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Good morning everyone. Hello, hello.
Welcome to the second day of our talks, really happy you made it all on time.
Did you guys have a good time yesterday at the Culinary festival?
and the Amos's concert? It was amazing, right?
I'm glad to hear that.
But today we're continuing with the talks and I would like to
share something with you which is really important to me
and something that I feel passionate about.
And that is the way polyglots learn languages.
As opposed to the way languages are often learned
in the traditional way, that means in schools and language schools
because I think there is a great great difference.
And I've been trying to deal with this problem for several years now
because I think that the ways that majority people learn languages
and the ways that polyglots learn languages could be combined.
And I think that clearly, the way that we polyglots learn languages,
that way seems to work, right?
So I'm trying to apply these methods also to help other people to achieve just that.
I have a special name for a type of people who are struggling
to learn a foreign language and cannot succeed even with one language.
I call them the time-keepers.
A time-keeper is a person whom you ask 'do you speak German?'
and they will reply 'oh well, I have had 8 years of German at school'
or they say
'I've been going to a course in French or whatever language for 4 years'
and they always tell you the time, have you noticed that?
But they hardly ever speak the language.
So I call them the time-keepers,
they always count the time that they've spent learning the language,
but they don't have many results to show for that.
And on the other hand, we have the polyglots.
People just like you, besides their name tags from last polyglots gathering,
who manage to speak several foreign languages fluently.
Now the question is how is that possible?
How is it possible that there are these 2 groups of people, that seems to be
so different which such different results when it comes to their language learning
and this is exactly the question that I've been asking myself
and trying to find the solution for that.
First, before I start. I'll quickly introduce myself.
First of all, I'm a passionate language learner.
I really really enjoy learning languages.
I learn usually a new language every two years,
this is the system that I've had so far
and I like to practice them anytime I can,
for example, at the polyglot gathering.
I also happen to be a professional conference interpreter.
And maybe some of you saw the talk at the polyglot gathering 2015, where
I talked about the pleasures and pains of working as a conference interpreter,
where I tried to explain what this profession is really about.
And I have a new profession, I'm a language mentor
and this is something I made up
because I realised that I want to help people learn languages,
but I don't want to teach them. And this is my approach
to teaching people languages,
I mentor them so that they can learn languages just like polyglots do
using the same techniques and strategies.
And finally,I happen to also organise the polyglot gathering this year
so you might know me in this role as well.
Now, I will start my presentation with showing a few examples
of how some polyglots learn languages,
I picked a few that I'm sure you would probably know of
and I will briefly introduce their strategies to learn their languages
so we can see what it is actually?
How do polyglots approach language learning?
And what methods do they use?
So the first person I'll introduce probably does not need
any introduction at all.
I'm sure we all know Benny Lewis from fluentin3months.
Well Benny has a very interesting method, an interesting way to learn languages.
It's called 'Speak from day 1',
so Benny goes out there, doesn't speak the language at all,
he just collects a few words,
phrases, goes among the people and the country where the language is spoken
and start speaking with them and learning what he receives as a return.
And so he collects more and more vocabulary and practices and practices,
makes a million mistakes a day and this is his approach of learning languages.
And I'm sure, well this is the languages he's learned so far.
It may be not totally updated. Maybe they are a few more missing ones,
but this is just to show what can be achieved with such a method.
I'm sure you all know Steve Kaufmann who is here with us as well,
at this gathering, who has a slightly different approach.
So he doesn't go for speaking right away, but instead he gets a lot of input first.
So he listens and reads massively before speaking,
before producing a speech and in this way he's been able to learn
a bunch of languages himself.
I think this is also not the complete list right now,
and actually I had a Skype lesson with Steve before the gathering
where he was learning Slovak.
And I was really impressed in his Slovak skills after just one week of learning
and he told me that he's listened and read a lot of Slovak stories
and clearly it works really amazingly.
Then I don't know if you know Lucas Bighetti,
but he's also here with us,
in this gathering. And Lucas has quite an interesting method himself.
I saw him at the last polyglot gathering with all these languages on his nametag
and I practised a few of them with him
and I was really impressed at the level that he was able to use those languages.
And I looked at them and I said,
''Lucas, you have all these languages there but I see no Esperanto,
have you ever really thought about that?'
