Interview: With – Lindsay does Languages

Polyglot Interview

This is an e-mail interview with Lindsay Williams from “Lindsay does languages”.

Lindsay works as Language Tutor and Blogger. She is based in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Lindsay Does Languages

Lindsay has a language learning blog with all kinds of fun and exciting games and resources for language learners at;

http://www.lindsaydoeslanguages.com/

I first discovered Lindsay on her Facebook page, where she has wonderful tricks and tips for language learners, along with movie and music recommendations.

https://www.facebook.com/lindsaydoeslanguages/

Interview

Learning French: Hello Lindsay.

Lindsay

Lindsay: Hi Todd

LF: Just for the record how many languages do you know at this time? Including languages that you have just started learning?

Lindsay: I’m a native English speaker, then in order how much I’ve studied/how well I know them – French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Dutch, Esperanto, and Korean.

LF: (Wow!) What language/s are you working on at this time?

Lindsay: Indonesian at the moment!

LF: What first attracted you to learning other languages?

Lindsay: Croissants and Shakira! Haha.
I went to French club in primary school and kept going because they gave us croissants and orange juice at the end of term.

And Shakira is the reasons I wanted to learn Spanish – to translate lyrics on her Laundry Service album!

Shakira

[Note: Shakira is also a bit of a polyglot. She was born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, in Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia. She grew up speaking Spanish and learned Portuguese while touring in Brazil as a teenager. Shakira also speaks English, Italian, and Arabic.]

LF: Ha ha! I love Shakira!
I’m learning French at this time and would like to learn Italian next? What languages would you like to learn?

Lindsay: Ooo, so many! I’ve been drawn to Burmese for a few years now but haven’t got there yet. I’d also like to look a little closer at Russian and Arabic but I think there are others I’ll end up studying before that.

LF: I make a bucket list from time to time of all the languages I’d like to learn. (I’d like to learn Greek and Spanish, Dutch, Swedish and German at some point and many more.) Do you have a bucket list of languages? What attracts you to a language and or culture?

Lindsay: I certainly do! Normally it’s travel-related. If I’ve been to a place and fallen in love with it then I’ll be drawn to the language as a way to learn more and go beneath the surface. However, sometimes, it can be pure curiosity.

LF: I live in Sydney, Australia, where there are local newspapers printed in Italian, and a few other languages. We used to get the French newspaper Le Monde at newsstands, but only rarely now. Do you read newspapers in your target language/s?

Lindsay: I do online sometimes yes. I really like the website http://newspapermap.com/ to find newspapers in the language I want.

 LF: Thanks for that! (Spends the next few hours at newspapermap.com). Are there any podcasts that you can recommend in French?

Lindsay: Oh yes! I wrote a huge blog post called The Ultimate Guide to Podcasts for Language Learning recently and there’s plenty in French there to get into. (Here’s the link: http://www.lindsaydoeslanguages.com/language-learning-podcasts/)

LF: What is your daily routine when learning a new language? Do you use cue-cards? Or do you have other methods that you have created yourself?

Lindsay: I normally have an hour for language learning each weekday morning (Mon-Fri). I plan my time out using my free monthly planner link:  https://ldlpages.leadpages.co/languageplanner/  ) and that helps me to make the most of my learning time. What I do exactly varies, but it always includes Memorisation and it incorporates a mix of activities such as italki lessons, listening activities, course books, setting myself my own writing and speaking tasks on social media.

LF: When do you, yourself believe that you have reached the level of proficiency with a new language? Is it when you can read a book or hold a conversation? Or is it when you can watch a movie in your target language?

Lindsay: I think it’s when you feel comfortable. If you can hold a conversation, but you’re concentrating so hard to listen to what’s being said, that your answers are a little monosyllabic, then (although that’s a great place to be) there’s still room for improvement. However, as soon as you feel comfortable using a language, that’s where you’re likely to also feel comfortable calling yourself proficient.

LF: What do you do to keep languages alive once you’ve moved on to a new language?

Lindsay: To be honest, not much! Other than my stronger languages of French and Spanish, all the others need a little time to reactivate because I don’t have time to study/use/practise 11 languages each day. But that’s a choice I’ve made. I learn languages because I enjoy learning a little about people, cultures, and places different to where I’m from. People are always so pleased if you can even just say a few words in their language that I’m not worried about reaching crazy native-like fluency in all the languages I’ve studied.

That said, my main language goal for this year is to review the languages I’ve learned so far more or less one at a time because I don’t want them to fade completely.

LF: Do you have any polyglot heroes that have inspired you?

Lindsay: Yes – everyone around me when I’m at a polyglot event. Hearing people’s individual language stories is always crazy inspiring!

LF: Personally I never thought it would be possible for me to learn a new language. I always dreamed that I would. But I found language learning in School really boring. It was only when I went to France a few years ago and then found all the Polyglots, like yourself, giving advice on Facebook on YouTube that I decided to give it a try.
Were you always gifted with languages or was it just a strong desire to learn other languages that turned you into a language learner?

Lindsay: It was definitely a strong desire to learn other languages! By learning French in primary school, I could ask people their names at the park or order a baguette in the morning when I went camping in France.
With Spanish, I had the music that I loved from the start to keep me going. From there, it was a Spanish teacher who said how easy it would be for me to learn Italian or Portuguese with my knowledge of Spanish and I suddenly realised this whole world of multiple languages had opened up to me, which was pretty exciting!

