E16- interview with Kris Broholm


go further down for the transcript

Actual Fluency Main Page Picture

Some info about Kris on www.actualfluency.com :

The mission: 10 languages in 10 years

I’m currently proficient in English, Danish, German, and can understand and converse in limited fashion with Esperanto, Russian, and Hungarian. My current goal is to learn Hungarian as well as bring up my weaker languages so that I speak 6 languages decently by the Summer of 2017. Once I have those solid 6 I can start adding the rest up to 10.

To me, decent means being able to communicate impromptu, watching television, reading books and understanding most of what is going on. This is probably somewhere between B1 and B2 on the CEFR framework.

I have big plans for my languages, so stay tuned on the blog for more information!

So what’s Actual Fluency?

I wanted to share my feelings and emotions, because I knew that I could not be alone out there. My psychological state as well as being a pretty big introvert, AND suffering from focus problems, which meant that I couldn’t just sit down and study for 8 hours a time. This blog is my speak-pipe as well as my research platform but most importantly it is a way to tell the world that ANYONE CAN LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE which incidentally became my tag-line.

The blog also acts as an accountability source. I knew that if I had to battle through and climb the mountain that is another language, then I needed some kind of external accountability to stay on track and prevent me from giving up, as I had so many times before.

Thirdly I also wanted to present some of my findings on personal development. Learning a language takes a lot of will power, and without proper care of yourself it’s unbelievably hard to do.

Podcasts which Kris listened to:



The Tim Ferriss Show

Other Podcasts:


German podcast about language learning



Welcome back to my fluent podcast. This is Daniel Goodson. And in this episode I’m going to interview a language learner, a language enthusiast named Kris Broholm from Denmark. He has an own podcast in which he conducts different interviews with polyglots from all over the world. And I’m going to spare you with the very first seconds of the interview because I had some issues at the beginning but luckily I could overcome my nervousness after a few minutes in the interview because the problem was here that I had some technical issues.


Kind of Murphy’s Law. I hope you can enjoy this episode. And I have to warn you the interview is about 34 minutes. So it’s way longer than a normal episode of mine. Have fun.

So my name is Daniel Goodson and I am an English learner you know and I consider myself as an upper intermediate English learner as you could realize now.

I am not at all experienced in interviewing. And but I am very glad that you’re taking the time for me for my fluent podcast as a regular listener to your podcast Actual fluency I am very honoured having you here. And by the way this interview you are giving me this is going to give me the possibility as well to train my English and my listening comprehension. Thanks for that too.

Kris Broholm

Sure. Thanks for that introduction.

That’s really nice of you. And happy to support the you know the podcast and the language learning and looking forward to talking a little bit about learning as a nation. And what else do you have to throw at me.


Daniel Goodson

Because that is not at all self-evident. You know because I tried to reach out to other people and not always with success. It is pretty difficult if you are still learning the language to find people who want to be interviewed and

maybe you could introduce yourself a little bit and your amazing podcast as well.


Kris Broholm

Sure why not. So I’m. My name is Chris and I’m 28 years old.

I was born in Denmark but for the last year I’ve been living abroad mostly in Hungary with a few minor stays in other countries and I cited the actual fluency podcast about two and a half years ago to interview language centres and find out how you actually learn a language effectively and quickly.


And during that time I’ve had the opportunity to talk to so many amazing people and I’ve really enjoyed doing that and there isn’t really any secret language something I just want to get that in there because that’s kind of what I started with.


But you just have to put it the hard way it can and eventually it will pay off.


So. So this is this is where I am today.



Daniel Goodson

And Chris you’ve produced over 100 episodes so far and it’s quite an impressive number and I envy you a bit for that. To be honest and in your episodes you had almost the same number of guests and yeah they were all polyglots or at least they were language experts. That is pretty cool as well. I think for example there was Anthony Metivier (magneticmemorymethod) and Beny Louis and Olly Richards I mean



you’re you’re mentioning a whole a whole different a whole different league there. You know I really when I started I really wanted to show that you know we can get inspiration and motivation from the top of boomers but that’s that’s what they are you know they are top performers so we shouldn’t really beat ourselves up for not being fluent in three months so we’re not speaking with a perfect accent and we’re not making mistakes which sometimes especially when I started was really highlighted. You know it was how to how I learned French in three months or how I learned a thousand Russian verbs in a weekend or something like that. And I just realized that you know most people are not these upstart English learners so I focus more on what normal people or average people would be able to achieve and hopefully by that perspective push people who maybe felt like they weren’t capable of doing this language learning which many in which I totally believe that anyone could do.

