Episode 87

Learning and Speaking 20+ Languages in New York City

May 7th, 2018

1 hr 15 mins 46 secs

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About this Episode

This week, I talk to language and grammar fanatic Ellen Jovin. Ellen has spent the last (nearly) decade learning and forgetting over 20 languages, and reviewing hundreds of language learning materials.

In this interview, you will learn about

  • How to select the best materials for teaching yourself a language
  • How to grow as a person through using Facebook
  • Why it doesn't matter if a language is hard
  • Why Ellen stopped going to language classes
  • How even the best book can be one you don't enjoy, and what to do when that happens
  • How to use the city, even the building you live in, to learn more languages
  • Why Ellen has reviewed hundreds of materials, but won't tell me (or you!) which one is the best one
  • Why being true to yourself is a better way to learn languages

Quotes from Ellen Jovin

Ellen is a joy to talk to and to listen to. She has so much love for language and a great way with words, so this interview was packed full of great quotes.

"In 2009 I suddenly realised (..) that I can really learn a lot without ever going to class."

"I feel a kinship with Slavic languages. There's so much grammar and I love grammar so much that I'm sitting there with my eyes open in disbelief that they could possibly have this many forms."

"I feel as though it might really transform my life outlook if I took Latin."

"I feel like what I'm doing is true. It's honest. I'm not studying languages because I think I should study them. I'm studying them because it makes me feel happy."

"I don't really care about [forgetting languages I've studied]. I did it because I enjoyed the process. It opens up a world into another culture, it enables you to make new friends who are native speakers of other languages....and how is that not worthwhile?"

"In a teach yourself environment you really have to tap into the interesting capacity for play, for humour."

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