LF: I am looking forward to the day when I can watch movies in French and understand them. I have a way to go. What is your big goal with a new language?

Lindsay: It varies from language to language. With Indonesian at the moment, it’s to get to a level where I can have casual conversations with street food vendors, shop keepers etc. without too much worry.

LF: I see on your blog you just posted your top ten favorite French films. I’m also a big fan of the 1960 movie “Breathless”. Do you have any tips or tricks to watching movies in other languages?

http://www.lindsaydoeslanguages.com/10-essential-french-films/

Lindsay: Ooo yes! Films are great because they’re so versatile. Once you find a film you love, you can start by watching it with subtitles in English or your native language, then change the subtitles to the language you’re learning, then watch without subtitles.

You can also take small segments and focus on pronunciation and vocabulary if you want to take things further and make it more of an active task.

LF: I’m also a big fan of Tintin and Asterix. Do you read comics, graphic novels and or Manga in your target languages?

Lindsay: Sometimes I do, yes! Tintin is one of my favourites!

LF: Thank you so much, Lindsay!

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You can find Lindsay’s Blog at;

http://www.lindsaydoeslanguages.com/

And on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/lindsaydoeslanguages/

My free monthly planner link:
https://ldlpages.leadpages.co/languageplanner/

And Lindsay’s recommended podcast here:
http://www.lindsaydoeslanguages.com/language-learning-podcasts/

Lindsay recommended 10 essential French films.
http://www.lindsaydoeslanguages.com/10-essential-french-films/

Lindsay also recommended the following newspaper site:
http://newspapermap.com/

 

 

Book Review: Paris Reborn

(Above) 1852 cartoon showing the inside of the new George Haussmann style apartment building.
Book Review:

“Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City”

Author: Stephane Kirkland

Review by A.T. LeMay

Modern Paris is not as old as one might think. Although Paris is one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to the time of Julius Caesar, the city as we now know it was recreated and modernized in the middle of the 19th century.

Between 1848 and 1870 Paris was rebuilt in one of the largest building project ever undertaken before the age of the bulldozer, and modern building techniques. This was when Paris was transformed from a city of dark crowded streets to the “City of Light”.

The 19th century were turbulent times in France. Starting in 1789 with the French revolution France went from being a country ruled by a king, to a republic, to an Empire created by Napoléon, back to a kingdom back to an Empire for one hundred days as Napoléon escaped his captors and led an army to Waterloo. In 1848 France was back to being a Republic once more.

This political turmoil took quite a toll on the city as Paris had been rocked by riots and mass executions and war. The Notre Dame Cathedral had been badly damaged in 1789 when crowds of Parisians attacked the building as a symbol of the church which had protected the corrupt rule of the king.

Napoleon III

In 1848 Napoléon’s nephew was elected president of France. Louis Napoléon (who later became known as Napoléon III) was elected the first president of the new republic. He won the election more because of his uncle’s name than any political leadership experience he had.

Louis Napoléon at once decided to rebuild the city that had been so neglected and devastated by the events of the preceding 50 years Paris was also suffering from the effects of overcrowding and poor waste management (Paris had no effective sewers) and disease was rampant.

Paris was so bad that in 1682 King Louise XIV had moved his court from Paris to Château de Versaille. Napoléon III first order of business was to rebuild Paris. Transforming it into a clean modern city.

Baron George Haussmann

Georges-Eugène Haussmann was a successful no-nonsense bureaucrat with a reputation for getting things done. Haussmann was given the title “Prefect of the Seine” and the job to manage the rebuilding the great city.

Stephane Kirkland gives an account of Haussmann’s tearing down and rebuilding of Paris. Haussmann as Prefect of the Seine, dealt with accountants and architects, artists and hosts of bureaucrats. Haussmann unlike many modern more pragmatic city planners cared deeply about the aesthetics of the new Paris, choosing carefully the architects and artist whose designs and work he used to refit the city.

At the same time, Haussmann could be completely ruthless using the government’s right of ‘emanate domain’ to take possession of and demolish family homes in order to carve out great boulevards through the middle of the city.

 

Haussmann style apartment building.

In his designs for Paris Haussmann incorporated new ideas, like parks to give the people a place to relax and enjoy themselves. He also championed new concepts like gas lighting.

Paris was the first city to be built with street lights that ran on natural gas. These street lamps when lit up gave Paris it’s new nick-named “The City of Light.” Although taken for granted now, street lights at night were a miracle of technology in the 19th century.

In the 1860s Paris streets were illuminated for the first time by 56,000 gas lamps.

But the political situation in France had not yet been settled. In 1852 Louis Napoléon declared himself Emperor Napoléon III. A war was fought with Prussia. The people of France demanded that their republic be restored once more. And through all this work on the City of Light continued.

“Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City” is an excellent book for anyone who has ever wondered about how the modern city of Paris came into being.

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“Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City” By Stephane Kirklanz



In the mid-nineteenth century, the Paris we know today was born, the vision of two extraordinary men: the endlessly ambitious Emperor Napoléon III and his unstoppable accomplice, Baron Haussmann. This is the vivid and engrossing account of the greatest transformation of a major city in modern history.

Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City