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There's a secret to learning many languages — and it has nothing to do with smarts

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Found in Translation

Learning a new language can be daunting, especially if you don't think you have the skill for it. But polygot Lýdia Machová says the secret is in the process of learning itself.

About Lýdia Machová

Lýdia Machová has learned nine languages without ever living abroad or in a multilingual environment. She maintains seven of them at a fluent level, and she usually learns a new one every two years. After meeting dozens of polyglots--people who speak a lot of languages--she now shares the principles of language learning with the world as a language mentor. Machová was the main organizer of the world's biggest polyglot event, the Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2017 and 2018. She holds a Ph.D. in translation studies and previously worked as a professional conference interpreter. She is based in Slovakia but travels often on her mission to help people learn languages in their own ideal way.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by Fiona Geiran and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Fiona Geiran
[Copyright 2024 NPR]