AFP 111 – Michael Mischkot: How an engineer learns languages

Time for episode 111! In this episode I welcome Michael Mischkot to talk about his experience learning languages.

Michael Mischkot

I first met Michael at a Polyglot Gathering in Berlin, and he impressed me with a high level of Danish he had acquired after living a relatively short time in the country. In the episode we talk about his journey as a language learner and his a-ha moments along the way.

Michael's Language Website GLanguage

Michael's Book: Smile Talk Cheesecake

Listen to the episode

Timestamps

Thanks to Michael himself for helping me out with these!

[06:15] How Michael got into language learning

[13:30] Why he never went to Danish class when he moved to Copenhagen

[16:15] Why it's important to learn the local language

[18:15] Why and how Michael failed in Chinese class three times

[22:15] His approach on learning vocabulary

[28:35] The disadvantages of the current classroom-based language learning concept

[31:45] How Michael felt when he attended a polyglot conference for the first time

[36:35] The importance of being in the right emotional state when communicating in and learning a foreign language

[40:45] How Michael found out about the Polyglot community and why you should go to the conferences and gatherings too

[49:05] How Michael studies Slovak for the Polyglot gathering in Bratislava

[52:15] The importance of correct pronunciation

[54:30] The language learning process and experience

[56:15] The Polyglot lifestyle

[57:45] Language certificates and how to use them to your advantage

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  • dandiprat

    I like being able to have a certificate from a real institution saying I have a certain level (if available). It’s usually much harder for me to pass a test (at least to pass the listening section) than to function socially in real life, so if I can get one of these certificates it shows I’ve really made it.

    • Yeah, I think it’s a great goal for language learners as it A) provides motivation as we discussed in the episode, and it also gives you a sense of accomplishment or achievement that is someties lost when learning languages independently 🙂

  • Susanne

    Hej, I just got around to listening to this episode (big fan of the entire podcast, by the way) and I found it really interesting and motivating. So much so, that I decided to sign up for an Italian exam in December. I love the idea of using certifications as motivation. I’m also going to check out Michael’s videos studying Slovak as it sounds really interesting. I myself obviously procrastinated way too long but I’ll see what I can do in a couple of days now… excited for the gathering and hope to speak to you there. Thanks again for your awesome podcast!

    • Thank you Susanne, really appreciate your warm words and enthusiasm 🙂 Are you from Denmark?

      • Susanne

        No, I’m from Germany. I’ve lived in Sonderborg for a semester, though, and love the language. I irregularly practice with Duolingo but it’s been not enough to keep it fresh. I hope at some point I’ll have more time to get back to it.

        • Cool cool, only asked because Susanne is super common in Denmark 🙂