Language Learning and Introverts
All of these personal experiences don't involve you speaking, don't involve you in any way having to be an extrovert. Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here again to talk about language learning. And today I want to talk about language learning and the introvert or people who are introverted. Remember if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe.
Uh, if you follow me on a podcast service... oh yes, and by the way, click on the bell for notifications. If you follow me on a podcast service, please leave a review. So my last or one of my most recent interviews was a discussion with Gabriel from Brazil. I have spoken to other people about language learning in different languages. And I would think that many of the people who show up on YouTube as polyglots or talk about language learning, including myself, are probably extroverts. In other words, I'm not shy. If I go to a party and I see people I want to talk and interact with people and I'm not shy sbout sharing my views on different subjects and so forth.
So I am an extrovert. I think Gabriel is an extrovert. Someone commented that, you know, it seems, saying to me, you always have extroverts on there talking about language learning. What about introverts who want to learn languages? So I thought I would talk a bit about that. I don't think being an extrovert is a condition for being a polyglot or a linguist. Remember that if you look up the word "linguist" in an English language dictionary, the first meaning is someone who speaks several languages. The second meaning one that has developed much later in history is this idea of someone who studies linguistics. The word "polyglot" just means many tongues or many languages.
So, if you are a person who is interested in languages, because you like to read in different languages, which is my case, and you like to discover different languages and you enjoy this very personal experience of let's say, reading in different languages or even listening in different languages on subjects of interest to you, listening to voices that you're like enjoying the sound of different language....
all of these personal experiences don't involve you speaking, don't involve you in any way having to be an extrovert, being outgoing and "hail fellow well met" or any of these things. So you can be a wonderful polyglot, linguist language learner and decide to totally focus on input only. Now I think the majority of people who focus on input at some stage want to speak. It's normal for people to want to speak, but even the desire to speak doesn't mean that you're always looking for an opportunity to speak, that you're sort of naturally bursting to say things which is sort of the, uh, characteristics that we associate with an extrovert.
You can be somewhat introverted. That doesn't mean you're not a deep thinker, but you don't necessarily want to share those thoughts with other people all the time. That's more in, it's sort of along the lines of an introvert. You don't have to speak to demonstrate that you are learning the language. You don't have to demonstrate your prowess or your, your level of fluency in speaking in order to qualify as a polyglot in my mind.
Now, if you want to say I speak a language fluently, then you have to demonstrate that you speak that language fluently if you're claiming to speak it fluently. And remember, I feel you can be fluent and still make mistakes, but at least you can express your opinions comfortably in a way that makes the other person feel comfortable.
But a big part, obviously, of being fluent is that you understand what the other person is saying. So even there, it does start with this basically inward oriented process of learning languages, but you don't have to speak. And I've mentioned before, uh, maybe 50 years ago, I was in Europe, in a, in a bar somewhere and there was, uh, a person, a student from Japan who could communicate in 13 languages, but he was deaf mute. I don't know what the politically correct term is today, but he couldn't make sounds. But we would write questions to him in 13 languages and he would answer those questions in those 13 languages.
He wasn't an introvert because he, he was quite comfortable, uh, you know, fielding these questions and answering them. But he wasn't speaking. So he was communicating and writing. So I just want to make the point that, uh, and, and it's by no means certain, you know, I think we've all seen that say in a class, the person who is sort of bubbling and, and, uh, willing to try things and it's, it's a good thing actually, to not be afraid of making mistakes. And so that person seems to speak better earlier. Again, that doesn't mean that in the long run that person will have a better understanding of the language, be able to read better in the language than someone who doesn't speak very much but is more focused on input, but more focused on discovering the language reading in the language.
So I guess the only part I want to make, and this is an answer to the question that I received, you know, why don't you ever talk about introverts who learn languages? Yes, by all means language learning is a personal experience activity. We do it for ourselves. We do it in the way that, that makes us happy, that satisfies us, that satisfies our curiosity, our interests, our personality and whatever degree of... and I'm, and because it's not black and white, people are all introverts or all extroverts. There's a degree. And given certain situations, some people are more inclined to be bubbling, outgoing personalities and others less. So wherever you are on the spectrum, it has nothing to do with a person's ability to be a polyglot or a language learner or a linguist, in my opinion.
And so I'm going to leave a couple of video suggestions here. If you want to pursue this subject in some of the videos that I've already made. Thank you for listening. Bye for now.