The Polyglot Project Podcast – Episode #09 – Vladimir Skultety

by David · 6 comments


This episode of the podcast is with an amazing polyglot going by the name of Vlad Skultety. Vlad speaks more more than 10 languages, however in our conversation we speak primarily about his acquisition of Mandarin. Most of the advice is relevant to learners of all languages and I’m certain you’ll learn lots!

Vlad also has a blog where you can find some great articles and podcasts aout language learning:

Vlad’s blog: Forever a student 

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If you haven’t read the polyglot project click here to download.

View the complete list of interviews by clicking here 

  • Robert

    Excellent interview with a lot of really practical and good advice. I met Vlad personally when I was in Taiwan. He is an outstanding language learner and as a native speaker of German I can attest to his incredibly high level of German which sometimes seems to put me to shame 😉

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. And yes, Vlad is great! 🙂

  • This is really a great interview. Finding a person and imitating the way he or she speaks seems to work really well. Another way to improve pronunciation might be not only to look at the tones of individual words but instead on how the tones of the words change within the sentence. This will help you to improve your overall natural flow of the language when speaking. (hope you can see the example in the image I sent)

  • Gaby

    I love your polyglot podcast series David, and Vladimir seems to be a really nice guy and very accomplished polyglot. That said, I am a bit frustrated listening to this interview as he puts Mandarin learning as a nearly impossible task for any Westerner who’s not able to move to a Mandarin speaking country/environment. Whereas in the other interviews people focus more in different learning techniques that they apply to different languages and encourage the listener to keep on his/her learning journey, this interview leaves anyone wanting to learn Mandarin kind of hopeless. I can’t talk from a personal experience on Mandarin, but I have been learning Thai for a few months (my first tonal language) just a couple of hours a day with different materials (including weekly lessons with a native speaker through Skype) all this from my own home in Italy, and am very pleased with the results so far. I guess I just don’t like when I feel people are making sound learning languages (or anything else for that matter) a near impossible task to achieve.

    Aside from this point I do love the podcast project and I hope to see more interviews here soon.


    • Romy

      Hi Gaby,

      I remember having a very similar feeling when hearing this interview a few months ago! I had heard interviews of Luca and Steve Kaufmann (two famous polyglots), who had discussed chinese learning, and was curious as to why neither of them had touched upon the difficulty level in such an extreme way. The key thing I think here is what goals and expectations the person has in the language. Looking at Vladmir’s english (as he is not a native speaker), I am literally shocked every single time I hear this interview, simply by how amazing his use of the language is. I believe this is the reason why he mentions mandarin as such a mountain, is simply because the level he is trying to achieve is most likely the same level he has achieved in English (near-native), which is a whole different world to speaking a language to an advanced level (which most people struggle to achieve anyway, since this is still a lofty goal!).

      So i wouldn’t be disheartened at all! His tips are incredibly useful for learning mandarin to any level you desire, but to also keep in mind that the length and difficulty of his journey probably directly correlates to the insanely high level he is trying (and now has) achieved!

  • Marc

    Vlad is such a cool guy. Nice interview, David

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