He was like 'no, not really. I don't know'.
I said 'You know what? let's make a challenge.
I'll help you learn Esperanto
and I think it would take you maybe 3 days or so'.
It actually took him an hour.
In that 1 hour, I explained the 16 grammar rules that Esperanto has
that you need to know in order to really know this language.
So after an hour, we were speaking Esperanto and I said
'gosh, this is too easy'.
So I said 'OK, challenge number 2, I'll help you learn Slovak,
and of course this would be easier for Lucas than for many other people
because he already spoke 3 Slavic languages
very very well; Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian.
And it took us about a day before we did a recording on video
about how we speak Slovak,
it was just amazing. Whenever I show these to Slovaks,
the conversation after one day, they just cannot believe it,
they say 'this is impossible, no one can learn our language in just one day'.
And Lucas seems to have a method for that, it's a method that he developed
with Jan van der Aa,
who you might know as well, and they call it "Language Boost".
And it's about 500 most frequent words in a vocabulary, in a language
that they learn with example sentences and then using these sentences
and these words,
they can express many many things in very simple terms
and they can communicate with just this 500 words
and then of course they continue learning different vocabulary.
So this is Lucas's approach.
Then I don't know if you've heard about Gabriel Wyner,
and Gabriel has an interesting method based on flashcards,
based on space repetition system.
And what is interesting is that he doesn't use translation at all,
so he uses pictures of things that he can take a picture of
or he uses a cloze test; a word missing in a sentence
when he wants to practice grammar.
And in this way Gabriel managed to learn a lot of languages himself
and he has a very interesting story
about how he actually came up with this method,
but we don't have time for that today, unfortunately.
So this is the flashcard system with no translation.
And then we have Luca Lampariello who bases his learning mainly on translation
and this is interesting, because Luca doesn't use flashcards at all.
He's not a flashcard friend or a flashcard user.
And yeah, it works amazingly for him, he's learned a bunch of languages
to a very high and impressing level,
I think we all know that, and his method seems to be working just as well.
And then I would like to introduce 2 more people to you, Robin McPherson,
I don't know if you met this guy.
He was told several times by his parents, teachers, friends when he was young
that he doesn't have a talent for languages.
He's just not good at languages and probably should dedicate his life
to something else
because languages don't seem to be the thing for him.
Well he proved them wrong later on because today he speaks
a bunch of languages really well on a very fluent level.
And he does this by using a special method which I personally call the
"Dissection method".
I don't know whether he uses it particularly,
but he basically takes a recording on YouTube, for example,
a short video with subtitles in 2 languages
and he dissects it to very little parts, chunks of phrases
that he puts into Memrise
and he keeps learning them over and over and over again
and this way he manages to speak the language very well
after a very short time.
So this is Robin's method.
And finally I'd like to introduce David James who I'm sure many of you know,
"Uncle Dave"
who's not with us at this gathering unfortunately,
but you know him probably from the previous ones.
And David's method is called "the Gold List method",
have you heard about that?
If you haven't check it out, because it's really cool.
I love it and I've been using it for several years and it works amazingly.
You basically just write lists of vocabulary and you re-write them
every 2 weeks or more in order to distil the vocabulary
that you have in your long term memory
and keep re-writing the vocabulary that you still don't.
This is really a fascinating process which works because anytime you rewrite a list,
you find out that your brain has remembered 30% of the vocabulary
and you have it in the long-term memory. It's just an incredible method,
very simple, very easy to use and very effective.
Now we could continue, now this is David's languages that he's learned.
And we can continue with many other polyglots,
many of them are here with us today.
I took just a few random pictures from the last gatherings
and I could have a presentation about every single one of you
and describe the methods that you use and it would be very different, right?
Because everybody has their own system to learning languages
and all these systems seem to work clearly because all of you
have several flags on the nametags; the languages that we can speak.
So what I'm trying to say with this is that every polyglot has their own way
and the question is: "what do these polyglots have in common?", right?
and I'm going to discuss this in the second part,
but firstly I'll just briefly explain my own method.
I'm sorry the discussion would be right after the talk.
So just to briefly explain my methods,
I start with the "bidirectional translation method"
or "the back translation method" as I call it.
