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Nov. 3, 2022

Language learner personalities with Lindsay Williams | Ep. #18

Lindsay Williams from “Lindsay Does Languages” brings her 10+ years of experience helping language learners better understand themselves so they can learn more effectively. We speak about the many different kinds of language learners and learner personality types she’s worked with over the years, where to start when you’re interested in learning a new language, overcoming procrastination, and learning Guarani.


Lindsay Williams from “Lindsay Does Languages” brings her 10+ years of experience helping language learners better understand themselves so they can learn more effectively. We speak about the many different kinds of language learners and learner personality types she’s worked with over the years, where to start when you’re interested in learning a new language, overcoming procrastination, and learning Guarani.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

 

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Transcript

Hedvig Sandbu  0:04  
Learning a language is not what you think, but so much more. This is the Abundate podcast and I'm your host Hedvig. Sunday I had the joy of speaking with Lindsey Williams from Lindsay Does Languages, who describes herself as obsessed with languages and how to learn them. She has been featured in The Guardian, fluent in three months, and I talkie. And since 2012, she has helped hundreds of solo learners go from what she describes as from meth to sunglasses on wind in your hair, confidence through her products, courses and programmes. Lindsay and I spoke about the many different kinds of language learners and learner personality types that she's worked with, over the years, where to start when you're interested in learning a new language, overcoming procrastination, and learning Guarani. Hi, Lindsay, and thank you so much for being with us. I'm really excited to be talking to you. And as you know, this is the first time you and I are kind of speaking. So I'm but I've known about you for at least five years or something. Because I've always been interested in the polyglot community and language learning. So it's, I'm feel like I'm, I'm meeting one of my, one of my role models. So it's very exciting to meet you. 

Lindsay Williams  1:32  
Oh, thank you. Yeah, it's, it's been a while, in fact, this year, was 10 years since I started my business. So yeah, it's been some time.

Hedvig Sandbu  1:44  
Wow. Yeah. Um, so for those of, you know, our listeners who maybe don't know what you do and who you are, can you share a little bit about, you know, your, your approach or your journey into languages?

Lindsay Williams  1:59  
Mm hmm. So, my approach? Oh, that's a good question. I like that word. Really, I guess in terms of approach for me, it's about, like, a lot of the work I do isn't necessarily teaching specific languages. It's teaching people how to learn languages. So whether it's Spanish, whether it's Swahili, whether it's Japanese, French, English, whatever it is, it's the how to learn that I noticed, you know, from years of my own experience of learning was often kind of missed off like at school, it would be okay, vocabulary test next week, here are your 10 words, go home and learn them. How do I learn the words? What do I need to do for that? No, that wasn't in the lesson, just you're given the list. And there you go. It's up to you from there. And so I realised that actually, there wasn't lots and lots of people talking about how to learn languages, kind of very openly. Like there's lots of it in, you know, very academic sense in terms of second language acquisition research, and all of this stuff. But it's not as accessible for everyone learning languages. And so I wanted to kind of bridge that gap. And so my approach is really about thinking, and considering you and yourself to then apply, how to learn languages to you to your own situation, because that's the other cool thing about it is that it's not just here's how to learn languages. Here's the one method TM, here's the one system copyright trademark, like, because that's not how it works. Like you have to take into account you and yourself first and foremost.

Hedvig Sandbu  3:43  
Yeah, absolutely. And and, I mean, it may be one of the reasons that you because you, you approached me, and you found this this podcast, right, and I'm assuming one of the reasons that it might have resonated with you is that I talk a lot about how there is really no one way and it is about Yeah, discovering, ideally, not getting too overwhelmed with all of the ways but kind of discovering, exploring and finding that one, or that these this little combination of methods that might work for you.

Lindsay Williams  4:22  
Yeah, that's exactly yeah, a lot of language learning is exploration and experimentation. But without that overwhelm, and being able to manage so that you don't end up just feeling like I've tried everything and nothing works. Maybe because you've tried everything for one time each. You know, kind of like this. I there's often a lot of parallels that I draw with language learning and like exercise and fitness. When we might think, Oh, I see people running and I hear that that's a healthy thing. So I'm going to go out and run one time and then you come back and you're That was not fun. So, I'm never gonna do that again. And you know, it's about kind of committing and staying the course with the stuff that is going to work for you and is going to make you feel good and help you get progress. And there is a kind of a very fine line between those things. And like I say, it's the individual that is what it often comes down to, at the at the end in terms of what is going to work and how it's going to work for you.

