Different paths but one common goal

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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.

1. The Language Family-focused polyglot

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). …


It all starts with forgetting one word

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Tons of people learn languages. Few keep at it for long enough.

I love languages so much I often struggle to understand why people give up. Languages are magnificent. Stopping to learn one is giving up on a bright and wide world.

I’ve seen many people give up after reaching a plateau where they could hold basic conversations. They struggle to find a way to get better and stop. There’s a solution to bypass this level.

And it relies on a few mindsets and techniques. Here they are.

Forget the F word

I hate the word “fluency.” It’s caused too much debate for too…


The Alright Writer

I’ve lived with them for years. You don’t have to.

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Publishing your thoughts online is damn scary.

You’re making yourself vulnerable to the readers the moment you press publish. Whether your piece is personal or not doesn’t matter. You’re offering the world the possibility to tell you your thoughts are stupid.

I’ve hesitated to publish tons of articles but I was able to publish the vast majority because I silenced my worries before they became overwhelming. Worries slow you down. Worries prevent you from writing more. Worries block potential feedback.

You can’t get rid of your worries. Instead, you’ll need to learn to live with them to become a better…


How to create it from thin air.

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A recent talk with a friend reminded me of the worst misconception about motivation.

My friend’s girlfriend is Korean. He used to study the language for her but stopped when her French (his native language) got good enough for any type of conversation. Now he’d like to study Korean again but is waiting for a spark to reignite his motivation.

Relying on motivation means accomplishing nothing much.

Whatever you want to accomplish, motivation will be a factor. If it’s the first one you’re waiting for, then you’re in for a life of waiting.

How do you handle your curiosity?

Humans are born curious. We, unfortunately, stop…


The Alright Writer

If you survive the pain of silence, you’ll make it

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Starting to write online is one of the most frustrating things there are.

You think you’ve got interesting ideas to share, amazing discoveries that could change people’s lives, or simply an entertaining way to express common topics. You sit down, write a few hundred words, stop for a moment to worry whether you’re ready, and finally press “publish.”

You wake up the next morning without a single view. You think it might take some time. The next morning, nothing. Days pass and all you can hear is the wind. You give it another go and write a new piece. …


A method that will work for anybody who gives it time

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Every time I see someone give up language learning, my heart breaks.

I love languages. Learning them is fun, exciting, and full of surprises. Breaking the belief I had of being bad at language learning is one of the actions I’m most proud of.

Classes have broken so many people’s dreams of foreign languages. It usually takes years to get over a decade of not-adapted-at-all classes. I was lucky to get the right advice on time.

Once my beliefs were broken, I was able to start afresh. …


So he wouldn’t wait so long to make the best decision of his life.

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I started learning languages seriously after I left high school. My last year of high school had proven I could learn languages since I had finally become fluent in English.

Over a decade later, I now speak 6 languages and have dabbled in a dozen more. I’ve fallen in love with language learning. I now struggle to remember what excited me when I was a teenager.

In the last decade, I’ve met countless people who spoke foreign languages. I even met polyglots who could speak a dozen languages by the time they left high school.

When I look back at…


I’ve spent my life afraid of calling a person “Black” in my native language

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Racism makes no sense to me.

It’s nothing more than fear of the unknown and not trying to know that exact unknown. As a polyglot, I like to think racism would disappear if everybody were a polyglot. I know that won’t happen though.

Nowadays, however, as the different movements for equality keep growing, I am reminded of the relationship I’ve held with the word “Black” in the comfortable neighborhood of suburban Paris where I grew up.

I spent my childhood afraid of using the word “Black”

In French, the word “black” is “noir.” A slang term also exists: “renoi”. It’s only the verlan version of the term. Nothing more. …


You might be pushing away the best decision of your life

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Most people will try one day to learn a foreign language. The vast majority of them will give up within a few months. You might have been one of those.

You might be considering trying it again while thinking you’ll probably give up again. You may even wait until the new year so you can lie to yourself that it’s a “new start” and that “it’ll be different this time.”

The reality is simple. You can start today. You don’t have to wait until a “new start.”

If you’re reading this, you want a sign to give you permission to…


You’ve been trained to follow an inefficient system.

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Streaks can ruin your progress.

I used to love streaks. They made me feel good. They forced me to study. They allowed me to keep going when I felt down. Each checkbox ticked raised my confidence in my capacities.

Unfortunately, the world has made streaks evolve into a black or white situation. You now either keep a daily streak or what you have isn’t considered a streak.

For all the good streaks have brought me, they’ve also ruined my mental health more times than I like to admit. I’ve tired myself out just for the point of that lovely “☑”…

Mathias Barra

French polyglot speaking 6 languages. Writer. Helping you learn languages. Get my new ebook → https://linktr.ee/MathiasBarra

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