So I translate whole text from my mother tongue into the foreign language
so that I can use the phrases and learn them in context,
it's very similar to Luca Lampariello's method.
And afterwards I have 4 pillars of learning a language
and I always keep these 4 pillars
and it's helped me to learn all the languages that I speak today.
First of all, I make sure that my language learning is fun.
If it's not fun, if it's not enjoyable, it's not a method for me.
So that's why I work with materials that I pick myself, I like them,
I'm interested in reading the texts or listening to the recordings etc.
and I do it in a way which is fun for me.
So for example the Gold List method is fun for me,
flashcards, me personally not so much, so I prefer that method.
Secondly, I do a lot of that. I do a lot of learning.
So for example when I watch something, I make sure I go for a lot of TV series
because it has a lot of episodes and in this way
I get to see an episode every single day
and this gives me massive input that I can use
in order to improve my listening comprehension.
This way I have seen all of the episodes of
"Sex and the city, Desperate Housewives, Friends, Lost, ...
you name it in several languages and this is what I do
in order to really understand the languages well.
Thirdly, I decide to work with the language frequently
in small chunks so I learn, for example
half an hour or maybe an hour every day, but rarely more,
because I think it's really more effective to learn in small parts but frequently
really every day for some periods of time.
And finally I have a system in the language learning,
which means that I always pick priorities,
that I have for a certain period of time, 2 or 3 months.
And I work on them a lot, I concentrate on them
so I never develop all the 4 skills at the same time;
writing, reading, listening and speaking.
I always concentrate on what is the most important for me at that period
and I work on that.
Plus I have a system when I do the things that I do
so when I wake up, one of the first things I do is
I distil some vocabulary in the GoldList method,
do some grammar exercises, etc...
And these are the languages that I apply these methods to
and all besides the Slovak sign language that is at the bottom.
I'm able to use more or less fluently today
and this is exactly the goal I am trying to achieve.
I may be a little bit different for many of you in the way
that I don't dabble in languages so I don't learn the basics of
several languages, because I decide to either go for it or not.
You know I don't want to spend a lot of time learning the basics
of a language because I feel that if I don't cross a threshold, where I
use the language fluently, then I would probably lose all of that time
I spent with the language.
And this is why I prefer to really go all the way until I feel comfortable
with the language, I can read books in it,
I can listen to whatever I want and speak to the people.
So now let's get to the main question of this presentation.
What do these polyglots do differently? What do they have in common?
And what is different in their language learning from the way
that languages are learned by the majority language learners, by the
majority of people who are struggling to learn even a single foreign language.
I have 10 things for you, because 10 is a nice number.
So I'll start with the first one and I will clarify that:
Polyglots do not have a special talent for languages
and I think you will agree with me, because this is not
a gathering of super-talented people
who happen to be very lucky to have been born that way.
This is about the approach that we take to language learning
and I have a proof for you to show you that we are not super-talented
because all these people, we have mentioned before
who speak a lot of languages today were not able to speak a foreign language
until they were adults.
Now I'm thinking if these people had the super talent,
wouldn't they have been the best students in class
when they had some lessons of English or whatever language
they were learning at school?
I supposed they would if the talent was there,
it probably would have shown earlier, right?
not at the age of 21, 23 when they started to learn foreign language.
For example, Lucas is from Brazil and he's had several years of English at school
but when he was 17 or 18, he could not speak at all.
He's had several years of English at school just like the time-keepers
but couldn't use the language.
How's that possible? Such a talented language learner,
such a talented polyglot.
So I believe that this really proves, that it's not about the special talent,
it's about something else.
I have a nice quote by Henry Ford who says:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right”.
So I personally decide to believe that
I have the language talent and it works for me.
And so many people out there just tell you
'Ah you speak so many languages, it's so easy for you
but you know me, I just don't have the language gene,
don't have the talent, so I'm not even trying,
it doesn't make any sense'.
Well they will not speak the foreign language,
because they decided that they don't have the talent.
Secondly, I think that every polyglot has their own special method
which I think I've demonstrated in the first part
of the presentation and there is not one good method
that people need to pick, or adopt or repeat by other people,
you need to develop it yourself.
