Aug. 8, 2012, 2 p.m.
I look forward to our conversations. Ich freue mich auf unsere Gespräche.
ad Jay: Thank you for your kind words :-)
ad Marianne10: (...) I agree with the view that there is vanity involved. (...)
If we were really that vain none of us would have put up any video in the first place I think. Knowing that quite a few people will actually look for every single mistake you make to then triumphantly refute a claim you have never made ("See, he is not perfect after all" - something which I for example have never claimed to be and never will) is not always a pleasant feeling.
And I admit that I have repeatedly thought about taking down all my videos. I might do just that one day, I don't know yet but so far I've had more positive than negative feedback. My original intention has not changed: getting to know more people who are interested in language learning. Thanks to my videos I have been contacted by many interesting people from all walks of life and various age groups. This has been a very satisfying experience for me both on a linguistic and personal level and I can only hope that some people find my videos useful for their own learning process. That's all there is to it for me and I don't think vanity plays any role in it. Unless you think vain people like to be constantly reminded of their mistakes ;-)
Cristina has a beautiful garden. She is sharing her life and her languages with Richard, a well-known polyglot in the internet world in this lovely setting, probably for the benefit of the HTLAL polyglot section. I've noticed that several of the hyperpolyglots have met now, and that's both interesting and exciting to many people. People want to see this kind of thing (with subtitles, preferably, or a summary), and it's this kind of ability that Michael Erard was trying to find when he was researching his book "Babel No More."
Aug. 8, 2012, 6:18 p.m.
What exactly IS a hyperglot? How exactly is this defined, I wonder?
(I imagine it's something like a Grandmaster title in chess? Or maybe a blackbelt in kung-fu..?)
(Btw, what did you mean by "Beginner's Italian" in the other thread? It seems that I hear this term mostly in British English. I would say, "italiano per principianti", but I'm not a native speaker of Italian. Michele would know for sure.)
It's not that unusual to find people who speak several languages in Europe or India, but I think it would be unusual to find someone who is competent on a C1-C2 level in six or more languages and that's probably what I would consider ordinary mastery of a language, but others would probably be okay with B2.
Aug. 8, 2012, 7:23 p.m.
"Beginner's Italian"...."Italian for beginners"..."ab initio Italian"...
I guess there are a few ways of expressing this idea :-)
Thanks for the link. I was very interested to see the list of notable hyperglots - I never knew, for example, that Friedrich Engels had a mastery of 20 languages! How could somebody who was so stupid be so...well...so clever...!? ¦:-
The other thing is this: Does one have to be clever or intelligent to speak multiple languages? A lot of people can bumble along (or whatever the expression is) in several languages on a beginner('s) or intermediate level. That's not a bad thing because that's communicating, but it seems that many people do not know the difference between getting by and really knowing the language at a high level. (And) how could they, if they don't speak the languages themselves?
Speaks native language and another language or two with a good accent at an upper intermediate level, but speaks eighteen other ones well enough to have conversations about the weather, another person's family and directions. Is this a genius? I don't think so. If Engels could do that, he would have impressed some people, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt until I learn the facts. Since he's dead, I don't have to worry that he's misleading people about language learning.
Aug. 9, 2012, 12:19 a.m.
I would not equate language ability with being clever. I have met plenty of bilingual people who were not particularly clever. Languages can be learnt. You just have to work hard.
Maybe we ask too much of hyperpolyglots. We can't expect them to be more well-rounded than other people who may be a bit talented in a certain way.
Of course, some people (even some members here), discount the idea that there is a special skill or set of skills that helps some people learn more easily and quicker than other people.
I think people will learn languages if they have to learn them most of the time. There are exceptions. Some immigrants never learn the language of the country they adopt/that adopted them.