Hedvig Sandbu  5:25  
Yeah, you know, as you're as you're, as you're speaking, I, I was just reminded that actually, it was like that for me with teaching. Because I, when I first got into, or I tried teaching English when I was 18. I was like, No, I'm never doing that. Again. I didn't like it. And I said, No. Language Teaching is not for me. And then it wasn't until, yeah, like nine years later, when I was like, oh, there's this thing called like language coaching. And there's lots of other ways of, kind of, yeah, imparting language related knowledge. So

Lindsay Williams  6:04  
I Yeah, teaching I think can be quite a scary word. Because this idea of labelling yourself in, or, again, with so many areas of life, right. But by labelling yourself and saying I am a teacher feels, can feel kind of scary. Sometimes. I mean, I don't have any, like an official teaching qualification. For a school, for example, in the UK, I don't have like a PGCE or anything like that, because I never taught in school. But what I did do is I worked in school as a learning support system. I observed it for over two years firsthand. And I was teaching small groups. And then I was tutoring. And I was learning again, from my own experience of language learning, I was very much kind of learning on the go in those early days, when I was a lot younger. You know, and I think if you're, if you're thinking solely about like, teaching in that traditional sense that we've all mostly at least been exposed to from school, then it becomes very narrow. And especially with language learning, like when we talk about, you know, careers that involve languages, it is often teaching translation, that's kind of, that's the full stop right there. But there is so much and even within those two words, there's so many ways you can take it and like you say, language coaching, and you know, the way that you then teach, and because teaching essentially, is a transfer of knowledge. And the way that you then do that online, for example, or there's a whole host of different ways, where you that, you know, that you could be teaching, but you might not think of yourself as a teacher, because it's not that traditional sense, you know. So it's a really fascinating time to be involved in that. It's very exciting.

Hedvig Sandbu  7:59  
It's true. And, and I mean, in so many areas of society, I guess we're kind of sick of the traditional style, right? So yeah, it's exciting. And I think, yeah, in language learning as well, definitely. So, um, I have so many questions for you. I'm, I'm a bit curious about I have a little list. But I now I'm a bit curious now about because you, you teach, or you help people to better learn how to learn languages, essentially. Right? So who, and I'm sure it's a breadth of different types of people, but who are can you give me an idea of what who are the kinds of people that kind of come seek your, your support or your services?

Lindsay Williams  8:51  
You're right, there is a bit of a breadth in that. So generally, there are mostly people who are who have had some sort of experience with languages in the past. There's that but equally, having said that, there are some beginners or very early, you know, language learners who may have done something in school and now as an adult are starting again. So it's sort of that I'd say like, kind of 60 70% people that have done some language learning in the past and maybe 30 20% Wait, I got it. Right. But you know what I mean, like 20 sort of things and that are more towards the beginning end of things. And then on the others other side of things. I think most people that I work with are learning multiple languages. Oh, yeah. Which is always quite interesting. And some people are living or going to be you're planning to be living working abroad. and others are at home. And it is purely a hobby and interest, and others are at home. And it is heritage, that's been quite a big area, where, you know, there's been languages connected in there, kind of maybe parents or, or further back generations. So, yeah, there is quite a range really when I think of all these different factors that combine. So yeah, it makes it really interesting. Because the other thing is that, you know, in the programme that like the sort of main programme, I work with people much more closely language life, we, we are there together as language learners, we're not there as, for example, Spanish learners or French learners, right. So you get this whole spectrum of experience, and, you know, different approaches and different views on things. And as, I'm sure, however, you've probably noticed this yourself, like, when you're learning a language, the minute that you start to learn another one, you see everything from a different angle, or, you know, I've I've had experiences where, like, learn Spanish for years, like over a decade, and then started learning, Guarani, which is like spoken in Paraguay, like official language alongside Spanish and Paraguay. And there'll be things that are kind of connected with the language, and I'll go, oh, oh, so in Spanish, that Ma, and you, you realise all these things, right? So there's a real, there's a real joy there from everyone being there with you know, different language focuses as well, which is really cool.