And that's what I said about all of you,
everyone has learned the language in a different way
and probably, hope you'll agree with me,
we even each language in a different way.
So we sometimes go for more listening,
sometimes go for more speaking, sometimes reading, etc...
Thirdly, Polyglots learn languages mostly by themselves.
And I believe that this may be a key difference
in the way polyglots are learned out there
in schools and language schools
and the way that polyglots learn languages.
And this is because people, the majority of people learning a language,
when they want to learn a language, what do they do?
They find a language school or a teacher,
they pay them and expect to be spoon-fed
because they pay the teacher so that the teacher teaches them
and the only thing that they are willing to do
is come to the lesson and wait to be taught.
And I believe this is the whole thing, this is the whole problem
with unsuccessful language learners.
Because if they did not approach language learning like that,
if they were willing to actually give it the effort and the energy
that all of us are giving it, then they would have very different results.
Luca Lampariello put it very nicely when he said that
'Languages cannot be taught, they can only be learned'
and I totally agree with that, because it's just the way it is
and all of us have not simply been taught the languages by very skilled teachers
but we have learned them ourselves.
We may have teachers, we may go to courses,
we may have conversational classes, etc...
there's nothing bad with that,
but it shouldn't be the main thing, the main time we spend with a language.
Fourthly. Polyglots create their own language material.
I think we all, agree to that. We don't have just one book that we follow
when we learn Spanish, we don't just have one book
when we learn Portuguese instead we create the materials that we want to use.
So we create our own flashcards,
our own collection of books,
our own texts or recordings, YouTube videos etc.
Or sometimes we go a little bit over the top
and we collect a bit more books that we're able to use in the language learning.
You all recognise this, your little piles of books
for all the languages you want to learn. I know.
But I think this is still the good approach
even if we overdo it sometimes a little bit.
The fifth point is that Polyglots learn one language at a time.
Now some of you may disagree with me and I'll be happy
to discuss it in the discussion.
My personal opinion is that this is the best way how it works.
My question for you:
How can you learn to speak 10 languages in 2 simple steps?
and I know many of you know the answers
because it was mentioned at the first polyglot conference
in Budapest by Anthony Lauder
who said: "Step 1, you speak 9 languages.
Step 2, you add one." Simple, right?
Now the logical question: "what happens when you want to speak 7 languages?"
You speak six and you add one.
"what happens when you want to speak 5 languages,
you speak four and you add one.
And if you want speak two languages, speak one and add one.
Makes sense, right?
So this is my reply to people asking me
"how can I learn 2,3,5 languages at the same time".
I tell them: "Don't!".
Learn them one by one, it doesn't mean you cannot do anything
with the other languages while you're learning one
but I think you should concentrate on one language
and I personally spend at least 80% of my time with one language
and then I spend maybe 20% with the other ones
to keep them up, etc...
The sixth point is Polyglots spend much more time listening and speaking
than the majority of learners.
And I believe these 2 things are also the key to learning a language well
and to having different results.
Because most people just go for reading, learning vocabulary,
grammar, but nicely in their comfort zone.
But they don't want to speak, because they're not ready yet,
They will speak when they will feel ready
and I believe that listening is probably the most neglected skill
that is used in traditional school language learning system.
I don't know about you but when I was learning English here in Slovakia,
we would have a teacher come with a tape recorder once a week
and play one recording of English and we would do exercises,
listen to it again, that was all the listening I got in the lessons.
And no one told me at that time that I need to listen to much much more
of language material in order to understand English well,
only later did I find that out and now I apply it to all the languages
that I learned.
I just listen, listen, listen to podcasts, to YouTube videos, to TV series
anything I can
because otherwise I would not be able to understand the language
it just doesn't go without that, and I think this is something
that teachers often forget to mention to their students.
And secondly, I believe there is no better activity to help us improve
in the language actively than speaking.
I believe that speaking is the key to actually having different results.
Because once you start speaking, you see the improvement
you've had and motivates you to learn more and get more vocabulary etc...
You activate all the knowledge you have
and that's why I believe this is the no. 1 skill that we should concentrate on
which is often neglected in the traditional school learning system.
There is a moment in the language learning which I totally adore
and that's the moment when I feel free in the language,
you know what I'm talking about?
