Cara Leopold is the founder of Leo Listening, where she helps “intrepid travellers and adventurous expats improve their English listening skills so they can better understand and better connect with fast-talking native speakers through their love of films.” In the interview, we talk about how she learned French and how to learn languages through TV shows and movies.
Steve Kaufmann is a hyperpolyglot who has learned more than 20 languages (!!!) and the founder of LingQ, an online language learning platform that helps you acquire languages using content you love. He was my second guest on the Language Mastery Show way back in 2009, and returns 13 years later to offer new insights and encouragement for independent language learners.
Jim and May describe themselves as a “gringo/Mexican international couple” on a mission to connect English speakers to the Spanish-speaking world. Their excellent podcast, YouTube channel, blog, and Spanish immersion retreats in Mexico help learners bridge the gap between learning and actually living in Spanish. In the interview, they share what they have each learned in their own language learning journeys, their best tips for learning Spanish, and favorite resources for immersing yourself in Spanish right at home.
Andrew Methven is the creator of Slow Chinese 每周漫闻, a weekly newsletter that helps Mandarin Chinese learners immerse themselves in authentic, colloquial language via interesting stories and news events handpicked from Chinese media, social media, and TV. Instead of learning the stilted and stuffy language of Chinese textbooks, Andrew’s excellent newsletter trains you to understand the way people really speak and write the language today. In the interview, Andrew shares how he first fell in love with Chinese, differences between Mandarin between Mainland China and Taiwan, and his top tips for language learners.
From full-time Mandarin immersion at Peking University and Shanghai’s Fudan University to years of independent study online, Daniel Nalesnik has spent the last 13+ years on a mission to figure out the most fun and effective way to learn Mandarin Chinese. The result? The creation of Hack Chinese, a powerful spaced repetition tool designed from the ground up just for Mandarin learners, unlike generic SRS apps that struggle to properly handle Chinese characters, tones, etc. In our conversation, Daniel shares the lessons he’s learned, what he would do differently if he started from scratch, and how new language learners can get started.
The short answer? It depends. It depends on your goals. It depends on your level. And it depends on how much time and discipline you are willing to invest.