Hedvig Sandbu  11:39  
Oh, yeah. I mean, I love kind of nerding out with other other language learners about these strange, you know, parallels and similarities between different languages that you would never have expected. And this is one thing that I, I kind of, I used to wish that everybody learnt in this way. I'm not quite there anymore, because I do think that not everybody loves patterns the way that I do. But I do think that there is this beauty in the patterns when you do find them. And you kind of discover those for yourself. Because there are, that's all that language is in in one sense. It's it's patterns and learning a language. Is that kind of pattern finding, isn't it?

Lindsay Williams  12:27  
Yeah, I love that, too. I've, for a year and a half over a year and a half now be learning Russian and the cases, you know, I've kind of familiarised myself with them as best as possible, and all the different endings and things to change the words, but it's only recently when I've worked with a new tutor, who said, Oh, good there. So the ending is going to be a sounding and I'm like, oh, there's a pattern. So yeah, they always emerge as well, which is great about looking for looking for patterns in, in languages.

Hedvig Sandbu  13:01  
Yeah, it's true. And, you know, the funny thing is that as as children or you know, babies, when they learn, they pick up those patterns, and they just go with it. And by the way, I think now might be the right time to mention your personality quiz because I took your personality quiz, sorry, language personality quiz on your website. And I it turns out, I'm a Pingu. Which is kind of the the, from what I gathered from from the description is the kind of happy go lucky exploring, exploring and jumping into situations and just trying stuff. Which I personally have always identified a lot with the child way of learning languages, because I think that's kind of what I do. And what I'm doing now with Italian, I just jump in, and I try something and I fail a lot. But I have a lot of fun with it. And your quiz was so much fun to do, by the way.

Lindsay Williams  14:10  
I'm really glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, there's there's a lot of options because there's those four, you will have seen on the on the results page. There's these four kinds of elements. And I was really thinking about how kind of like when you asked me, you know, who do I work with? There's like these different angles to the whole thing, right? And I was thinking about what that looks like in terms of language learners as a whole. And so I kind of narrowed it down to these four different elements between two right. So the idea of being a solo study or a community Craver, so like, do you prefer studying solo and not to say that you are shy or you never ever speak but do you prefer your studying that way? Or do you prefer to be going out out to the meetups every single night and having lessons and exchanges, you know, every minute that you can. And I feel like that is one side of it. Another side is are you dedicated to one language? Or are you a dabbler? And just love exploring and discovering new languages? Yeah, so I was really thinking about, and there's that there's others as well, I was really thinking about that about how they then kind of combine and what that means as a language learner. And, you know, like we said at the beginning, how that then changes the way that you're then going to learn. Because it's, it's so excited when you know that about yourself, to then be able to think, Ah, okay, that explains why when I tried, I didn't know, that audio course that everyone loves, that explains why it didn't work for me, or that explains why that app just was really, really boring for me, because that's not the way that I'm wired. You know, so there's, there's a lot in there too, to kind of help help kind of bring a bit of inner peace, I guess, you know, to your to your language learners, you can kind of go on with more confidence along along the way.

Hedvig Sandbu  16:11  
Yeah, and I mean, I think a huge part of learning a language is about self awareness, really, and awareness of, of how you learn more generally, as well. So, you know, it kind of, I think it both begins and ends with self awareness, because it's, it can be, kind of, reaffirm your sense of, of who you are, and how you learn and build your confidence. Right.

Lindsay Williams  16:40  
Exactly, exactly. And then all of that as well is so transferable, like the way that you then, you know, apply your time management skills that you've learned from language learning to your work, or your other studies, or whatever it is, you know, there's so much that language learning can give you that you can cross over, it's, it's just the best thing in the world.

Hedvig Sandbu  17:07  
When we're speaking about learning how to learn languages better, what's something that someone can do today, like, what's the first thing that you would recommend?

Lindsay Williams  17:24  
it's gonna sound very self promotional, but honestly, the quiz is a really good starting point. Because it is gonna then give you that extra bit of further knowledge to help figure out okay, now what's next? I think if we, if we think to ourselves, okay, what do I do? Where do I go? It's like, you know, Alice in Wonderland, where the Cheshire Cat is there on the same price. And there's the two paths. If we're just thinking, What do I do next, there's way more than two paths that we can pick. And it just becomes this huge overwhelm that we then end up wanting to avoid. But yeah, the the quiz will give you a bit more guidance to narrow that down. So maybe, then you do just have two paths to pick between. And also acknowledging that, you know, let's say there are two paths, neither of them is wrong, necessarily. Because once you've done it, you've done it and, you know, whatever that you've learned along that way, it's still going to be relevant still going to be useful, even if you think oh, yeah, but I could have learned more. If I had done that. There's no point thinking like that, because now you can use that rather than to reflect and regret negatively on the past, you can use that to then change the future. And to think, Okay, I wish I had used that app instead of that app. Okay, so going forward, stop using the one that didn't work, and use the one that you want to try instead, you know, and make that change now for the future, rather than dwelling on what you didn't do or did do wrong in your, in your eyes in the past.

Hedvig Sandbu  18:54  
So what I'm hearing is kind of being a bit future focused for one thing, and also taking the quiz to build your own learning awareness a little bit more. 

Lindsay Williams  19:09  
Yeah, yeah. 

Hedvig Sandbu  19:11  
Yeah. I like that. Oh, I probably could have expected because I agree that I think the quiz does help to, or even, you know, other personality tests, I guess, as well. But obviously, this one is specific for language learning. And, you know, that might help in terms of, yeah, should you do more reading? Or should you go out there and go to meetups or conversational practice and study? 

Lindsay Williams  19:35  
 Exactly, exactly. Yeah. 

Hedvig Sandbu  19:39  
So can we move on to talking a little bit about motivation, which is obviously a huge topic in I think, in learning in general, but especially when you're talking about languages. You know, many people have language related learning goals that don't necessarily have a day deadline, or, you know, well, you might have an exam. But if you even if you do, or especially if you don't, then motivation can be a huge, you know, blocker is something I have to work with constantly as well. Because, yeah, when I'm just sitting about and saying, oh, yeah, I should learn some Cantonese, I'm like, but I could, but 

Lindsay Williams  20:25  
I've got tomorrow, it's fine. 

Hedvig Sandbu  20:27  
There's also tomorrow. Exactly. So what do you what are your kind of recommendations or things that people to consider?

Lindsay Williams  20:40  
milestones and smaller goals and smaller wins along the path to that bigger goal. So that bigger deadline-less goal of being fluent in Cantonese?

Hedvig Sandbu  20:54  
Yeah. 

Lindsay Williams  20:54  
Is is great, as long as you're going to get there, and how are you going to get there in terms of motivation, and in terms of actually doing the things to help get you there, that having those more kind of reachable, shorter term goals, and milestones to be hitting is crucial, because it's giving you something to consistently be aiming for. So in terms of motivation, you've always got a reason to show up, you've always got a reason to do it today instead of tomorrow. Because you know that there's something closer in a much more kind of tangible timeframe that you can be aiming for and reaching for. And so yeah, I feel like that is just a really valuable thing that we can think of to ourselves. And they, I kind of say them differently. Like, I feel like goals are maybe more kind of quantifiable. And milestones perhaps are a little bit broader and bigger. They're like, the slightly bigger ones. The goals are a bit more like, oh, yeah, that's really easy to check, do I didn't do three chapters in the textbook, great. Boom, tick, do it, do it by you know, the end of the month, tick, I can, I can know that I've done it. Whereas a milestone might be something like, speak on 12 occasions with 12 different people. You know, so it's something that you're, you've it's, it's like a goal in the sense that it's something you're aiming for. But it's broader, and it's more like wider, you know, wider, wider timeframe on that happening on that being achieved.

Hedvig Sandbu  22:39  
Brilliant. I love that, because I think it's, it's probably something we talk about more than milestones is goals, right? We talk about goals a lot. And we say, oh, yeah, if you want to achieve something, you set yourself a goal. You break down that goal, maybe, right? Yeah, you make it smart, right? Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and time bound or something like that. Right? We talked about that a lot. But actually milestones. I like the way you've put that. So can you talk a little bit more about what that you know, what? What is what is the benefit of a milestone, that a goal doesn't give you.