When you suddenly understand the language,
it doesn't cost you that much energy and it kinda feels your own.
I had it last with Russian, this is the language I'm learning right now.
When I went to Russia after one year of learning,
and I heard people speaking Russian in the street
and I was like 'oh there Slovaks out there' and after a few seconds
'wait, this is Russian' I just happened to understand it so well
that it feels like Slovak or it feels like Polish
which was my other language which I had a good level.
So I really really love this moment and it feels like it's totally worth
spending 1 or 2 years learning the language in order to achieve this level
and just feel OK and free in the language.
Point Number 7 is that Polyglots are not afraid to make mistakes.
Now how does an average language learner feel
when they're supposed to say a sentence in a foreign language
and they might make a mistake.
Something like that, I think everybody knows that feeling, right?
of 'oh my God,I'm going to say a sentence in a foreign language.
What if I make a mistake, oooh tragedy'.
And I think polyglots approach it differently,
they go out there and they make many many many mistakes
because that's the only way to learn, right?
And I feel that we're just at ease, speaking the language
and using it with many mistakes.
Actually this is something one of my students told me
because some of you have been learning Slovak
before coming to the gathering and one of them is Michael Miskot.
and he had a lesson with one of my students
when they were practicing Slovak
and the student said after the lesson: "this was amazing!"
I just saw how Mikel was just so relaxed about speaking the language.
He wasn't worried about making mistakes, just took it easy,
enjoyed the process.
And he was at ease
And he said "it was so inspirational for me to see that,
because I'm always so stressed when I speak English".
And I saw that it can be fun and OK and relax".
And I think this is what we have in common, don't we?
When I had a lesson of Slovak with Steve Kaufman
or with Richard Simcott who have both been learning Slovak.
I saw how OK they were with making mistakes,
they don't worry about that, that's exactly what it takes
in order to improve in your speaking skills.
Point number 8 is that Polyglots have mastered the art of simplification.
I think this is the key to speaking at the beginning
when you don't really have the vocabulary,
when you don't have so many words.
Now as an example, to illustrate how I simplify things
I was learning Spanish, I was just at the beginning
maybe A1 or A2 probably
and I was out with some friends, some Spanish-speaking friends
Erasmus students in Bratislava and we were doing some shopping, etc...
And afterwards, they said they were hungry.
So they asked me:
"Is there any restaurants out there?"
and I was trying to explain to them in Spanish,
my very very limited Spanish.
That "yeah, there is a shopping center nearby
and there is a food court that we can all go to
and we can pick several types of restaurants,
several types of cuisines, you know, and have a good meal".
But with my very limited Spanish, all I said was:
(speaking Spanish) that "there's a lot of food in that house"
and it worked, you know,
I didn't have to say much more.
They all laughed of course, we all laughed together
but I was not worried about making that mistake.
They got the answer they wanted.
So that's the art of simplification isn't it?
And if we apply this to any speaking lesson,
then we can really improve quickly.
This was what Lucas does with his 500 most frequent words in his vocabulary,
he just simplifies all ideas that he wants to express.
So if you get good at this skill, you're good to speak any language
even from Day 1.
Ninth point is that Polyglots learn in small chunks.
And I would like to bust the myth that polyglots spend ages
learning languages that they don't do anything else all day long.
Well , there are days when we're really, all about the language, right?
But usually not. I don't know about you, but I have a life actually.
I don't spend hours learning a language a day,
that would be boring, so I spend maybe an hour,
an hour and a half tops, but I do it every day.
I do it regularly, I do it in small chunks and that way
I know that the progress will come
and it does and it feels very good.
We all know that learning a language is a marathon
not a sprint. So if we try to rush it,
it won't work but if you enjoy the process step-by-step,
much better, much more effective.
And finally, the final point I want to make is that
Polyglots really enjoy learning languages.
And now I know many people would think,
"yeah, that's the thing, language learning is not my hobby
that means I will not a polyglot I will not speak any foreign language well
because you know, I just have other hobbies but not language learning'
but I think this is wrong.
The question is not whether you happen to have
language learning as a hobby, the question is
"How can you make language learning a hobby?"
if you need to learn the language.
And I think there are so many ways, so many beautiful ways
on how to do this, because you can for example watch your favourite series.
