Steve Kaufmann, of LingQ, invited Tetsu Yung and I on his podcast to discuss how we change psychologically when we speak in different languages and the politics of learning certain languages.

For years, I’ve felt like a linguistic chameleon whose character changes depending on the language I am speaking. It was a pleasure to speak to other polyglots to see how they also change psychologically when they speak in other languages.

I have lots to say on why language learning should overcome politics and history. My grandmother read Goethe to my mom and aunt after WWII in the former USSR, when the Germans for obvious reasons were vilified. Although I understand the political reasons why people hate their former colonizing or imperial power, but it’s not a reason to stop learning and speaking the language of the “enemy”.  Language is about communication, not politics.

At the end of the podcast, we speak a bit in French, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Russian. We did the whole interview in English so that more people can understand it.




  1. Hi, I would love to hear this podcast but unfortunately it is not online anymore. Is there any chance that I could get here it?

    Thank you so much


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