Lindsay Williams  23:22  
A milestone feels like an achievement, again, to give to give to give another exercise comparison, right? Let's say that you say to yourself, I want to run a marathon. And that's big, because you've never ran a kilometre before, right? I want to tell my friend, okay, great. It's the equivalent of I want to be fluent in the language. So you maybe set yourself a goal of this week, I'm gonna go running three times, for 10 minutes, if I walk, I walk. But I'm going to be out there with the intention of running three times with 10 minutes Goal, goal, goal, smaller goal, you can tick off, you've done it tick off, you've done it tick off, you've done it. A milestone then would be something like run a 5k race, like not just going but like an event, run an event, five kilometres, and then 10 kilometres and then half marathon, right. So they would be like, the milestones along the way to that bigger goal of running the marathon. So it feels like a bigger sense of achievement. It's not just, you know, a goal to me is like the smaller goals. It's like the daily checklist, whereas the milestones are like, Wow, I did the thing. I'm going in the right direction. This is so cool. You know, so the speaking with 12 people, for example. Maybe you know, your end goal might be to be fluent, but you're not going to get there if you don't practice and speak and not just with the same tutor every week or your spouse or whatever it might be, whoever it might be, I should say, you know, but with different people to get that experience of different accents and different speeds. He's etc. And so then when you've achieved that, oh, yeah, amazing, it feels good. It could be to go on holiday and order food completely in the language that you're learning. You know, assuming that we're going on holiday to a place that speaks the language, you'll probably have more fun doing it that way, then going somewhere that doesn't speak the language and trying to order. But, you know, then you can achieve this and feel, wow, yeah, I did the thing. And that's what I feel is the difference with the kind of smaller checklist goals versus a milestone on the way to the bigger goal.

Hedvig Sandbu  25:39  
So in a way, then the goal is, or the the little goals are more like practice, for the milestones, and the milestones are to make you feel good. And to keep you going.

Lindsay Williams  25:52  
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And the milestones are that bigger achievement in itself, something you can feel proud of in itself, and you can feel proud of, you know, doing the smaller goals as well, absolutely. But you probably don't know, if you if you've just got, for example, a small a small goal of every day do Duolingo. And you do it tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. We talked about motivation, right? Eventually, that's gonna go, it's gonna fade because you know that you can do it, there's no challenge anymore. So if you then set a milestone to, let's keep it in that theme, let's say that your milestone would be to attend a Duolingo event and only use the language that you've been learning, for example, right? There you go. It's something bigger, it's something that you're joining go tick tick ticks are working towards. But in itself, it's something different. It's something that you aspire to, and then something that you achieve, and then feel proud of when you look back.

Hedvig Sandbu  26:54  
I feel like there's maybe even another element to the sorry, to the milestone type of events in that it's probably a little bit more challenging than a daily goal, right? Or weekly goals.

Lindsay Williams  27:10  
Exactly. Exactly. And, you know, if we, if we're talking motivation, that challenge, there's that sweet spot, right of like, kind of Goldilocks, yeah, it's not too easy, because that's what the small goals can often become, they can become too easy. It's not too challenging, because that's what the big goal feels like it's over here. And it's far away and to be fluent -- miles away, right? It's just right. It's Goldilocks. So those milestones, the more that you're doing those smaller daily goals, you know, that gradually, you can increase and make them less too easy them in their own right. But the you know, the more that you're getting closer towards those milestones, and it's building up and building up and building up until you hit the end goal. So yeah, they're more challenging, with reason with intention. That's the element of it that makes you feel proud. And that feeling of pride. X then is as motivation to be continuing on to then reach the next milestone.

Hedvig Sandbu  28:11  
Yeah, of course. And I mean, we also know that like, if you look at and I will actually, I want to ask you about, sorry, I'm getting distracted. Now, I want to ask you about your studies, because I know you're studying Applied Linguistics. 

Lindsay Williams  28:26  
Yeah. 

Hedvig Sandbu  28:27  
And but yeah, I just came to think about, you know, when you're learning, or actually, in fact, when you're doing anything, and you feel a sense of achievement, and kind of pleasure, right, you're like you're lighting up your your pleasure centres in the brain that makes you more inclined to do this thing again, it makes you more likely to keep that habit going because your brain like just subconsciously knows that there's a reward in it.

