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  • Learning languages is, I think, one of the best skills that a person can invest their time in.

  • Not only that it lets you get over language barriers with people who don't speak your mother tongue,

  • but it also unlocks a whole new way of perceiving the world from the point of view of a foreign nation.

  • In this video, I'd like to talk about why I think language learning is so cool and what are the upsides and downsides of the language learning community.

  • Perfecting an accent

  • I wouldn't say that forcefully perfecting an accent in a foreign language is the most important thing, at least not right away.

  • If anything, it demotivates a lot of language learners that are afraid of sounding funny or dumb when speaking a foreign language.

  • 'Cause chances are that the natives will understand you even if you have a foreign accent,

  • also because of something I call accent consistency, which we can talk about another time.

  • I think the best way is just to study the language and the accent will come on its own and improve over time.

  • And when it does, well, there are some cool things that come with it.

  • When I speak chinese, I have a slight Beijing accent or when I speak Portuguese, I have a more or less Brazilian accent.

  • I feel like with every language that you learn, especially if you learn it in its respective country, you kind of get a sense of identity,

  • based on where you learned it or who taught it to you and where your teacher was from,

  • which I think is so powerful and only achievable through language learning that you get a sense of identity towards the country that you're not even from.

  • So for me, embracing the accent of the places where I learned the language rather than speaking a standardized version of it

  • makes me feel more connected to my teachers and to the cities where I lived.

  • And it makes me feel nostalgic as if all those places and my friends and the people were always with me.

  • I know this sounds cheesy, but I'm really passionate about this.

  • Why do I like studying languages?

  • I had to think long about this question because the first answer that came to mind was because it gives me pleasure.

  • I mean, I think the answer would be the same as if you ask somebody why they like to draw or why they like to play games.

  • I think I'm not the only person who feels this way, but speaking in a foreign language with somebody gives me a certain kind of high,

  • you know, it's like my mind completely changes, my personality and thoughts to an extent, adapt to the language that I'm speaking.

  • And when I'm speaking with someone and they understand what I'm trying to say and then they respond back and suddenly, I'm having a whole conversation, it's like...

  • My thoughts on the word "polyglot"

  • I don't consider myself a polyglot. I don't use that word just because I feel like nowadays, there's a lot of people that use it just to boost their own ego.

  • Like sometimes, I'll just see people learning the basics in three foreign languages,

  • and suddenly they proclaim themselves as being polyglot, and they, like, put it in their bio and whatnot.

  • I mean I know that we're in the age of Clickbait and using the word polyglot or putting it in your title gets views, but I don't really like using it and here's why.

  • Firstly, the term polyglot is extremely vague because the definition says something like, "a person who speaks four or more languages."

  • But, like, on what level? Do you have to be fluent in all of those languages or do you have to reach level C1 or is B2 enough? Is A2 enough?

  • And before you go googling, I'd honestly say that there's no real answer to that because that's just not how languages work.

  • For example, the level B2 in Spanish is way more than the level B2 in English.

  • I'd even say that it's the equivalent of C1 in English.

  • Okay, every language is different.

  • You can't put norms on languages because your fluency depends on so many factors.

  • Some people will say that being conversational in the language is good enough and if you ask me, I feel pretty comfortable with my Chinese. I lived in Beijing for ten months.

  • But if you were to put me in a small town in the Hunan province, my Chinese wouldn't be better than a toddler's.

  • All things being said, the term polyglot is so vague that I don't associate myself with it.

  • I do consider myself as someone who is passionate about learning languages, who likes learning them, who likes learning about them, their historical background.

  • That's what I study in college, philology.

  • But I don't need the badge of being a polyglot to enjoy my hobby.

  • Yeah.

  • Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

  • Don't get me wrong though, I'm not trying to show a bad light on anybody who is a real polyglot and uses that word, I just personally don't feel comfortable with using it.

  • Your voice changes with each language.

  • I heard a lot of people tell me that my personality or even my voice changes when I speak a different language.

  • That is very much possible because with each language, first of all,

  • as I said before, the place where you learned it or who taught it to you really affect the way that you use that language in your life.

  • For instance, I often notice that my voice when speaking Japanese is a lot softer and maybe more feminine than (in) other languages,

  • which is I think because up until this point, all of my Japanese teachers were always a woman.

  • That's how I learned the language, from a woman. So I kind of also speak a little bit like a woman.

  • When I speak Portuguese, for example, I'm way more like maybe open, I smile a lot more and that's just because all of my memories from Brazil are very happy memories.

  • And yeah, those are truly all factors of me changing my personality every time I speak a different language.

  • What language do I think in

  • I have to say that my fluency in Czech and English are both on the same level.

  • I make mistakes in both languages.

  • Sometimes I use English even more than Czech, which is my mother tongue.

  • So my thoughts mostly occur in either English or Czech if I'm not speaking another language, that is.

  • However, it's interesting that whenever I'm counting something, you know, like I need to count how many eggs I have left in the fridge,

  • my brain automatically switches to Chinese because counting in Chinese is just so much quicker and easier than in English or Czech.

  • So I always just go one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.

  • It really depends on the situation because for example, when I need to take notes quickly, need to note something, I usually start writing it in English right away.

  • It's also because on the internet, I search everything in English right because there's always more results.

  • I make videos in English, so whenever I think about like social media or like new videos, I'm always thinking in English

  • It's like a default language, I think.

  • What languages are you planning on learning in the future?

  • I'm not really planning on learning any more languages in the future, maybe later on,

  • but like, right now, I'm really just focused on perfecting the languages that I can already speak, just so I can speak them even more fluently.

  • But yeah, I definitely thought about just perfecting my Azbuka, Hangul and like the Arabic script just because I'm really frustrated when I can't read something,

  • like even if I can't understand the language, I want to be able to read it, if that makes sense.

  • So I'm just going to learn a bunch of scripts maybe, but not the languages themselves.

  • But yeah, that's about it for this video.

  • Let me know your experiences with learning languages and also let me know if you enjoy me making videos about them.

  • And yeah, follow me on Instagram, leave a like and I'll see you next week. Bye.

Learning languages is, I think, one of the best skills that a person can invest their time in.

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A2 language accent learning perfecting speak foreign

Polyglots Aren't Real

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/10/06
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