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"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
Learn English in February

Marianne's 8am Friday 15 November 2019: Learning languages and how to become a polyglot

mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
Unless you have another idea, why don't we chat about how we learn a new language?

How many languages do you know? This speaker is a polyglot, someone who speaks many languages. Polyglots tend to find it easier to learn languages. This speaker spends about two years learning a new language and now knows 8.

Everyone has different methods. Do you rely on learning by yourself or do you prefer to have a teacher? Do you go out to find people to practice with?



https://www.ted.com/talks/lydia_machova_the_secrets_of_learning_a_new_language/transcript

She describes three main principles:
1. Effective methods to memorize words.
2. Create a system in your learning.
3. Patience.

I like her summary: 'Does that sound like a miracle? Well, I see such miracles every single day... People struggle with language learning for five, 10, even 20 years, and then they suddenly take their learning into their own hands, start using materials which they enjoy, more effective methods, or they start tracking their learning so that they can appreciate their own progress, and that's when suddenly they magically find the language talent that they were missing all their lives.

So if you've also tried to learn a language and you gave up, thinking it's too difficult or you don't have the language talent, give it another try. Maybe you're also just one enjoyable method away from learning that language fluently. Maybe you're just one method away from becoming a polyglot.'

@Shiny03, @taghried, @nidhii, @Glorian, @Alexandra.

Comments

  • NaoranNaoran Posts: 13 ✭✭
    I don't know but I know a little Japanese, and maybe I I should be serious in learning it again. I haven't studied learn Japanese for 1 year.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    What other languages can you speak @Naoran? I think Japanese is very difficult.
  • AlexaAlexa Posts: 23 ✭✭
    The speaker said , she learn a new language every two years . It’s a miracle. I am learning englisch much more time and still don't know it well. Probably, if I would surround myself with english, it would be go quickly
  • taghriedtaghried Posts: 189 ✭✭✭
    What I like in this Ted-talk is the speaker talks about enjoyment whilst acquiring a new language.

    I'm in the midst of acquiring the English language, so I'm not sure which way is better than others for me!

    Before a month ago or so, I followed a polyglot (Steve Kaufmann) on youtube he speaks 20 languages, and if I give up I back again to listen to him to motivate me up.


    Anyway,I would like to acquire French and Italian languages because I like their accent :D and German because I respect and fond of their prime minister.
  • SarrafSarraf Posts: 27 ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I think although this speech was interesting and she pointed out important things about learning a new language, she was wrong about the fact that everyone can be a polyglot or at least learn a new language easily. I think talent plays a major role in the equation of becoming successful in any fields. I don't want to undermine the positive effects of hard-working, practising and using appropriate methods on being successful, but It's not wise to overestimate this effect either. I think I should be the best version of myself regardless of the outcomes. I mean it doesn't matter if I don't have the ability to be the best soccer player or musician or blah blah blah as long as I'm the best version of myself.
    As I'm kind of an introvert, I prefer to study by myself. I love learning new languages. In two separate occasions I tried to learn French and German, but each time I remembered that maybe it is better for me to progress in English learning instead of aiming to learn a new language.
  • sohal_deepaksohal_deepak Posts: 76 ✭✭✭
    She "Lýdia Machová" is wonderful speaker and a polyglot. Yes, it seems like very easy to become a polyglot, if we beleive on her words but practically, I doubt to learn a new language in 2 yrs only, it might be possible that's why she has used the word miracle.
    She amphasized to adopt joyfull different ways for learning new languages and to track your performance, which is really interesting because when we see improvement in ourself, we become more confident but the question is "how to track our performace ? ".
    Actually, language is all about practice more we involve ourself in atmosphere of perticular language, more we learn and i thing you should become extrovert if you wants to become a polyglot.
    I heard this Ted talk few months back and since then i am thinking to start practice to learn French language even i had started reading few words in mobile app but it doesn't seems to be an appropriate method to start so i am just searching for some interesting method.
  • taghriedtaghried Posts: 189 ✭✭✭
    @Sarraf , If you find the right way to acquire your first language, so It will be easy to acquire others! because it will be as a ritual or habit, so our brain going get used it. I think it's not related to talent it's about passion or you love to learn the specific language.If you noticed the speaker mentioned that there was someone trying to learn one language for 10 years and his friends mocking on him but after a while, he found his way and became a polyglot.
  • SarrafSarraf Posts: 27 ✭✭
    @taghried I agree with you. I think the most difficult part is to learn the first foreign language and after that things get easier.
    I thought that polyglots are the people who can speak many languages perfectly. But then in the session, Marianne explained that everyone who can communicate in different languages is a polyglot, even to the extent of asking for directions or meeting his/her basic needs.
    I didn't mean that nobody can become a polyglot unless being talented. I meant that for someone like me, with an average ability to learn a language, it would take much longer to master another language than would take a talented polyglot. So maybe it's better for someone like me to focus on learning the most useful one and then learn others if possible, as icing on the cake.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    I agree @Sarraf and @taghried that some people have more of a flair or talent for learning new languages. But I think it is also a lot to do with the person too. It can also be influenced by how extrovert they are and whether they are not afraid of making mistakes in front of other people. It helps to be good at mimicking sounds (which I am useless at doing). Motivation is also vital, but also a clear idea about what you want to use the language for. If it is communication only, don't be so hard on yourself to be perfect as remember, native speakers of English usually don't actually speak their own language that well.

