Polyglot Discussion


I encountered a video that may boost your motivation in language learning. This one-hour video is awesome. I believe not only me, but also those who are interested in languages may learn a lot from it. The video was broadcasted live on Saturday, December 15th 2012 at 8 PM GMT. Eight polyglots from around the world met together to share their language learning strategies and their language learning experiences. 

David Mansaray from London was the initiator and he started the discussion with the question "How your personality shapes your way of learning a language?"
  • Susanna Zarysky from San Francisco mentioned that she tends to look for patterns within the language. 
  • Jana Fadness from Washington prefers to try a wide variety of different interests to escape boredom. 
  • Luca Lampariello from Italy likes to read books and talk to people as much as possible. 
  • Robert Bigler from Austria came up with silent period. Agreeing with Luca, Robert also reads a lot and jumps into discussions or even arguments. 
  • Richard Simcott from Macedonia said that he likes to play with accents and retrieve foreign words from songs. 
  • Steve Kaufmann from Canada has a different opinion. He enjoys learning language and he is motivated by the culture, history, and/ or politics. 
  • The last panelist, Benny Lewis, considered himself as a traveler. Therefore, he sees language as a tool and he is fond of speaking rather than reading. 

The following question is about how to keep the language learning interest alive
  • Robert agreed with Benny about constantly using the language. 
  • Luca persuaded learners to make mistakes and retrieve feedback in order to improve. 
  • Benny encouraged making mistakes. He even mentioned that he makes around 100 mistakes per day, which made the other panelists burst into laughter.

The discussion was then continued with the question of which technique that works for others but not for the panelists
  • Jana mentioned that she prefers to learn vocabularies through context rather than using flashcards. 
  • Robert continued with a shadowing technique that does not work for him because of the overlapping voices. 
  • Richard said that learning grammar is the obstacle for him. 
  • Agreeing Robert, Luca also mentioned that shadowing technique does not work for him. Apart from that, he also mentioned about a list of words as another technique that does not work for him. 
  • Susanna has a different opinion. She recalled her school time learning language with grammar books, which do not work anymore for her now. Instead, she likes to play with language apps. However, she said that it is interesting but she absorbs not much and feels bored.

David continued with the next question about the advice that the panelists can give to learners who are fed up with learning the language
  • Luca said that the beginning is always difficult. However, the more progress it has, the easier it will be. 
  • Steve suggested that learners get involved in a real situation, such as talking with people and watching podcasts. Thus, he added about focusing on the enjoyment.

Due to time limitation, David continued to the next question. It is about which difficulties that are encountered and/ or how to overcome them
  • Susanna started with talking about the subjunctive, which she took the comparison of it in Spanish and French. 
  • Steve talked about cases, especially of that in German and Slavic language. 
  • Robert mentioned about Chinese Character or Kanji and tones. However, he tends to see them as a compound sound, where he can imitate the way it is spoken. 
  • Richard has a quite interesting opinion. He said that the issue is not the language but the culture. For instance, saying something acceptable in one place may be unacceptable in another. 
  • Jana said that many grammar books do not have enough explanation. 

After all, the discussion continued with random questions from the viewers. The first one is about what the panelists have learnt from each other
  • Benny immediately referred to Moses McMormick's language learning of approaching people. 
  • Susanna talked about an interview of Richard. She said that Richard mentioned about not feeling guilty for not accomplishing anything in language learning. 
  • Steve praised this polyglot community that it is encouraging not only for the viewers but also for the panelists. 
  • Robert mentioned about Benny's opinion that anybody can learn any language. 

The next question was "What is your favorite language and why?" 
  • Immediately, Benny responded that sign language for being the most expressive language. In addition, it can say more than spoken language. 
  • Steve has a different opinion. He said that his favorite language is the one that he is totally immersed in. 
  • According to Jana, she mentioned about Japanese because it is her first foreign language and the language that she knows best apart from English. 

Due to time limitation, the discussion finally came to the end. Just before it was closed, Benny added that everybody is welcome to ask each of the panelists questions via YouTube, blog, or any social media sites.

Polyglots' channels

David Mansaray
David Mansaray
Steve Kaufmann
Steve Kaufmann
Benny Lewis
Benny Lewis
Jana Fadness
Jana Fadness
Robert Bigler
Robert Bigler
Susanna Zarysky
Susanna Zarysky
Luca Lampariello
Luca Lampariello
Richard Simcott
Richard Simcott
Moses McMormick
Moses McMormick





Do you know any polyglot or someone who knows several languages? What have you learned from this incredible story? Thanks for reading. Feel free to share this article if you like. If you have any opinions, please leave a comment. I love reading them.
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