Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Did you know Lindsay is learning Arabic?

She is getting ready for a trip to Egypt and wants to be able to connect in Arabic!

Today she shares four key tips on how to take control of your language learning at any level.

This will help you make language learning effective with a busy schedule as a working professional.

Language learning

Michelle asks Lindsay how she has been doing with learning the Arabic language.

Lindsay shares that she excited to finally be able to start learning Arabic.

It has been refreshing and humbling to learn a new language.

She is taking a trip to Cairo, Egypt in May, which is the reason she decided to learn Arabic.

It has been challenging since she is also running a business.

However, she has found a way to keep learning despite her busy schedule.

Four key learnings from studying a new language

It’s never easy to learn a new language.

If you know what to focus on, the journey becomes easier and more structured.

The All Ears English team always advises everyone to focus on connection, not perfection.

At the end of the day, the best reason to learn a new language is to be able to connect and build relationships with new people.

Lindsay has learned four key things studying Arabic.

She wants to share it with the All Ears English listeners who are busy professionals and are learning English.

#1: Lesson length

Lindsay has found that instead of taking a 45-minute class, it’s often preferable to do a 30-minute session.

This works better for her because it fits in with her busy schedule in a work day.

This way, if you book a 30-minute meeting, you can squeeze a 30-minute language learning session in between meetings.

If you take the 45-minute session it doesn’t fit in seamlessly since work meetings don’t begin on the quarter hour.

Because of this, it can cause you to waste 15 minutes.

As a professional, making time for a lesson during a work day when possible is more efficient.

You are then able to do your work and not hinder your pacing when learning a new language.

#2: Refer to notes when needed

When you first start a language, writing out role plays and practicing them can be very helpful.

This will help you easily grasp the concept of conversations.

Lindsay changed her teachers along the way when she was learning Arabic.

Her first teacher recommended she memorize to be able to learn, which wasn’t working for her.

If you have no context to the language as a beginner, memorizing can be ineffective.

Her second teacher allows her to read her notes until she fully understands the language.

The notes can be taken away when she is ready to not be guided by them.

#3: If needed, change teachers

You don’t have to lock yourself in with just one teacher.

Don’t be afraid to switch to a mentor that can help you.

In Lindsay’s case, she didn’t drop her first teacher because she found both are good with different styles.

Her first teacher focuses on an academic approach.

Her second teacher approaches learning a language with the intent of using it when traveling.

She finds the different approaches very helpful so she kept them both.

You can take charge of your learning and make choices that will be beneficial to you.

#4: Use an app like Quizlet

Lindsay recommends this as an amazing resource.

It’s loaded with a lot of work and definitions.

It has flashcards with questions and answers.

This app has helped Lindsay a lot on top of going to classes with two different teachers.

You can never go wrong with digesting more resources and using more tools to help you learn a new language faster.

Start a conversation with a language learner

Learning a new language is a journey.

If you know someone who is a beginner, it can be a great connection opportunity to ask how it’s going.

Here are two phrases you can use to ask someone about the status of their language learning experience.

How is the (language) coming along? (Swahili, Korean, Icelandic)

  • ‘How is the Chinese coming along?’
  • ‘How is the French coming along?

Say something in _____________________.

  • ‘Say something in German!’
  • ‘Say something in Swedish!’


Today’s episode has been filled with tips that are very useful to all language learners and not just English language learners.

Lindsay has shared very good insights that you can try and adapt to your own English learning journey.

Here is a quick roleplay to make a connection with someone who is learning a new language.

In this scenario Michelle and Lindsay are colleagues.

Michelle is learning Italian to prepare for a trip to Florence and Lindsay wants to see how it’s going.

Both of them are just coming out of a meeting.

Lindsay: That meeting was loooong.
Michelle: Yeah it was!
Lindsay: Oh, your trip to Florence is coming up, isn’t it?
Michelle: Yes, I can’t wait! I really need a break from the daily grind.
Lindsay: How is the Italian coming along?
Michelle: It’s going well. I love my teacher and our lessons motivate me to keep going.
Lindsay: That’s amazing. Say something in Italian!
Michelle: Ciao!


The takeaway from today’s episode is to take control of your learning because you know what your needs are.

If you need to watch a Youtube video instead of memorizing a list, feel free to inform your teacher.

If your teacher does not do things the way that helps you or is not flexible, you can always find a new teacher.

You are a professional and taking charge of your learning language will empower you.

You determine your success, so speak up and take control!

What are you doing to get better at learning a new language?

Share it in the comments below and help other language learners in the All Ears English community.

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