Lindsay Williams  28:57  
Exactly. Exactly. Yes. Yes. So, you know, the aiming as well for those milestones, makes the smaller goals stuff that you're doing more appealing? Because there is that closer thing that you're that you're going for, too?

Hedvig Sandbu  29:12  
Yeah. So can I ask you about your what you're studying? Because I know you mentioned that you're, you know, you're studying Applied Linguistics, and what was the motivation to study that actually.

Lindsay Williams  29:29  
So I did University a bit differently. I did my BA undergrad degree, part time, distance learning, self taught kind of thing, right. And it was great. It allowed me to work and to study and to earn money and to travel all of these things at the same time. Brilliant. took me six years. But it meant I could do lots of other things. So it was really good and it was really enjoyable. And I I think you know, when I finished, it felt like there was this gap because it had just become such a big part of my life like six years is such a long time, right? And so I thought for a long time, well, what do I want to do? And I did that with the Open University who 10 out of 10 people still email me now like, how do you recommend the universe? I'm just like, Yes, do it. It's amazing. You know, they've been doing distance learning, many years before pandemics came along. Yeah, they know what they're doing. But yeah, it was it was really good. And they didn't do like a master's in anything. That was quite what I was after they had one in translation. I think they had one in like English, Language and Linguistics, maybe. But it wasn't quite what I wanted. So I left it and thought, that's cool. I'm happy. I've done my studies. I know, I know, more than I did. This is good. And then I went travelling to Latin America and Southeast Asia, making documentary series called language stories. And I really, you know, I knew that this time travelling, I didn't want to just go take a picture, move on to the next place. Go the picture next place, you know. And so I thought, well, there's a lot in Latin America, it was initially just going to be Latin America for the whole time. There's a lot there beyond just Spanish and Portuguese, right? It gets this big rush of like, for everyone's speak Spanish. And a lot of people do speak Spanish, and Portuguese, but there's so much more there to kind of explore. And I thought it would be a shame to miss out on that opportunity. So I wanted to make this documentary series to kind of have the chance to meet people and talk about what they were doing with their language in various ways. So, you know, I interviewed for example, like a Mayan rapper, in a super in a in a in a mall. We spoke to app developers in Paraguay why? And we went to a deaf school in Vietnam, and all of these really, really cool things that are like, what is this? How can I kind of do more of this and discover more about this, and I think I was in Vietnam, when I was beginning to discover that the word I was looking for was applied linguistics, which was, you know, I didn't really know like, I knew that like linguistics, the science of language, linguistics, what does that mean? And it's basically applying linguistic principles to practical real life situations, right? So a lot of it is how to learn a language. And then how do you apply that either in a classroom or, you know, in a self study setting, etc, etc. So I was like, Oh, this is the thing, this is the thing I've been looking for and waiting for. So So and then I, it took me a while. I went to an open day, this was University of Birmingham now. So a more kind of traditional university, but they still had a distance learning option, which was what I wanted to do the way that I wanted to do it. And I went to an open day, and the guy knew nothing about the distance version was like, oh, people don't come to the to the campus to learn about the distance version. Oh, I don't have any information. And I felt really downhearted. This was like, November time 2019. And I felt really kind of like, oh, okay, well, screw you.  You clearly don't know anything about about this, this, then I guess I'm not the person that you're you're looking for and that you're not right for me, whatever. Fine. And then obviously, pandemic happened. And I thought, maybe I should look into it again. It's like six months later. And so I applied and started sort of summer of 2020. I'm now in the final dissertation, six months stage. And it's been it's been really interesting to learn more about quite a broad sort of spectrum of linguistics, but also those kinds of core topics that were interesting to me. So like second language acquisition, language and new media. Psycho linguistics, which sounds like a terrifying subject, but it's really interesting. And yeah, so my dissertation now is about the role of social media in like accessibility of lesser studied languages with a kind of case study focus on granny. So yeah, it's

Hedvig Sandbu  34:45  
Amazing. Yeah. And so important as well, because I do I know that it is, it can be really, really difficult to find resources for - you know, minority languages and Um, yeah, I mean, languages that aren't, you know, Spanish and French and Chinese with millions, if not billions of speakers.

