Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

What can you learn from a polyglot? 

Listen in as Lindsay interviews Steve Kaufmann, also known as ‘Lingo Steve.’

He has learned 20 languages. 

In today’s episode, he shares how we can trust our brains when it comes to learning languages.

He’ll also share how we can set up our language practice to focus on connection. 

Lingo Steve 

Steve Kaufmann has been a guest on the All Ears English podcast before. 

He was on episode AEE 210: English LingQ Founder Steve Kaufmann Talks About Why Learning Is Up to YOU.

Steve Kaufmann is one of the most well-known polyglots around the world. 

He speaks 20 languages and shares his methods with over 850,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 50,000 readers on his blog ‘The Linguist.’

Steve shares that his first encounter with language was French because it was part of the school system in Canada. 

He learned it and he became enthusiastic about it and he then flew to France. 

He’s fluent in five or six language and conversational in all 20. 

The human connection 

Lindsay shares with Steve that the All Ears English slogan is “Connection, not Perfection.™”

She asks Steve if he can give three ways to bring human connection into language learning. 

These tips can help you move faster in learning a new language. 

He shares that learning a language without seeking to connect doesn’t work. 

The knowledge will be retained in your short-term memory and won’t last. 

To be able to ensure you actually learn, you must find ways to retain the language in your long-term memory. 

One good way to do that is to engage with people who speak that same language. 

Find opportunities to be able to practice speaking and have a conversation.

Don’t expect it to be perfect. 

It’s in the listening and enjoying the exchange where you really learn. 

Here are the processes that Steve used when he was learning: 

#1: Understand and Anticipate

When we understand something, we are able to anticipate what comes to us.

Research shows that the frequency we come across vocabulary can help you learn faster.

If you seize these opportunities and enjoy the process, you will understand it better.

You must not pressure yourself to be perfect and expect yourself to remember all the new words you learn.

It must be treated more as an exploration rather than setting learning standards. 

#2: Relevance and authenticity

Seek authenticity in the things you learn.

If you constantly consume material in English that you don’t relate to or are not interested in, you won’t be able to remember as much.

Another step to take it further is to use materials that you’re interested in.

Seek out materials that contain 10-15% new vocabulary so you always learn something new.

This will be very helpful when you want to increase your reading and speaking skills.

Constantly consuming easy materials won’t improve your skills.

It’s important to expand beyond what you already know.

Push yourself to consume language materials to learn new words you may use when reading or when having a conversation. 

#3: Enjoy the process and trust your brain

Languages are difficult for different reasons.

The more similar the language is to your native language, the easier it is to learn.

Having different writing characters can be very difficult and the same goes with grammar structures.

Lastly, the availability of interesting content in the language you want to learn can be challenging.

Make sure to make it fun and lean on the power of your mind.

The brain will be able to pick up whatever you want it to consume so keep feeding your brain.

Spend the time and effort reading and exploring the things you find enjoyable and try and learn from them.

Your brain is built to recognize patterns and language has patterns.

Make it worthwhile because language learning should be fun


Don’t hold back when learning a new language

Don’t forget about the fun of exploring and immersing yourself in something new. 

Find interesting content that matters to you so that you can improve your English language skills. 

Trust the process. 

Make the time to read an English book

Exploring language learning can be life-changing. 

Take the extra step to immerse yourself in experience to fast-track your learning. 

Steve’s bio

Steve Kaufmann is passionate about languages and today he is one of the world’s most well known polyglots. He speaks 20 languages and shares his methods to over 850 000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and over 50 000 readers on his blog, The Linguist. After a distinguished career as a diplomat and an executive in the international trade of wood products, Steve co-founded LingQ, a web and mobile language learning platform that’s used by over one million users around the globe. You can find Steve on his YouTube channel Lingo Steve. You can also visit the Linq website 

Which part of Steve’s advice do you find most helpful?

Share it in the comments below. 

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