I always tell people "watch Friends with English subtitles
or with no subtitles at all in English".
I told these people in Slovakia who were mostly learning Slovak
and they were like "I actually could do that,
I enjoy Friends"
but they said "but what if I don't understand?"
and I said "don't worry about it,
you will later on, just give it a time.
If you need to give it a lot of input it will improve, trust me'
and they come to me after a month or two saying
"I uderstand so much of Friends already, this is cool'.
This is because they enjoy this process of watching series.
You can also read many interesting articles
for example, about healthy lifestyle if that's what interests you.
I tell people "don't go for the texts and the textbooks
"instead find blogs about the topics that you care about
and then this way the learning will be just fun
and you will enjoy it and it would be great."
You can listen to podcasts about traveling for example,
if you're passionate about travelling.
It doesn't need to be a podcast that is meant for language learners,
just try to go for native material, give it a lot of time
and it will put it to work.
You can read books about personal development;
I think that reading non-fiction in the foreign language is so much easier
than reading fiction.
Many people go for these old old books from the 18th-19th century
which I think are pretty difficult to learn,
if you're starting with a language.
But go for Brian Tracy or something like that,
you know, personal development where someone is using
the current language to express ideas, to tell them to you to give you advice,
it will work perfectly.
Or for example you can learn grammar through an app.
It doesn't need to be a book.
I have a good example of a student of mine, Erik Hoffmann,
who is pretty well known as a marketing specialist in Slovakia,
who had a huge problem learning English.
He said he was learning it for 20 years as an eternal beginner.
He couldn't cross the fluency level, he couldn't have a conversation with me.
But afterwards he said "I've improved my English
more in half a year than in 20 years of being an eternal beginner".
How's that possible?
One of the keys for him was to learn grammar through an app.
He said "I really need to improve my grammar but I don't like books"
so I told me 'ok, there is an app', you know,
Murphy's English Grammar in Use, you know the book?
I think the best English grammar there is.
It's an app now, you can download it and do the exercises in the app,
you don't have to go through a book and check the key etc.
And this for him was a revolutionary thing, he was addicted
to learning English for several months and really improved amazingly.
I would like to quote Steve on this one who said
“Success in language learning depends on you finding ways to enjoy
the process” and I totally subscribe to that.
So these are the 10 things which I believe are the key
to learning languages successfully, learning them the way
that polyglots do and I believe that if anyone out there
whether they're talented or not copy these strategies,
they find their own way and just apply these techniques,
they will definitely have to succeed.
And Tony Robbins said “If you always do what you've always done,
you'll always get what you've always got”. Makes sense, right?
And yet the people out there still keep trying the same thing all over again
for many many years. They've been learning English
at language schools and just language schools,
no learning at home for many many years and they think
that if they change the language school, it will work.
But I think the system is just not set correctly,
you need to change your approach to language learning
and that's when you can actually achieve great great change
in results that you have with language learning.
The question is "So what do we do about this?"
There is a huge gap between the way polyglots learn languages
and the way they are taught at schools and language schools,
what do we do about that? So this is the question I've been dealing with
for a long time and my answer to this question is language mentoring.
That is my approach to learning languages.
And you may remember some of you last year at the gathering,
I had a talk about language mentoring, "Don't teach me, make me learn".
Where I explained to you that I had an experiment with a hundred students
at the Comenius University in Bratislava
and I told them: "Don't expect this university to teach you,
go for it and learn yourselves'.
And a miracle happened, a revolution into learning, seriously,
because they started learning and their results were just amazing.
I then continued, after the last gathering that we had in Berlin,
I continued and started to teach these things to people in Slovakia.
I've done a lot of seminars, I'm trying to spread the message
by giving talks all over Slovakia and telling people
that polyglots are not the super-talented people,
you can all the languages yourselves
and it's really really fascinating to see what a change
this makes in many many people's lives.
They write me often emails, actually I quote them, they say
"You've changed my life, because now I've learned this language,
I can use it to go work abroad to communicate with so many people out there
etc, etc..."
And just last week I received a really beautiful email
from a guy that attended one of my talks in Žilina a city in Slovakia,
who said that:
"I've been trying to learn English for such a long time
and it just never never worked.
