IWTYAL 200: A Fireside Chat With Three Language Podcasters

Welcome to episode 200 of the podcast!

For this landmark episode, I decided to invite two of my favourite language podcasters to come together for a cosy fireside chat:

Episode Summary:

This episode is a long, unstructured conversation, in which we discuss topics of personal importance to us. The include:

  • What we really think about language learning?
  • What we are trying to achieve with our websites?
  • Do we practise what we preach?

The sound quality isn’t always great, I’m afraid, due to a less-than-ideal Skype connection, but hopefully that won’t prevent you from enjoying the episode!

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show!

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Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast!

If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below!

If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there!

See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

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Olly's Top Resources For Learning:
  • Marcus

    Fantastic episode Olly, Kerstin and Kris. Thank you again for a glimpse into your motivations and successes. In episode 100, I similarly advocated for endless curiosity. My photo signifies a lot of what you talk about in persistence and the enjoyment that comes from working and learning each day.


    • Daisy Nguyen

      Open the window
      Let all stuff goes
      Low the radio, make a siro
      Ymmy drink, oh!!!!!!!!!

      Circle the plato
      Onlly one teacher has been shown
      No called, just shared his well-known
      Gimmy your goal, So!

      Ratio the label
      Add every word that are also involved
      Throw every bad arrow, ,
      See the meaning found, Wow:))))))))))))))))))

  • Nate Allen

    It was a great episode. I enjoyed and benefited from hearing all three of you chatting. My picture has a sample of what I do in my language learning. I push through workbooks, get tutored on iTalki, and spend time looking things up in a paper dictionary (for some reason it sticks with me better than when I use a digital one).


    -Nate A

    • Nice! I love that you work with a paper dictionary, Nate. Me too 🙂

  • Joe

    As a parent of young children and working a full-time job, I didn’t think that learning a language was a possibility. Then I discovered Olly’s podcast and soon after Actually Fluency and The Creative Language Learning Podcast. Languages and language learning are now an enjoyable part of my life. You guys are doing a great job, and I can’t thank you enough for all the motivation and tips that you’ve provided. Thanks, Olly, Kerstin, and Kris!


  • Dom Dizzle

    Enjoyed the interview and the different perspectives represented. I use Ankidroid daily to study Spanish. Staying consistent is always a battle. Heres a screen shot of today’s spaced repetition goal.


  • Angel M

    Nice episode. I’d be great if you guys did it more often. So here is my favorite place of the house. At the moment only German stuff, hopefully in the future it’ll have many more languages. Between work and university, it is hard sometimes to balance it all. After a while without any German studying, I’m back now, putting at least 15 minutes daily.


  • Anna Budinska

    I am currently in Tokyo, as I decided to learn Japanese as my sixth foreign language. Apart from Japanese being a challenge, I also liked how different this language is from my previous missions. In the picture, you can see me with some of the Japanese teachers who give free classes to public. Yesterday, they invited me to have a lunch with them. Not only had I the most delicious lunch, but I could practice food-related vocabulary! おいしい!! Viva l’immersion ! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7a5a43a5b3985e6d8985d5a9c1b1ff56b10d4b68b0062e07acfd280570b97615.jpg

  • Daisy Nguyen


    Open the window
    Let all stuff goes
    Low the radio, make a siro
    Ymmy drink, oh!!!!!!!!!

    Circle the plato
    Onlly one teacher has been shown
    No called, just shared his well-known
    Gimmy your goal, So!

    Ratio the label
    Add every word that are also involved
    Throw every bad arrow, ,
    See the meaning found, Wow:))))))))))))))))))

  • Nicole

    I’ve recently decided to try something new with my French to help increase my general comprehension: reading and listening as much as I can. I do semi-regular speaking sessions but I’ve decided to focus more on my input. Last year was the first time I’d read (and completed) abt Books in French and it gave me a huge boost of confidence and renewed excitement for the language. So, at the beginning of this year, I challenged myself to read three French books (VO) and now I’m on my fourth! I’m super proud of myself and have been considering taking the DELF B2 at the end of the year. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d528df6cac5b1930d159a9bab56779e03ef37bb543d47c30a29aa989d307d4b5.jpg

  • Arwa
  • Arwa

    Hi Olly thank you for this great podcast and the modified you give us https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bff21da6682cf428b32af93d82f110b3c99863b18cac770bcc98df0ffb0e1ae0.jpg

  • dandiprat

    OIlly, I’m not surprised that your progress has slowed down when learning harder languages. Throughout my 25 year language learning career I’ve for the most part only seriously studied these harder languages and I feel like my progress now is still slow, but no slower or faster than when I began. When I was in school I compared the progress that people studying other languages made to mine working on Japanese and Mandarin and I was frustrated. I’m halfway into my fourth year of learning Vietnamese and i feel like it’s even harder than the previous devious languages I worked in (Japanese, Mandarin, and Cantonese). Keep up the good work Olly! I really respect you for trying such hard languages.

