today I don’t worry about anything and haven’t for more than two years. Ahh, it feels good.
As you might guess, I spend a lot of time traveling, adventuring, and living in different countries. At the moment I’m traveling, so if you have any questions, you can call me on my cell phone at 760-550-7813 or you can email me.
Brent Van Arsdell
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