Reaching for Words

A language learning podcast

Table of Contents


Reaching for Words is a long form podcast series, focusing on practical strategies and tips for language learners.

In each episode, we interview various language experts – polyglots, technologists, linguists, teachers – as well as everyday language learners, to understand what’s working for them in their language learning right now.

Each episode looks at a particular area of language learning, delving deep into what does, and doesn’t work.


RFW6: Language learning and technology, with Jo Sayers

Rob chats with old friend Jo Sayers – a language learner, teacher, and technologist:

  • Traits of good language learners (from a teacher’s perspective)
  • Technology: does it help us or hinder us?
  • Pros and cons of language learning apps, and where they best fit in for a language learner

RFW5: Finding joy in language, with Katie Harris

Language learning should be a joy, but can sometimes be a drag. We’ve all experienced that feeling of impatience and boredom that learning a language can sometimes be.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Rob talks with Katie Harris (from about ways to inject the joy back into your language learning process.

RFW4: Independent Language Learning, with Lindsay Williams

We chat with Lindsay Williams (from about how to carve your own, independent path in your language learning:

  • How to create structure in your approach
  • How to plan your learning
  • Dealing with motivation and discipline
  • Most effective activities for solo learning

RFW3: Memory and Language Learning, with Olly Richards

Rob talks with polyglot Olly Richards about the role of memorization in language learning:

  • Do memory champions make the best language learners?
  • Is memorization really important?
  • Active vs passive memorization
  • Memorization tips and techniques for language learning

RFW2: Beginning a Language, with Shannon Kennedy

We chat with Shannon Kennedy, a polyglot who has learned 8 languages, about how to approach a new language:

  • 3 do’s and don’ts when starting a language
  • The role of grammar at the beginner stages of language learning
  • Motivation vs discipline – which is more important?
  • How to build your language learning routine

RFW1: Speaking fluently, with Luca Lampariello

In our first episode, we chat with Luca Lampariello, a renowned polyglot who has achieved high levels of fluency in 13 languages. We discuss:

  • Preparing to speak
  • Keys to fluency
  • Practising speaking
  • Speaking as a performance
  • The mindset of fluency