357. Learning Languages with Olly Richards

In this episode I’m talking to Olly Richards the polyglot from England. Our conversation covers points about what accent you should learn to speak with, the importance of developing clear pronunciation and effective communication in English, using Periscope to listen to native English speakers and the physical side of learning a language. See below for a transcript to the introduction, more information and links to Olly’s work.

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Introduction Transcript

Olly Richards, the polyglot from England, is on the podcast again today. This is the second time I’ve spoken to him on this podcast. The first time was back in February I believe. [A bit about how to say “February”] That’s episode 332. If you haven’t heard that one, I recommend that you go into the archives, find it (or click here) and listen to it because it’ll give you some good context for this one and also it’s just really useful for English learning because it contains loads of good advice and lots of motivation.

Olly is a great guest for this podcast because he basically spends his time learning languages and helping other people to learn languages too. Olly has managed to learn lots of languages including French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic and Cantonese and he learned them all in adulthood, not as a child. That’s quite an achievement and he’s managed to do it using some pretty clever strategies, techniques and routines which we can all apply to our language learning too.

Now, I’ve arranged to speak to Olly over Skype in just a few minutes so I’m just gearing myself up for the conversation now. I’m getting my Skype settings correct. Last week I saw him briefly on Periscope talking about a recent work-related trip to LA and how the trip had affected his language learning routine and it sounded very interesting so I sent him a message saying “Hi Olly, I saw you on Periscope the other day – Do you fancy coming on the podcast soon for a catch up?” and he quickly replied by saying “I’d LOVE to come back on the podcast. I could do podcasts all day long, and especially yours since it’s so much fun.” So that’s that. It’s all been set up.

We haven’t done much preparation for this beyond just setting a time for the conversation. The idea is that we’re going to just catch up on his recent news, see where the conversation takes us and ultimately share more conclusions and tips about language learning.

Oh, there’s just one last thing. Do you remember in our last conversation that Olly asked me to make a commitment about my French learning? I promised that I would practice for 10 minutes a day. Also, I seem to remember a number of you made commitments about your learning in the comments section and I wonder if you’ve kept up with them. Well, honestly – I haven’t been the greatest student because I haven’t kept my promise. Yeah, I know, I know. To be fair, I did go out and buy some self study materials which I chose very carefully and I started with the best of intentions, but I only did a few pages and then got out of the habit of doing it. So, I feel a bit bad about that and I wonder if he’s going to bring it up. I think he probably will, but let’s see. Now, my French has definitely improved recently but the rate of improvement is just not good enough and I need to pull my socks up and turn over a new leaf and adding some daily practice into my routine would definitely help. Anyway, let’s see if he brings it up.

Now though, it’s time to talk to Olly Richards the polyglot from England. Here we go.

*Conversation Starts*

We talk about…

  • His trip to the USA
  • How accents change when people travel to different places (e.g. when Brits go to the USA their accents ‘accommodate’ to the local accents a bit, and vice versa)
  • The relationship between accents and our identity
  • Accent reduction vs learning clear pronunciation
  • The physical side of learning a language. Is it normal to experience any physical pain when practising your speaking
  • The importance of engaging in conversations in English to improve your effectiveness in communication – italki is a good way to do this

Click here to check out italki – www.teacherluke.co.uk/talk

Links

Now, I’m going to have my lunch. Cheers!

Luke

  • Mati Linares

    I just listened to this podcast and it’s one of the most useful, interesting one.
    I was focused on having a British accent (which I really love:)) that I completely forgot about pronunciation.
    Thank you a lot Luke!

  • Ivan

    The most interesting part was when you spoke about his arabic, and his decision to let it go.