For the untrained eye, polyglots all look alike. They speak “many” languages and that’s it. The reality is quite different. There are 3 kinds of polyglots who follow different patterns but follow the same goal: gather knowledge in multiple languages.
The first one, and most often found around the world, is the language-family focused polyglot. These are the people who learn 10 or more languages in 5 years. You could think they are “geniuses”, but they aren’t. Their system is much simpler.
The two most common ones are the “Europe-focused” (1) and “East Asia-focused” (2). …
I remember when I decided to start learning Korean a year after I had become serious with Japanese. I was afraid of the challenge ahead but also excited. I was about to begin a new journey and I knew it was going to be fun considering how awesome learning Japanese had been by then.
In the long-run, I was right. Learning Korean has been a magnificent journey. I’m still on it to this day and enjoy each moment with the language. Looking back though, I didn’t think this through and made the process harder than it needed.
Learning two languages at the same time is often advised against for new language learners. I agree it’s harder than learning one at a time. But if you’re interested in two languages and carefully examined your motivations, then I’d say ‘go for it’. Instead of regretting choosing one over the other, embrace your curiosity. …
For the past decade, the most common excuse I’ve heard for not learning a language is, without a doubt, that they don’t have enough time.
Whenever I hear it, I sigh because I know it’s not true. Unfortunately, it’s a mindset most people have. The only way I’ve found to break this thought pattern is to insert the language into their daily life without changing much.
As the weeks pass by, the language becomes part of them and learning a language becomes more than a wish. …
How often have you gone back to a restaurant you had good memories of and suddenly remembered the food wasn’t tasty? This has happened to all of us at least once and a new study explains why.
In a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers demonstrated we put too much trust in the final memories of experiences. Even though we spent two hours in a restaurant where the food was average and the waiter unpleasant if the last moments were pleasantly memorable, our brain would register the experience as positive.
This isn’t too much of a problem when we’re talking about a meal at a restaurant, but it can have much larger repercussions when it comes to more important decisions. …
On my journey to learn 6 languages, I’ve seen tons of advice to learn languages. Some were incredible. Some were okay. Some were downright awful.
Unfortunately, these “tips” are everywhere online and new language-learners fall for the worst ones often. They follow them and give up quickly, thinking they can’t learn a language. In reality, they’ve just been victims of wrong advice. They can learn a language. Just not from following bad ideas.
These are the 9 worst tips I’ve ever seen, along with what you should do instead to improve your language.
This is by far the worst because it doesn’t even target learners of a language but people considering learning a language. If you choose the “wrong” language, you’re damned before you even start. …
There’s a lot of talk about habits and how to set them nowadays. Unfortunately, the conversation always forgets one crucial aspect of habit building: how to decide which one to work on.
No matter your motivation, you can’t set a habit well if you’re still torn between it and other potential ones. A habit well set needs an unwavering decision first.
When there are countless potential habits available for you to choose from, how can you be 100% sure you made the right decision? Well, here’s a method that works wonders.
Find a few lists of potential habits. It shouldn’t be difficult considering how many exist online but just in case, here’s a way-to-long list. …
Quick note: This doesn’t work well for Chinese due to its thousands of characters
I’ve been learning languages for more than a decade so I don’t need much to want to learn a new language. Hearing the language can trigger a thirst for knowledge in the language. Seeing a beautiful script — like Sinhalese— can light a fire.
When you’re a new language-learner, it’s not as easy. You get lost quickly. You remember your high school classes and tell yourself you can’t do it after all. Some push through this stage and succeed. Most give up right there.
The reason they do isn’t that they can’t do learn a language. It’s that they’ve lost faith in their capacities. And this is where the error comes from. When you start thinking about your capacities, you turn the focus away from the language. You separate yourself from the language when, in reality, learning anything is making it part of you. …
Learning a language is a magnificent journey too many people stop before they even reach the highway entrance. It’s as if they got stuck in a traffic jam as soon as they left their home.
They start with dreams and hopes but, stuck in the traffic jam, they see a way out and go back home, only to wonder what could have been. It makes sense to get lost when you’re learning a language for the first time but the problem is that people think there is such a thing as “a path”.
They walk the path their textbook shows. They try to learn lists of the 1,000 most common words. They do boring exercises. They see other people who improved “faster” and think learning a language isn’t for them. …
Polyglots spend so much time with the languages they learn, their daily thoughts become entangled with them. At any moment, there’s a language lurking in their mind, ready to mess with them.
That’s how polyglots encounter some strange problems. Some of them are more common than others but you can be sure every polyglot will go through most of them.
Let’s dive right in, with the most common of all.
Whether it’s on their phone or computer, it happens all the time. They’ve installed so many languages they’re never on the one they want to use in the moment.
I’ve come to accept this and have set my “main” keyboard to the Korean QWERTY keyboard (can be changed to the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, with one button). Now, I even struggle with the French AZERTY keyboard, my native language! …
From an outside perspective, Japanese people are resilient. When you get to know them enough, you realize that’s not exactly it. Some are, some aren’t, like everywhere else. The difference between those who are and aren’t can be found in one Japanese expression used daily:
What Japanese people mean when they use that expression determines whether they get hung up on negative things or move on. Luckily, I believe most use it for the latter purpose.
You can too. If you decide to do so. Here’s why you should.
This expression can also be written as 仕様がない, using Kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese). In this case, the first two characters mean “way” or “manner”. The second half (“ga nai”) is the subject particle followed by the negation for the verb “to exist”. The combination, therefore, translates to “No way exists”. Change it to a more natural English version and you…