AFP 114 – Kalle Wångstedt: Discovering Language Learning

We often hear about people who discovered language learning at a very young age, but not every learner has that exact story. My guest today Kalle only discovered it as an adult, and has since become completely addicted.

Kalle Wångstedt

Kalle is a good friend of mine from Sweden, whom I had the great pleasure of doing a talk about Scandinavian languages in Slovakia lately. You can find this talk on YouTube later.

I've also spent a lot of time with Kalle at the gathering, both in Berlin and in Bratislava and I really like his approach to language learning and life in general.

What particularly interested in to Kalle's story is that he didn't really do language learning as a young adult and only discovered it later in life – much like my own story. I had the fortune of learning both English and German as a youngster, but it was not really by choice – more by fate.

So we compare notes on this experience, and how to learn languages as an adult and talk about how awesome it is to go to polyglot events.

Note: This interview was recorded BEFORE the gathering in Bratislava. Apologies for the delay.


In this episode:

  • How Kalle discovered language learning as an adult
  • How he attacks learning anguages
  • Why he attends conferences/gatherings and why it helps him stay motivated
  • And much more!

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  • dandiprat says:

    I really enjoyed hearing this discussion about life in Sweden and Denmark. Thanks.

  • Kelly Mahan Jaramillo says:

    So did I! This was fascinating, informative, and a lot of fun listening to both of you. Thanks so much.

  • Mark says:

    Great show, and your description of the conformist mindset of Scandinavian culture explains a lot about my American family’s internal culture. We come from Lutheran german/danish stock a few generations back! The description of friendship distance was really interesting. I think your use of the word “acquaintances” doesn’t map well to the way we use it here in America. An acquaintance is someone we know only slightly. Perhaps a coworker in another department, or a friend of a friend. We use the term “best friend” for a really close confidant, most people only have maybe 1 to 3 of them. And we use “good friend” or “close friend” for a slightly wider circle of people you know well and see socially frequently, of perhaps 5-20 people that you would certainly invite to your house for dinner but probably don’t tell your deepest personal secrets to. Everyone who is not either a best/good friend or a distant acquaintance is simply a “friend”, someone you know and like but aren’t very close to… yet. They might get invited to dinner at your house if you think they are “good friend” material and want to signal an interest in getting to know them better, or if you just think they are fascinating in some way. Some superficial people claim to have a dozen best friends or to be good friends with everyone, but it’s not really true. American friendship levels aren’t really all that different from the way you describe Scandinavia, except that I think perhaps Americans tend to rotate friends in or out of their inner/outer circles more than you do. Just like we have relatively high job mobility and home mobility, we also have high friend mobility. People who are very mobile must be very open to new friendships or they won’t have any friends!

    • Kris Broholm says:

      In hindsight I think you’re quite right, acquaintance is somewhat more distant than colleagues/friends for sure. Thanks for the great comment 🙂

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