    Indians from Darjeeling tend to speak English much better than many Brits from the UK as they are usually taught grammar extremely well and have learned English properly. In schools in the UK, very little grammar is taught after primary school. Spelling even among educated people is often not perfect.

    I find learning other languages hard too @Sarraf. So I know exactly what you mean, but it is still worth the effort. @sohal_deepak I think it would be possible to learn a new language in a couple of years, but you would need to have the time and motivation. For someone who wants to use languages perhaps for their work, or they split their time in different countries, then they should find it easier. I have a British friend who I would call a polyglot as he spends time in several countries and makes the effort to try to learn the language in each. He says he doesn't speak any all that well, but he can manage to get by on Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese (and Spanish) and very well in French. He also wants to learn Italian.

    I do think though, that once you start to learn another language, learning more languages then becomes a bit easier. Most people who just speak their mother tongue do it without thinking most of the time. But once you start learning another language, you become much more aware of rules of grammar and how words are formed and maybe crop up in other languages. There are many false friends - words that look like words in another language but mean something else. But I think that there are probably many more words that look similar and do mean the same thing. This is especially so with English and the Latin languages which overlap to varying extents.

    To let you into a secret, many native speaker English teachers who I have met agree that they only really became familiar with their own language once they started teaching it. Myself included.

    I have to say that I am very impressed by all of you. You certainly have demonstrated that you are all polyglots to varying degrees, which is really great.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    Thank you all for an interesting discussion about how we learn languages.
    @Glorian, @Shiny03, @nidhii, @Paulette, @Alexandra,

    Time (an hour a day), do things you enjoy (like listening and reading), notice what is happening in the language, focus on words rather than grammar, patience, get the tools you need (eg Ipod, dictionaries, books etc), and take charge of your own language learning - be an independent language learner.
    The speaker have a dozen languages under his belt so he is a polyglot.

    Vocabulary
    inhibited - shy, afraid to speak
    under your belt - Experienced or achieved, as in 'Once a medical student has anatomy under her belt, she'll have much less to memorize.'

    perfect, perfection, perfectionist

    Discussion
    Alexandra pointed out that learning in isolation is not very effective for her; she needs the feedback and interaction with others. A teacher can help motivate, but maybe only 50/50 necessary. For some, interaction with others is vital however.

    But learning by yourself can be preferable to having an unsatisfactory peer group.

    Students spend varying amounts of time learning English but everyone seems to spend at least some time every day, some scheduling a particular time, some spending up to several hours if they become engrossed in watching videos in English.

    Everyone had different preferences for learning: music and lyrics, movies with subtitles to hear how the words sound and read, podcasts, reading.

    Many students suggested that reading and listening were not so difficult as speaking. In some countries it is harder as there is less opportunity to hear English being spoken, like in Japan for example.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @Naoran - Here is your correction:-

    I only know a little Japanese, but maybe I should bet serious about learning it again. I haven't studied it for over a year.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @Alexa - Here is your correction:-

    The speaker said she learns a new language every two years. It’s a miracle. I have been learning English a lot longer, and still don't know it well. Probably, if I surrounded myself with English, it would go more quickly.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @Sarraf - Here is your correction:-

    I think although this speech was interesting and she pointed out some important things about learning a new language, she was wrong about the fact that everyone can be a polyglot or at least learn a new language easily. I think talent plays a major role in the equation of becoming successful in any field. I don't want to undermine the positive effects of hard-work, practise and using appropriate methods in being successful, but it's not wise to overestimate this effect either. I think I should be the best version of myself, regardless of the outcome. I mean it doesn't matter if I don't have the ability to be the best soccer player or musician or blah blah blah as long as I'm the best version of myself.
    As I'm kind of an introvert, I prefer to study by myself. I love learning new languages. On two separate occasions I tried to learn French and German, but each time I remembered that maybe it is better for me to progress in English instead of aiming to learn yet another new language.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @sohal_deepak - Here is your correction:-

    She "Lýdia Machová" is a wonderful speaker and a polyglot. Yes, it seems as if it is very easy to become a polyglot, if we believe her words but practically speaking, I doubt it is possible to learn a new language in only 2 years. Although it might be possible, which is why she has used the word miracle.

    She emphasised adopting joyful, different ways of learning new languages and to track your performance, which is really interesting because when we see improvement, we become more confident, but the question is "how to track our performance?

    Actually, language is all about practice. The more we involve ourselves in the atmosphere a particular language can create, the more we learn.
    And I think you need to become a bit of an extrovert if you want to become a polyglot.

    I heard this Ted talk a few months back, and since then I have been thinking about starting to practice learning French. I had even started reading a few words on a mobile app, but it doesn't seem to be an appropriate method to start, so I am just searching for a more interesting method.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @taghried - Here is your correction:-

    If you find the right way to acquire your first language, so it will be easy to acquire others! Probably because it will have become a ritual or habit, so our brain gets used to it.

    I don't think it's related to talent. It's about passion, or a love of learning the specific language.

    If you notice, the speaker mentioned someone who had been trying to learn one language for 10 years, and his friends kept mocking him, but after a while, he found his way to becoming a polyglot.
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