  • Colleen Gase

    Great conversation Olly, Kerstin, and Kris! I enjoy all of your guys podcasts (Kerstin- so glad to hear it’s coming back!) and appreciate the practicality you all employ. I am a Spanish Language teacher (who also teaches Special Education- it’s a small school so many of us employ multiple roles), I’m trained to teach ESL and as a pedagogic linguist, and am currently learning Japanese as well as boosting/resurrecting my ASL. I also have played around a bit with French and Italian in the last year or so- the French primarily before I went to LangFest last year in Montreal. I also run my own blog, though like Kerstin I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus this last year (due in large part to Graduate Spanish studies).

    I appreciate the varying viewpoints of all your podcasts. I am like Kerstin in that I was a school success story- I am one of those rare people that actually learned Spanish while in High School. BUT like Olly I come from a country (good ol’ U.S. of A) where foreign languages are not valued as highly due to the commercial power of English and therefore I’m a rarity for sure. I was fortunate- my sophomore year I became friends with a boy who had immigrated from Southern Mexico who didn’t speak essentially any English. My desire to help him led to an opportunity to teach ESL to migrant workers in my community which led to a career better than I could have dreamed.

    I’ve been fascinated by languages from a young age and always jokingly blame it on a childhood crush on “Muzzy”- this big green monster mascot that was associated with a language learning program parents could buy their children. I think what you all noted about process is in the end the key- you have to enjoy the process, whatever that means to you, as well as the end results, if not more. There is no one size fits all in language learning, but there is support and tips if you are willing to ask and look into them. Thanks for making it easier to find these tips!


  • Luis

    Wow, I really enjoyed listening to this episode while walking back from work bordering Lake Michigan shore! I’m a regular listener to Kerstin’s, Kris’s, and Olly’s podcasts. So, this was like a triple dose of language learning wisdom and motivation for me. Thank you all for that! By the way, Olly, congrats on your #200 episode!

    There was one particular gem I got from this episode, and it has to do with the question of how a person ends up speaking a second language at the level Kerstin and Kris speak English today. That is not a trivial one, especially when one starts learning a second language as an adult. I am from Argentina and I grew up as a monolingual guy. I started learning my first, and last, second language (English) in my 30’s (33 to be more precise, I am 37 now). In general, I’m somewhere between B2 and C1, but still having so many areas to work on. So many gaps, and holes, and voids. In a few words, speaking English like Kerstin would be a dream for me! So, Olly, many thanks for treat this topic in such a sensible and respectful way (as you usually do with any topic in your podcast). All this discussion was of a great value for me, because, like many others, I’m struggling to reach C1-C2 proficiency in English, which is my goal (not to mention the native like fluency).

    Now, let me share with you my plan to go from scratch to B1 in German, hopefully, in less than a year, working at least 30 minutes per day (5-6 days a week). I think I can do it. What do you think? I already bought Kerstin’s courses on Udemy, as you can see from my mind map, but I would appreciate any other material related to German (A0-B1), or English (B2 to the sky), or general language learning strategies in general. Olly, did you say in some of your episodes that you are preparing a reading material (with audio) in three levels (A1, A2, and B1) called “Conversations”? I put that in my plan, so you better create that awesome thing! 😉

    Kris, thank you so much for the idea of rewarding the listeners to this great podcast with your valuable stuff. I have an anecdote to share with you. I hope you read this. I still remember the day I crossed a very dangerous neighborhood at night (that was in Tucumán, Argentina) while listening to your podcast (specifically, AFP 30 – Luca Lampariello). I think, I still remember that today, because I had never felt so frightened in my entire life (I was driving my car and I entered that area by mistake).

    Keep up the great work my friends!


    • Thanks for the comment, Luis! Based on your written English, I’d say you’re well clear of C1!

      Conversations is on the way, in 6 languages. I hope to release in September.

      • Luis

        Many thanks for your message and for your feedback about my written English, Olly! I appreciate it very much!

        I am glad to know that Conversations is coming soon!