Daniel Goodson

yeah and that’s a great topic.


And in fact, I am wondering if you have ever compared yourself to your guests in a negative sense.

What I want to say with that is I mean I see this by myself that I am rather timid or a shy person and oftentimes I compare myself to other English learners for example. And then the consequence is that I am holding me back a bit from pushing forward.

And now my question is I’m wondering if you ever compare yourself to them in a negative sense. Oh yeah for sure.

Kris Broholm


Well OK. So this negative sense of I wouldn’t say I don’t think I don’t think that happens necessarily but I do and especially in the beginning I did compare myself a lot with, the people who were producing the content which was some of the people that you mentioned before like Ben it was all teachers these people who are very accomplished and have produced a lot of great material for language. And actually, if you go back far enough on my blog you can find some of my Russian updates. And I said that I was going to learn Russian in three months.


So there you go you know that didn’t quite happen but I learned then that you know like I just said before that these people are top performers. So you can’t compare yourself to them necessarily you can just take the inspiration take the motivation and the fact that everyone can do it.


And you just got to put in a little effort.


But definitely be very careful with comparisons because it did it kind of hurt me a little bit when I didn’t make that goal I thought I was bad at language learning or just couldn’t do it. But the point is you know these people speak eight 10 some of them even 20 plus languages.


So if you’re just getting started with English or another language which is maybe second third language but more important is the one you’re studying yourself outside formal school or of course or something like that. This is a whole new experience and these people that we’re talking about and keep saying these people are like some kind of negative but you know they’re all my friends now and I love them to bits so it’s not like I’m saying anything negative about them but it’s you know these are very successful in what they did.

Of course, they have kind of mastered the techniques that it takes to learn a language and it will be like saying if you had a really good chef he would be able to learn a new recipe much faster than somebody who’s just starting to cook would be able to learn it. So because he knows instinctively how the different ingredients of a recipe works together whereas a new chef would be like where’s the knife.


I mean what is what is onion you know. So that’s why the comparison is really dangerous and I would really not advise for it but most of most content producers do give steps instead of they don’t try to sell their way of doing it as a  method or someone way to do it.


But they generally try to give you some action steps that you can follow in your own time so you know you don’t have to be fluent in three months which Benny is obviously very famous for. But the individual steps that he did during the three months you can still use that in your time because obviously also people are busy. Know we have jobs families, school whatever and we don’t all have to learn English or whatever language we’re learning. 10 hours a day which really is what it requires. if you want to learn really quickly so.


So that’s why I would say Don’t. Don’t be afraid to suck on their experience and their tips and tricks.

But be very careful with trying to compay there.


Actually that’s a good quote. Somebody said that and I’m probably butchering it but somebody said

don’t compare somebody else’s middle to your beginning.

So that’s that’s that’s it.

And what about your podcast. Have you ever compared your podcast with other podcasts or have you any idols that you are looking up.

That’s a good question actually.


Yes sure. I mean this is actually a great question. And the funny answer or if it’s funny but it’s definitely somebody many people definitely don’t know this but I’m actually not a huge podcast listener myself. I am I find it hard to build the habit of this new podcast which I know a lot of people do. But I have listened to a lot of Tim Ferriss. I love his books and I also love his podcast and he has some really interesting guests on there so I have listened to that and I have listened to various of course language related podcasts like you know Hungarianpod101 and part one to one or Englishpod101. These are mostly for learning the language but I actually wasn’t a big podcast listener and for language learning you know I was doing an episode a week and I still try to keep that up and so for me that was kind of enough.


You know I was already asking all the questions I wanted to ask and having all the guests I wanted to have on so I didn’t really feel the need to go on this to another language learning podcast But but yeah definitely. Of course, we compare ourselves all the time in life. I mean you can you can.

But but, yeah definitely. Of course, we compare ourselves all the time in life. I mean you can you can.