Lindsay Williams  35:08  
Yep. Yeah, that's exactly it. And kind of a bit of firsthand experience of, you know, wanting to start learning Guarani knowing that I was going to be going to Paraguay, thinking, Oh, that's cool. I can I can learn a bit of this language it gives me, you know, something to do. And now I've got this, I've got this goal of going there this deadline, you know, and actually then realising, oh, there's not much out there. I can't just go down to the local bookshop. And pick something off the shelf, like you say, like a good for French or Spanish. And so then, yeah, sort of through that first hand experience discovering how so the role that social media played in access to the language as a learner was interesting. And so yeah, that's, that's where I'm at. And that's what the final bit is all about.

Hedvig Sandbu  36:01  
Fascinating. I would love to if, if possible, could you send me your like, dissertation?

Lindsay Williams  36:09  
Yeah, remind me in like six months, my brain is fried. And it's all finished? Yeah.

Hedvig Sandbu  36:16  
Yeah. I love that. I studied psychology and linguistics for my bachelor's degree. So yeah, I did. I didn't do the so much of the Applied Linguistics, but it you know, what you're saying takes me back.

Lindsay Williams  36:32  
Nice. 

Hedvig Sandbu  36:33  
Can I ask you? Okay, I have one wrap up question, which I asked everybody. But before I do that, you mentioned one of the things that you help people with is kind of, like helping them find quick ways to learn a language when they're going to travel somebody somewhere. And then, you know, how do they how do they learn, you know, a few phrases or whatever they need to learn to be able to use the language in a in a new place, or in a new language, essentially.

Lindsay Williams  37:07  
Hmm, I have a checklist, vocab checklist that might be useful to share the link with you for this. Because yeah, like, you know, as you've probably guessed, from hearing me talk, I quite enjoy travel. But not always, necessarily to places where I know the language. And so, you know, from years of, of experiencing, arriving in places and kind of then thinking, Hmm, what would be useful to know her firsthand, I, I put this together with, with with that in mind of, you know, a sort of mini practical phrase, but because also, sometimes it's just knowing odd little bits, like something was about 2011. When I went to mindmap, for the first time, and I there was no Internet, really, I knew there wasn't going to be there was internet cafes, like it was that long ago. But there was no internet in hotels. So I downloaded like a PDF to keep me busy in the evening. Well, two, one was Burmese days by George Orwell classic. And the other one was a Burmese by ear, I think it was called, I think you can still download it from the so US website. And I would read that and listen to the little mp3 files. And they started in a really interesting order. Like they didn't just teach like, Hello, how are you? Please? Thank you. My name is they started literally, like, it's hot, isn't it? It's cold, isn't it? It's It's spicy, isn't it? And then how to respond. Yes, it's spicy. No, it's not an ah, this is really cool. And the amount of times that I then got to use them, like sat on a bus or a train or stood waiting for something in a queue, and just actually say to a local at home, it's hard, isn't it? And they'd say, Well, you know, and then they'd sort of be like, Oh, where are you from? And kind of, you'd have them this you know, kind of hodgepodge conversation and a bit of Pidgin, Burmese and English. And, and it made me realise like, Ah, it's not just about I would like two glasses of wine, please. Aren't those little nuggets that there's little expressions like that that can start small talk in quite a realistic way. You know, it's very rare. I don't know about you, but I very rarely go up to someone when I'm abroad and say, Hello, my name is Lindsay doesn't happen.

Hedvig Sandbu  39:51  
Yeah. That's not how you meet strangers. Yeah. I mean, I love that it's, you know, these little phrases to kind of break the ice. And I mean, I always think that, you know, even just knowing a few phrases of a language can be a great way to just show a bit of respect and kind of create connection with somebody else.

Lindsay Williams  40:21  
Exactly. Because once that first connection is there, like you just don't know, where it's gonna lead, you know, like, though, and there were times there. When I was invited into someone's home for like, the tour guide. was like, Oh, hi, like, lived next to the hotel was like, Oh, hi, you know, saw me walking past? Where are you going? I'm going to the market for dinner. And oh, no, no, it's flooded. Danner, come have some have some dinner, I've got some leftover. Okay. And you know, then being able to have sparked that initial, you know, not just from being on the tour, but from being able to just say those little phrases, it leads to better experiences, I think and encounters. It's never about being fluent. For me, it's about knowing enough to spark that connection. That's, that's really what it's about. Yeah.

