Interview with blogger and polyglot Lindsay Dow
The long wait is finally over! Lindsay Dow who runs the blog Lindsay Does Languages reveals her language learning hacks, favourite podcasts and why fluency is a myth!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Lindsay and I run Lindsay Does Languages, a business and blog dedicated to inspiring others to learn languages. My first experience with different languages was in primary school when I went to French Club because we got croissants at the end of term. True story. It gets better – I later started studying Spanish because I wanted to translate Shakira songs. Yup. It didn’t take much to get me hooked and languages soon became part of my everyday life and later my work.
Lindsay Does Languages started by tutoring people privately in their homes and businesses and then expanded online to teach students around the world through tuition on Skype and via online courses. That’s where I am now.
What languages do you speak?
I hate this question! I’m going to answer it more like ‘what languages have you studied?’, which will give a more accurate answer.
In order of when I started studying them: French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese, Korean. I’ve also dabbled teeny tiny bits with loads of other languages including Polish, Danish, and Thai, but this is mostly out of curiosity or travel.
Do you dream in a foreign language?
Occasionally languages will be part of my dreams but I don’t often dream fully in languages other than English.
What do you think of constructed languages? Would you be interested to learn one?
Initially, no. I couldn’t see the benefit and I’m not much of a sci-fi fan, where a number of constructed languages originate from. However, recently, I’ve become interested in Esperanto due to friends that speak the language and finding a couple of old books last summer very cheap! It’s on my list for the year.
When you learn a new language do you always follow the same strategy?
Ahh, interesting question. There are some things that stick but mostly, I try and improve my strategy with every new language I start. I think this is why I’ve started to study so many languages over the years – I’m determined to keep improving my strategy.
How has your strategy to learn new languages changed over the years?
Nowadays my study definitely includes more tech and I’m currently focusing on speaking sooner than I used to. I love books, you see, so it was easy for me to get stuck in a reading rut.
Do you have a favorite language?
Nope. Each language is special to me for different reasons. They all have different times of my life, music, memories etc attached to them. But if you’re looking for a one-word answer to the question – Spanish. Spanish was the language that showed me it could be done and that I could learn languages well. So I guess I have a lot to thank Spanish for.
Are there any language blogs or podcasts you follow closely?
There’s this girl, Lindsay Does Languages. She’s pretty cool. I think she also co-hosts a podcast called the Creative Language Learning Podcast. It would be wrong of me not to mention her. 😉
Seriously though, I love listening to the Actual Fluency Podcast as well and reading, among others, Eurolinguiste and Fluent Language.
What is your definition of fluency?
It’s a myth! I think fluency is often put on a pedestal as the ultimate, unreachable end goal with a language, but the truth is if you look at it that way, you’ll never be fluent. For me, fluency is being able to express yourself clearly without many hesitations or stopping completely. You don’t know a word? Mime it! Fluency is half confidence in my opinion.
What is your single best non-obvious tip for language learning?
Ooo, I think it’s all about using the things that are a part of our everyday life for language learning as much as possible. Right now, my current favourite recommendation is Snapchat. It’s great for accountability. Short and sweet language bursts throughout the day! I wrote about it in more detail here (there’s also a free guide you can download and keep forever!)
Check out Lindsay’s website and YouTube channel to learn more!