When you go out the door you see other men
Of course, you can compare to them in a hundred different ways. Oh, that guy has a cool shirt. Oh, that guy has more fat. You know that the guy that has a nice haircut or whatever you know as humans we’re I think we’re kind of biologically programmed to compare results.

And most of the time it’s not very good.

But the way I did it with podcasting was OK I need to be better at podcasting.
So I sat down and I listened to the top rated podcasts and I tried to figure out what were these people doing to be so good at it at what they are.

And actually I think most of it is just experience. If you go back to my first podcast episode it sounds terrible because I have no confidence.

1. Episode of Kris Broholm

Daniel Goodson

I had no experience and I you know I don’t know what I’m doing. But after 100 episodes I can do a podcast episode in my sleep and I would.

The quality is way better than than when I started. So experience is a huge huge thing.


Yeah and actually I have already used your podcast to learn English because that’s what I do. I listen to different podcasts and then I try to shadow a few sentences you know and then that way I improve. And this is actually two flies with one stone. You know you have an excellent content and you can learn a language at the same time. And for me that is perfect.



And by the way I’m not quite sure how well you know my fluent podcast and my humble website but I will tell you this in a nutshell I try to produce episodes in English on a regular basis and then I share all my experience and no lecture with all the slang language listeners and that’s why I want to improve my language skills. And in addition I want to get in touch with very engaged language learners. And what do you think about this method?

Kris Broholm

I think it was great and I find it surprising


Daniel Goodson

that you said before that you were shy because I mean here you are producing your own podcast and talking to essentially a stranger. You know I think you’re definitely not shy and actually you have a really high level of English so the method obviously works. And I think if you if you if we talk again that episode 100 I am sure you will experience that the difference is night and day.



And in fact I am shy about. I think sometimes we have to overcome our fears and to go further.


You know and have you ever produced a podcast in your target language?



No but actually it’s something that I’d love to do and something that I I regularly talk to my all my guests and some of my friends with because I feel like there aren’t that many podcasts in in foreign languages.


There are so many podcasts in English and it would be really nice if somebody made a general podcast in another language about learning the language or even specific kind of episodes about practical tips and tricks.


But I haven’t done mostly because actually doing a weekly podcast along with a you know blog and YouTube and all these other things that have to do while also working a job is actually a huge time commitment already. So if I had to produce you know a Russian podcast which I’m also by the way terrible at that language.


It was just I just couldn’t find the time for it right now. But if somebody is sitting out there and saying hey I have a lot of time and I’m learning Spanish or something. I think producing a podcast is really powerful for the reasons that you just described.




Daniel Goodson

Maybe you could implement very short phrases or short sequences you know in German or in Russian just at the end of your episode. That would be great right. That’s what I would really like to hear you one time when speaking in Russian German right.




Daniel Goodson

That would be great.



You know it’s funny you said because when I started the learning process I was really nervous like you just described as well. And I was really scared of showing my own level because I thought it would be embarrassing or you know that something bad would come of it.


And you know all these video on YouTube videos on YouTube with people saying oh I speak 20 languages you know and they they say a sentence in each language and I just really dislike that approach because the people who feel they have to make those videos nine out of 10 usually don’t speak those languages at all. They’ve just rehearsed one sentence and they get out they are actually only showing off you know.




Yeah exactly. And you’re from Austria?


Daniel Daniel

No I’m I come from Switzerland.



Oh ok sorry. I sometimes get those mixed up in my head problem them. I think the culture is very similar though so you also kind of a humble country right. Just in Denmark.


In Denmark we’re very humble. So for me it was actually kind of it was a humble thing that I didn’t want to show my level but at the same time it’s also kind of an excuse like but I didn’t.



It took me forever to learn just any kind of Russina and so on the other hand I didn’t have much to show but maybe I should have shown in any way what I did was I uploaded I recorded some of my tutoring sessions and I upload those YouTube so people can see it’s basically what I was doing in the tutoring lessons because that’s what that’s natural and you know my favorite color if I put a camera on my head and I start to speak Russian. Those sentences are kind of fake.


They’re kind of what I just wrote down what I just the safe sentences but if I just record tutoring session I can honestly be caught off guard every five seconds because my tutor is asking me Well how do you say you know feminist problems in Russian and. And so I showed that and that was the kind of the way to do it.