  • Israel Lai

    Done a shelfie before, so here’s something for a change! This was the height of my polyglot life (apart from the Gathering), when I had multiple weekly language cafés, back in Sweden. With ‘normal’ people who are actually interested in certain foreign languages. You just don’t get that amount of exposure to so many languages over here now. Pretty sure I’ll be out of recluse as soon as possible though!
    Not gonna lie, I’ll feel guilty if I win that much stuff that others would find more useful. But I’m definitely down for the short stories and whatnot *v*

  • Louise

    Congrats on reaching 200 episodes Olly. I think I started listening to your podcast around episode 20. Time flies! I loved listening to this slightly less formal chat and hearing a mix of opinions – maybe even some slight contention. I also appreciated the slightly longer podcast.

    I thought about taking a photo of my bookshelf, but I thought this image best represented my language learning routine at the moment and my efforts to integrate my language learning into my life. I take a walk along this path near my house and listen to podcasts in my target languages or talk to myself in my target languages (aloud or in my head depending on if other people are around ?). Then just off this path is one of my favourite cafés where I like to go with a textbook to study and drink coffee and try to fill in the gaps in my knowledge that I discovered through my self chatter. Fresh air and some mild exercise do the trick I find!


  • Miri

    Hi Olly, Chris and Kerstin, really impressed with your English accent (Kerstin)!! I’m going to put a snippet of my current desktop, Currently I’m studying mandarin so a memrise browser, and then google translator, and a site for sentence examples I use to understand context better. than also a youtube podcast in french I’m listening to and my mandarin noted in OneNote. last one, my library account opened on pimsleur I’m listening to in the car… a bit of a mess to show but that’s what’s I’m doing today. I really enjoyed your conversation, My native language is Hebrew and I started to study about 6 years ago after a trip in the south of France not being able to speak with people… so I have Russian, French, Spanish and Italian all in an a level of maybe b1 or b2 – enough to get by in travel. I maintain them so that I will at least stay at that… I just got back from 2 weeks in Belize, was glued to Olli’s video’s from mexico and a bit of Belize. I loved it there, and to my surprise, everybody was very willing to speak Spanish with me when I asked in Spanish hablas espanol? I just had to speak English too because my family don’t speak Spanish and wanted to understand the conversation https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b76ceaa55d8cccccccef032367ae5d3fbc874efd68703d695cd3a30aec9f419d.png 🙂 —– anyway, thanks for all your work all 3 of you – I will check Kerstin’s podcasts as well……..

  • Kevin Richardson

    Really enjoyed listening to this episode. Found the discussion about practicing what you preach really reassuring to me – especially, talking about “enjoying the process”. You’re so right about the mindset when you learn a first foreign language. I guess when I started learning Japanese my questions were “How long is this going to take?” “What’s the best way?” … they seem to be very sensible questions to be asking when you’re not yet in deep loving relationship with a language … You know, I think when I started learning Japanese it was like puppy love … and damn it … I wanted immediate boing-boing-sexy-time with that Language!!!!

    Later, after the hedonistic thrill of basic conversations, this analogy delves into the intermediate level of “Why am I cleaning your dirty pants?” … the mental knocks, scrapes, scratches, bumps and bruises … and yet we still love the language for our disagreements with it.

    And so it was that I find myself in a long lasting relationship with Japanese … and instead of asking myself when we get married (when will I be fluent?) or does Japanese love me? (am I going about this right?) … I’m in that comfortable place where I know I’m in love with the language and culture … and just keep plodding forward having interesting adventures … dirty socks and all that.

  • Olichka Ocheretovych

    Hello Olly and all passionate language learners around the globe!?
    Thanks for such an invigorating and extremely helpful conversation!
    Not only was it an authentic audio to listen to, but also a wonderful genuine talk about language-related matters. It was fantastic. Owing to such episodes, I understand I’m not alone in this lifelong endeavour to master the language I learn. What I like most about your podcasts is your sincerity, generosity, and of course exquisite British humour!
    Congrats on your podcast #200.
    And thanks a million for Your ENDLESS CURIOSITY AND LIMITLESS MOTIVATION that you so generously share with the listeners. ?

    P.S. I apologise for the mess in the pic. That’s just the way I typically study. All resources at hand)


  • Luke Truman

    Hey Olly https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e2075b069ee08f597061d3d3388131d925efc116d08d96d2d5caf9d0813d0d15.png,

    I just watched this and am not sure if I am too late or not for the give away. My favourite moment which was around 50mins was when you were saying “some people aren’t where they want to be with their language learning….yet”. I enjoyed this because it adds a really big human element to the process and it’s nice to know everyone has he same doubts and struggles I am facing and we just need to keep going and have faith.

  • Andy R

    Wow! That’s a lot of comments. Your giveaway was popular. I just wanted to say, based on the discussion in the episode, that growing up in the US, I often heard, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But now I reject that motto. Instead, I live by this one: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again another way.” It’s how I troubleshoot computer problems (which is my career), and it’s how I learn languages. Interesting episode!