And when I went to your talk and I heard you say
I don't need a talent to do that, he actually quoted the quote by Henry Ford
“Whether you think you can or you think you can't you're right”
and he said "this totally changed my life.
Now I'm learning English 2 or 3 hours a day and I started going to interviews
in Bratislava looking for a job, and I just enjoy it.
I speak and speak and before I was always stuttering ,
I was not sure of myself and now suddenly it works
and it's amazing so thank you for that, for sharing
this polyglot message with us'.
So I would like to end this presentation with a quote
which all of you have received as a bookmark,
so have it as a little souvenir:
“The best time to start learning a language was when you were a kid.
The second best time is today”.
So I hope this inspires you to keep learning your languages
even though, sometimes it's a lot of hard work,
it's not always fun
,but I hope it helps keep you motivated and inspired.
If you have any questions, I would be very happy to answer them.
Thank you.
So the question is whether in this half hour to one hour a day
that I recommend there is also the other contact with the language.
I think that this one hour of contact a day is enough
whereas most part of that should be active learning,
where you actually sit down and concentrate on that.
But I usually spend 20-30 minutes a day just listening to podcasts,
for example, when I walk, when I do something else.
Usually what happens is that I fall in love with something that I use
for like a material, for example I'm watching "Кухня"
to learn Russian, amazing series, very recommended.
So I make plans, 'OK so I would watch an episode every day'
but then the episode is so good that I actually watch another one.
So it often happens to me that I spend more time with the language,
but it's not planned, it's not part of the system,
but I just enjoy it that way. Thank you.
How can I apply this methodology of teaching this way
on a more structural level?
Yes, I'm working on that. I've just been spending a year on that
so give me some more time.
And actually this can be applied massively to a lot of people.
Now in my current course I have a hundred and twenty people
learning very different languages all at the same time,
and this is the language mentoring group that I have.
It's all online, they don't even need to be in one place.
And they're all improving with their own plan, with their own system
and it seems to be working well, so I'm trying to find ways
to spread this and get more people into this,
but it seems to be working massively pretty well. Thank you.
So the question is what has been the resistance so far
to the methods, that I'm trying to spread.
Well, of course this is not a method for everyone
and as everywhere, there will be haters and people who oppose.
I'm OK with that because I'm not trying to make everyone learn this way,
what I'm trying to spread is that, if there are so many people out there,
polyglots just like all of us who manage to learn languages
then there must be something about their learning
and it's worth looking to those methods in more detail.
But so far I haven't experienced anyone fighting against it
because clearly there's results.
So if someone shows me a different approach which works much better
then I'm open to discuss that of course
but I'm not saying "languages should be learned this way",
all I'm saying is you should spend more time with the language,
make it fun, make it frequent and have a system in that.
And I think no one really opposes this or says that
'oh well this doesn't work'.
People like to add different things that are the most important things
and I'm very open to revising that, but other than that
I don't think people are against that idea in general.
So that's a great idea, that's a call for action.
Let's spread this ideas in other contexts, not just in Slovakia
I totally agree but I actually don't think the context is so different
for Slovakian learners than it is for New Zealand learners.
I know that for you it's not so easy to go to another country
and practise their language, of course.
But people that I'm working with mostly are people that cannot go
to a different country, they have a family here, they work, etc...
Maybe they can go for a week long holiday,
but that's not enough but I think especially with the internet
you don't need to go to another country in order to learn the language.
So with the internet, we can be anywhere,
you know using online teachers for example to practise, etc...
and it that case I think that's very similar.
But yes I agree with you and please share the message on
in New Zealand or anywhere else. Thank you for that.
I am sorry, I am afraid we'll have to end now
One more minute, okay? One more question...
What do you think of total, physical response method for kids
as a starter and do you think we can make this suitable for adults?
I don't know the details of this method, so unfortunately
I cannot tell you much more about that
but I think that any method can be applied within the system.
Like this is not a particular method, but actually whether you
apply flashcards, whether you apply the direct conversational method
or anything else. It can work, if you do a lot of it and you do it frequently.
That would be my answer. OK.
Thank you very much for coming and enjoy the rest of the Gathering.
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Ten things polyglots do differently [EN] - PG 2017

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Huang Yu-Fen published on March 10, 2019
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