I don’t.


Regarding your question I’m putting more languages to the podcast. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I started out with kind of the concept that I don’t want to exclude anyone from listening so I decided that the podcast was supposed to be complete in English.


That being said I could obviously always create more non-Podcast episodes and just publish them outside the normal podcast.


But that was I don’t know if that if that is something I haven’t mentioned but I always there’s a lot of criticism a lot of the content is in English.


Of course as an Englishman that is kind of a good thing right but a lot of people actually complain that.


Why is everything in English?


And there’s a very simple reason for that and that’s because English is kind of the lingua franca of the Internet which is it’s like a bridge language you know that most people will at least understand.



Yeah but I think it is coming slowly but 
steadily it is coming up now. New episodes 
in German or other languages. 

Daniel Goodson

Yeah yeah for sure. That’s great. 


And that’s why I recommend people do it all the time because you know just because there’s a lot of 
English doesn’t mean that you can’t do it in German or Spanish or Esperanto or whatever 
and you can carve out your own little niche thereby by being the first 
German in podcast about food or the first Russian podcast about 
ballet dancing. 

Daniel Goodson

Or whatever. I mean the topic is kind of irrelevant. 


The fact is you’re doing it in Russian instead of whatever language and you can even create my 
podcast you know the actual fluency podcast where you talk about language learning in the foreign language as 
well. But of course you also have to balance it because I mean would you listen 

Daniel Goodson

Would you listen to 30 minutes of me stumbling over every single word and making 200 mistakes an hour. You know that’s that’s an argument but you have to consider that after a short period of time you will 
improve. And maybe on the 40th episode you’re not stumbling anymore you know. 



Daniel Goodson

I don’t know. I like my. I like to look at the listener’s perspective as well. And I don’t I think 
your English is a lot better than you think it is. So you’re at a good level 
where you don’t have any communication problem. 


You don’t slow down you don’t pause. You don’t break all the time so 
you’re very pleasant to listen to. 

Daniel Goodson

But if you were let’s say you know a few years earlier in your 
English learning maybe for the listeners it would be kind of hard to listen to but that doesn’t mean you 
can’t recorded. It’s just I think that there has to be a balance of what you gain and what the 
listeners gain and ultimately I decided that that podcast was just going to be in English just to 
eliminate sometimes a discussion or slow and easy easy 
answers just whether it’s an English podcast and there are pros and cons and I hope that 
people start podcasts in other languages and actually you know if you had a German podcast kind of 
like the actual fluency you know I probably listen to it because German is one of those 
languages that I speak somewhat and I understand almost completely. 


So if I listen to more I could improve my level up to a pretty good level. 

Daniel Goodson

But right now it’s kind of blah. Or I should do a podcast in 
Swiss-German. Oh God it would be very tricky for you to understand .Oh 



Daniel Goodson

I had a Swiss roommate one I’d wish oh god my 
putting sounds on my SS Now because of Hungarian Swiss 
roommate. See I got it at the end and I didn’t understand anything he was saying in 
German to be honest so we just kind of spoken Hochdeutsch. Yeah. And 
even other Swiss people have issues to understand me because my 
dialect is very strong you know. 


Oh yeah. 

Daniel Goodson

Yeah. That’s the one that’s even worse. But luckily you’re learning English so you 
can use that to speak of Swiss people. 



Daniel Goodson

Fantastic. And I know from your podcast that 
you are trying to do this for a living but I am 
asking myself will  you not lose a hobby then. 
Ooh wow that’s a big question. That’s a big question. 


There is something to be said about something can be fun as a hobby 
and it can be you know not fun as a job. 

Daniel Goodson

And sometimes that the only difference is that definition 
because you’re doing the same thing but now it’s just kind of the only thing you do. 


So yeah there’s a danger there but I haven’t quite made the leap yet. 

Daniel Goodson

You know I’m still working a job and does quite some work to 
be done before I can even consider going solo. But yeah would be fun
think because I love to travel and I love to go to all the polyglot 
events meet all my friends and just hang out in other countries 
and that’s kind of hard with any job. So it would be nice. 


But you’re right. 

