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 has a language learning blog with all kinds of fun and exciting games and resources for language learners at;
I first discovered Lindsay on her Facebook page, where she has wonderful tricks and tips for language learners, along with movie and music recommendations.
Learning French: Hello 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!
[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?
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!
You can find Lindsay’s Blog at;
And on Facebook at:
My free monthly planner link:
And Lindsay’s recommended podcast here:
Lindsay recommended 10 essential French films.
Lindsay also recommended the following newspaper site: