“I teach people how to learn languages.
In a fun and systematic way and, most importantly, with results!”
My name is Lýdia Machová and I've been learning foreign languages since I was 11 years old. I started with English and German at school, and in my adult life, I usually learn a new language every other year by myself.
At present, I'm fluent in 7 foreign languages (English, German, Spanish, Polish, French, Russian and Esperanto); I've forgotten one language over the time (the Slovak sign language) and I'm learning my 9th language (Swahili).
I've been helping people to learn foreign languages ever since high school – I used to help my classmates after school, I taught at primary schools as an assistant teacher, at language schools and companies and even at a university.
I always wanted to make sure that others achieve what I've been able to do every two years: to add a new language to my skillset and be able to use it in conversation, reading and writing effortlessly. I find it sad that so many people spend years attending language courses and still feel at a loss for words when standing face to face to a native speaker. I just didn't know how to help them...
... until I went to the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin in 2015 where I met hundreds of people like me. People who easily communicated in 5-6 languages which they learnt by themselves. And that's when it dawned on me: I can never teach anyone a language by using traditional methods that I know from school!
Polyglots approach learning languages very differently and that's why their results are so strikingly different.
I've created a new mission for my life: to help people learn languages the polyglot way. So that they are really able to speak after one or two years without the need to have a talent for languages or travel abroad.
Everybody can learn a language if they know how. It's now my mission to show them.
I'm a language mentor
I'm convinced that it's not possible to teach anyone a language. A good teacher can help you on this journey – but they cannot give the language to you on a silver platter. Being an autodidact is especially easy in the internet age when countless texts, recordings, and exercises are waiting for you just one click away. All you need to know is how to do it.
That's why I made up my own profession: I'm not a teacher, I'm a language mentor. I don't teach people languages, I teach them how they can learn languages by themselves. Metaphorically, I don't give them a fish but a fishing rod so they can catch the fish by themselves. And when you learn how to learn languages, it will be no problem for you to repeat the process and learn more of them.
Every aspiring language learner has to meet four basic conditions in their learning:
- they must ENJOY the learning process (otherwise, it's just torture)
- they must spend enough TIME with the language (attending a course twice a week is just not enough)
- they must use effective METHODS (otherwise, the results will be only temporary)
- they must create a SYSTEM in their learning (otherwise they won't persevere long enough)
School classes and language courses don't provide these options to their students. They're based on the work of a teacher – the whole education system works on that principle. Students don't learn by themselves at all because they expect to be taught by the teacher.
So I've created a state-of-the-art method of language education based on the following elements:
- IndependenceEverybody learns by themselves, without a teacher. Talent for languages is not necessary.
- Individual approachEverybody follows their own plan tailored exactly to their needs (speaking, vocabulary, comprehension – everybody chooses what they want to focus on).
- FlexibilityMy courses are all online: everybody learns whatever they want, whenever they want and however they want. It's perfect for busy people, parents or people living in small towns and villages.
- VersatilityMy methods will help you learn any language, even languages I don't speak.
- CommunityEven though we learn by ourselves, we still form online groups of 50 motivated students.
- AffordabilityThe Internet brings us countless possibilities to learn languages for little or no money if we know where to look.
- EffectivenessOur students observe visible progress in their language skills in just a couple of weeks.
I'm a polyglot
What languages do I speak?
C1 - C2
C1 - C2
How does a polyglot learn languages?
The cornerstones of my teaching are that learning must be fun, it's necessary to use effective methods in a systematic way and spend enough time with the language to move it to a fluent level. I found out that learning for 30 minutes or an hour a day is much more effective than attending a course twice a week. Perseverance is the key. I rarely learn for more than an hour a day myself.
For me, speaking in the language is crucial, that's why I always choose my learning methods in a way which enables me to communicate after about six months. I usually achieve fluency in a year – I'm able to read books on common topics, watch videos in the language and speak fluently to foreigners. I use the second year to make the language stick so that I can refresh it effortlessly even after a long break.
I've learned all these languages in Slovakia without ever living abroad, attending courses or paying for teachers. I usually spend two years learning one language and then I move on to another. I like experimenting with learning so I vary the methods I use for every language. That's how I found out what methods are really effective and I can easily advise others on what is worth investing their energy into and what is not.
I usually start learning a language with a teach-yourself type of book but in a very systematic way based on a huge amount of repetition. I always include some additional materials; I get them mostly online for free and they provide me with enough listening and reading material.
Want to hear me speaking my languages?
Video in multiple languages
This is a part of my webinar from January 2018 that was viewed live by over 1,500 people. I often start my talks by speaking in several languages. In this excerpt, I'm thinking about the reasons why people had registered for the webinar.
I'm a public speaker
Over the first two years of the Language Mentoring project, I've held talks at over 30 events in Slovakia and all over the world. I've organized a tour in Slovakia called How Polyglots Learn Languages which was attended by over 2,000 people.
If you're interested, I'll be more than happy to hold a motivational talk on the topic of effective language learning in your company or at your conference. Please contact me at email@example.com
I'm an interpreter
I've been working with languages professionally all my life. I studied translation and interpreting studies at the Comenius University in Bratislava and my Ph.D. thesis was about the didactics of interpreting. I taught consecutive and simultaneous interpreting at the Department of English and American Studies for four years.
I worked as an interpreter for six years and met a couple of really interesting people. See below 🙂
I'm an entrepreneur
In 2016, when I realized how I wanted to teach languages (without teaching!), I knew that no language school would let me do it my way. There was only one soution: creating my own business!
So I created a brand-new form of language education where everybody learns by themselves instead of expecting to have the language crammed into their heads by a teacher. I started working with small groups of friends and then with university students to check if my language learning methods worked also for others. The reactions were overwhelmingly positive so I opened my first courses for the public very soon after.
Today, Language Mentoring is a successful business with a 5-member team, many external coworkers, and over 2,000 satisfied customers. The company started in Slovakia but we expanded abroad in June 2018.
Despite never having any ambition to start my own company, doing business has quickly become my new hobby. I was also delighted when I received a special award for modern and innovative approach in a prestigious competition called Podnikateľka Slovenska 2017 (The Slovak Businesswoman 2017) that was handed to me by the then deputy prime minister of Slovakia.
I'm an organizer of the Polyglot Gathering
Not only do I know polyglots personally, I also love to organize events for them. In 2018, we organized the world's biggest polyglot and language enthusiast event in Bratislava. It was attended by as many as 540 people from over 55 countries.
And in 2017, we even created the Slovak record in the number of languages spoken under one roof (125!) 🙂
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