Daniel Goodson

There’s definitely definitely a fear there that you know if you were let’s say 
a wine taster after 200 glasses and you know it’s 
kind of hard to appreciate it in a way but I hope the language in that 
language learning or language podcasting isn’t isn’t this 
and I was recently at a political event where I spoke I had 
a really long presentation about depression and language learning and at 
the end of it somebody kind of raised their hand a little bit and just 
with tears in their eyes and really struggling to get the words out said like 
this is exactly how I feel. And you know that just really got me because now you have
personal connection and you’re really seeing the effects of sharing 
what the struggles that you are that you’re going through. And you know life isn’t a playground. 


Life is tough especially in the western world. 

Daniel Goodson

You know some people say oh well in Africa everyone is struggling and the 
Middle East and other third world countries. Yeah that’s true. But you know these 
people who have never known anything else that’s come there every day. If you live in the 
West is such a huge amount of pressure on you to actually just because you were born 
there right. So there are so many depressed people in the West you might think. 


Wait what. 

Daniel Goodson

Why are there so many depressed. 


We have more money we have more food. We have more technology than ever 
before and people are just getting worse and worse and this is why this is the 
pressure is mounting. And it’s a language that you can really feel the pressure because 
you see if people talk to you and you fail. 

Daniel Goodson

That’s extra pressure or why you would be doing this or I should be doing that. If you run a blog that’s 
extra pressure if you you know run a part causes extra blood pressure at the end of the day we 
just have 115 things to





And if we are not careful it will overwhelm us and we’ll get into a complete
hole. So that’s why I share my story. I want people to try and seek help and also reach out because I think I said during the talk.

A problem shared is a problem I have and that I find that so true and
especially something that depression can be very embarrassing for many people and
stigmatized. So if you put that out in the open and actually talk to people about it
you put it on a whole different level and it’s much easier to manage. And
that’s why I do what I do basically and I found out in the beginning I did the blogging and
podcasting just for me. But now I found out I’m actually making a difference in at least one person’s life you know but hopefully a few more.


And so do you think that the vast resources out there for example on the Internet or so on can be actually an obstacle sometimes. You know when it comes to learning a language could we
be overwhelmed by all the pressure and all the materials.
I think so yes for sure especially with English those 200 million different ways of learning
English. And if you don’t focus on one method or at least or no more than a few methods at the most then you’re just going to end up going from method to method or book to book book and you will never finish anything which it means you never really learn anything.


So I definitely think there’s a problem there because you also have people like me saying
Oh I used asimilar and it was great.

And then you have maybe you watch Benny and he says like oh yeah colloquial is the best. So you
feel like you have to do all these things even though maybe you already had something that was

So this is kind of like the grass is always greener idea where
the method you’re not using at the time seems like the best method in the world.

I see this problem with me. Well you and I and I have
this problem sometimes I switch all my methods


you’re not alone. Trust me but it
can it can be fun though. Oh yeah.

I mean there’s so many so many so much fun to have in language learning and especially when you get
to a point where you can actually talk to people or go to holiday in the country and you have the chance.

That’s that’s really a lot of fun so


and what other plans do you have in mind for your part the cost.
That’s a good question. I think the podcast is just going to continue with telling stories of
Langer’s and occasionally me telling stories about my personal life
or other topics that I feel closely about. But I think the formula is kind of
established now and I mean I could change things but at
the end of the day I like doing it the way I do it’s very informal and I think I’m going to
continue doing it that way. Perfect.
And what about your new course
the course about motivation.
Daniel Goodson
Maybe you could tell something from it. Well, it’s a little secret right now but just because you don’t mind sharing. It’s basically I realized during my 2 1/2 years of trying to be an independent language lawyer for the first time I realized that learning a language is not about tactics or books or whatever
you know it doesn’t have to do with all these things.
Basically the language the process is about consistent motivation
and there wasn’t really anything out there about motivation.

You could maybe buy a course on languorously and they would have a whole section
or they would that would be a book on motivation or you could definitely find motivation
books or courses in general.
But I just felt that I wanted to create something that language students would understand and
would really apply perfectly to their situation. And also because my biggest
problem myself too actually and it’s the e-mail I get the most is I don’t feel
like learning a language today. How can I keep learning or I gave up on Swedish
three months ago.
Daniel Goodson
How can I get back into it or how can I avoid doing that again. So I
just basically create a I took the opportunity to create like a premium course that
will hopefully help with these things.