As for the polyglot videos, I've lost interest in watching them. I see the point of them - people demonstrate their ability in multiple foreign languages which gives people confidence in following their language learning advice, but after a certain point, the topic of language learning gets pretty repetitive. I also don't really see the point of listening to 2 non-native speakers discuss something unless what they're discussing is intrinsically interesting. Plus, I only understand English and French, so most of the conversation is lost on me. Nobody ever includes Japanese in these polyglot discussions!
Other than Steve and Alex, are there many polyglots who are also conversational in Japanese as well as multiple languages?
My goals for making videos on YouTube are to meet like-minded people and take part in a community, encouraging others in the learning process. The YouTube channel and the videos I make are part of what I do. I also try to engage with people on my Facebook page and answer any questions they might have. Sadly time is always my enemy as I have a full-time job, a family and my own language study also.
Why do I do this? Well...I simply love languages and I would like more people to learn them. Yes it has been nice to get some lovely comments and feedback, but I get a lot of horrible comments too. I cannot say that I am doing this for vanity. Being called the names I get on a daily basis from my YouTube videos could never be something a person would want to see if they're doing this for vanity. I do my best to ignore the negativity, support my fellow language learners (all of them as our goal is the same - to promote language learning) and to continue to share positive stories of learning. I want more people to see that it is OK and normal to study languages. I also want to highlight resources and show how to get started and maintain the momentum.
On this forum it is a bit like preaching to the converted (which is why some will not find all of my videos so interesting, I suppose), but I am pleased to see that some of what I put out there is appealing to some of you nonetheless.
I hope to engender a positive environment for people to join up, share experiences, talk about language and encourage one another. Anyone wishing to add to that is always welcome. :) Moving forward I do have some practical ideas about languages and work related to them based on my experiences.
Thank you all for your comments and feedback. I appreciate the time you have taken to do it in a polite and considerate manner. :)
Aug. 9, 2012, 11:02 a.m.
Erm, you know that Marx and Engels were not the same person...right!? :-D
Of course my comment about Engels was meant to be fairly flippant - doubtless he was a clever guy.
That said, I also tend to agree with those folks who have pointed out that being multilingual doesn't necessarily equate with high intelligence. In practice, however, I have never run into a polyglot (whether yourself, Robert, Marianne, Mike, Steve, Luca, Richard, etc) who is not also evidently a very intelligent person. (Even Benny Lewes is quite obviously no intellectual slouch!)
Thanks for posting! ;-)
I can honestly say that I always enjoy watching your videos and find them a great inspiration. (For me it's not a big problem if your focus is on language learning, because this is something which never ceases to interest me!)
Let me first thank you for the kind comments. In another thread a guy told me with brutal honesty that my Italian accent sucked on this video, so I guess we just have to take the good with the bad. :-) It was lovely to have Richard as my guest for a week, and judging from your comments I guess we should simply have taped some of our free conversations which were obviously on an extremely varied number of topics during the course of a week. Since this was the first time I was "presented" to the linguistic YouTube community, it seemed like a natural thing to do to speak about how I came to learn the languages I speak, though.
And of course for some of you who have heard 100 such videos already it would be boring, but for me it was all new and exciting, and I was very happy to be chaperoned by Richard on my first try. Women are often criticised for not having the guts to put themselves out there, and that was one of the reasons why I accepted Richard's proposal to do a video.
My experience so far should encourage more women to try, I have not had any unpleasent reactions. Different views on what the topic should be, like you have voiced in this thread, I do not consider criticism - I would just use it as inspiration if I dare to do another video later. And the comment about my Italian accent just made me laugh - because compared to my other languages my Italian accent does suck. I spent 5 weeks in Italy and had 20 evening classes 24 years ago, and have used it very little since. It would have been more than a miracle if I had sounded like a native.
But please come up with suggestions. I refuse to talk about Candide though. I hate Candide! Awful book!
If you choose to contribute to the library in Norwegian, I will certainly send you some of our LingQ roses, although they will never measure up to the flowers in your beautiful garden in the video.