Hedvig Sandbu  41:18  
It's a huge compliment, isn't it? Yeah. A compliment to that, to that language and culture, I think.

Lindsay Williams  41:24  
Definitely, yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Hedvig Sandbu  41:27  
I love that. Um, so my question I like to ask all my guests. And I'll give you a little moment to think about this, because I don't think I've shared it with you in advance. But what's something that you have learned, it can be in your professional life or in your personal life, or just come across somewhere that you wish was common knowledge?

Lindsay Williams  41:59  
That language learning increases your tolerance. Hmm. 

Hedvig Sandbu  42:07  
tolerance for what?

Lindsay Williams  42:10  
Tolerance for otherness? Hmm. A lot of problems in this world are caused by fear, fear of the unknown, essentially. And I like to think that, you know, without languages, I would have been quite a tolerant person. But, um, but I do feel that, you know, learning languages has increased that and has helped me to be a more open minded and understanding person in regards to things that are different than what I know. Yeah, and language learning is such, that's one of the biggest gifts for me of language learning is that increased tolerance and understanding that it gives you of otherness.

Hedvig Sandbu  42:57  
Hmm. Yeah, absolutely. I think when you talk to somebody who speaks a different language, and comes from a different culture, from yours, you do get a lot of these kind of, you know, I guess culture shock as well can be a great way of increasing tolerance, right? Because you, you get you're surprised by somebody's behaviour, or by their, you know, they might be kind of, like, somebody might be racist and extremely generous at the same time, and you're like, really confused. But you kind of get to appreciate that people are all different and diversity is is really beautiful.

Lindsay Williams  43:43  
Yeah, absolutely.

Hedvig Sandbu  43:44  
I love that, that you said that, actually. Yeah, I agree.

Lindsay Williams  43:48  
Yeah, thanks.

Hedvig Sandbu  43:49  
Okay. So, um, for any listeners who are interested in, of course, in the quiz, and in anything, all of the work that you do helping people to learn better how to learn languages, where can they find you?

Lindsay Williams  44:06  
The easiest place is Lindsey does languages.com That's LINDSAY does languages.com

Hedvig Sandbu  44:14  
Brilliant. And actually, I think if you just start putting into Google Lindsey does, it comes up

Lindsay Williams  44:24  
on YouTube, I think Lindsey does nails I think it was. I was like, Oh, well, that's not me. But yeah.

Hedvig Sandbu  44:36  
I hope people will be able to know the difference, though.

Lindsay Williams  44:38  
I hope so. I hope so.

Hedvig Sandbu  44:42  
Wooh! There might be enough stuff within this episode already, that maybe you don't really need me to guide you at the end to reflect on anything that's been going on. But I'd like to leave you with one question. I'll split it into two questions, actually. Okay, so my first question is what do you see as the benefits to learning another language for you? So, to be more specific with the question, what skills or abilities outside of your linguistic skills that you build up? Have you been able to develop through your language learning? And I'd really love to hear your answers. So if you'd like you can send those to me by emailing hello@abundate.org with the subject line 'benefits'. And if you haven't already, you should definitely check out Lindsay Does Languages and all of her amazing content for language learners. And I will include all of those links also in the show notes.

You've been listening to the Abundate podcast with me Hedvig Sandbu, a language coach and founder of Abundate, where I offer language coaching services and a self paced language learning toolkit programme for ambitious people who want to improve their language skills without studying for hours every day. Podcast graphics were designed by saying flow designs and the theme music was created by Paddington Bear. The rest was done by me Hedvig Sandbu. Thanks for listening, and until next time,

 

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Lindsay Williams

Linguist & Language Consultant

It started with croissants and Shakira. It led to me introducing her to you right here, right now.

Lindsay has been learning languages since she was 8 and has gone from "Bonjour" to studying 14+ languages and an MA in Applied Linguistics.

Featured in The Guardian, Fluent in 3 Months, and italki, she's just a little bit obsessed with languages and how to learn them.

Since 2012, she's helped hundreds of solo learners like you go from meh to sunglasses-on, wind-in-your-hair confidence through her products, courses and programs.