And and that’s that’s basically the story behind it.

So the course that runs for some period of time that’s that I’ve yet to define
but probably at least a month maybe two months. And the idea is that when you
go through the course and you learn about the theory of motivation you actually also applied in
practice so you have a forum for accountability of Facebook where you have


So you keep sort of motivated and accountable to keep learning whatever language
you language as you are learning it’s not important.

And that accountability part is the biggest thing because you know anyone can learn the theory but if you
don’t put it in practice then it’s kind of useless so.




That’s how it is right now. But like I said it’s a little bit of secret. I have posted
about it but it’s in a kind of a closed testing phase right now. But people are more than welcome to go to language motivation must read or come and join the waiting list.


Well, I’ll be updating them as soon as the Course is ready for public testing.
Yeah. OK. Hopefully, hopefully a month or two from now depending on
depending on how well the first version of the Course is. I might have to remake a lot of the videos you know we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.



So what now comes a strange question.

Well let’s say one day you wake up and all people understand each other
perfectly everyone speaks every language. What would you


That is a good question.
Daniel Goodson
Well definitely not language. Because I don’t think there will be much money in that.


Do you have another passio?


I have many sort of hobbies and interests like I like to play chess.

I like to I like to follow sports and I used to play a lot
myself don’t anymore but still like to follow the games once in a while.
And I think business entrepreneurship I probably try and start my own
business somehow try to look for something that people would
need and just go from there.

eurship I probably try and start my own business somehow try to look for something that people would need and just go from there.

Daniel Goodson

Actually it’s a really it’s a really interesting question that I haven’t thought about myself because two and a half years ago you know when I discovered that you could be learning languages yourself I always thought you needed a school or something. When I found out you could do it for yourself I said OK I’m just going to do languages for the rest of my life because you can use languages for so many things and the value of learning a language is so huge on a personal level as well. And so yeah


kind of become another person.


I think for sure I mean not only not only when you speak or use that language


but also adding more languages to your personality with it will add self-confidence and you just you just be more you just be a better person.

I think also because you understand more cultures. One of the biggest problems we have today. One of the most problems we have today are caused by ignorance.

You know that some people or some subset of the population have some kind of belief about another part of the world or another people or another race or another gender or even and it’s all bound in ignorance. You know so if we have better if it’s easier to communicate then it’s easier to understand each other. So one thing that I’ve definitely gained by being part of the language community for two three years now is more understanding of other cultures and now I’m really excited about trying new things. But when I was just living in Denmark and never really traveling much. It’s very hard it’s very easy to see other

Daniel Goodson

places that’s sort of scary and dangerous because you don’t know them. So yeah that’s what I would say it’s great that we have languages for sure.


And do you feel sometimes homesick?

Yes sometimes I mean it’s not it’s not so much the country. I think there is a nice country but it doesn’t for me doesn’t really appeal that much I don’t feel very Danish even though I am I think that’s kind of normal when we live in a small country that you don’t connect this much with the country you live in but more of the culture around you. But of course I miss my

family sometimes and it’s sometimes a shame that I can’t be there for the parties and hold the family events but at the end of the day you know just a young kid and no travel around for a few years and I’ll probably get back and I do try to travel back as much as I can and visit the family. So but it can definitely be a lonely and isolated experience to be traveling alone.



This time I took the liberty to introduce her to implement some sound files. I really hope that Chris can appreciate that it wasn’t meant to


offend him or to make it ridiculous. And by the way now I’m trying to just speak what I’m thinking so sorry for my stumbling over my own words but I think the time has come where I should begin to just talk more freely more fluently and not always reading a script or or I shouldn’t use some cheat sheets for example. And in this interview I must admit I was really nervous but I


think that with time I can improve and I will say less words “you know”.

You know there are still a few things I want to mention here. Chris didn’t receive any questions beforehand so that was all improvised. Kind of. I mean he was not at all prepared and and he directly answered all my questions and that shows me how HUGE his knowledge base is and that he’s really experienced learner and polyglot. I mean all I want to say here is that he’s a really good guy

and you should go head over to his website. Actualfluency.com I will put the show notes on my website. So I am your host Daniel Goodson.

Have a good one!

to be continued.