Cómo no olvidar un idioma

Ultreya, y buenos días a todos mis lectores.

Sin duda, un políglota tiene que enfrentarse a dos desafíos: aprender nuevos idiomas y conservar y no olvidar ninguno de ellos; porque si uno no usa el idioma que aprendió, lo olvida y… ¡mucho! Para dar un ejemplo, si uno no cuida su jardín regularmente, la verdura se daña.

Para no olvidar mi español, me escribo regularmente con un “pen-pal”, es decir, un amigo con quien intercambio dos idiomas: alemán y español. Yo siempre escribo en alemán y él en español. Además, hablo por lo menos una vez por semana con alguien en el idioma español. Puede ser un tutor o profesor de italki o alguna otra plataforma. También, siempre me corto el pelo en una peluquería española. Así, no olvido mis conocimientos en el idioma, y aprendo mucho más.

Entiendo que ya es difícil mantener cinco idiomas. ¡Imagínese diez! Yo, dependiendo de lo que signifique hablar, diría que hablo cinco a un nivel bastante alto, y hablo otros dos también, pero no con una fluidez increíble.

Mi consejo es: “Pasito a Pasito, suave suavecito” como dice Luis Fonsi en la canción “Despacito”. Viva el idioma. No sólo es aprenderlo y luego olvidarlo. Use el idioma a lo mejor dos o tres veces por semana. Los idiomas son herramientas increíbles para comunicarnos con los demás, y hay que conservarlos en nuestros cerebros, porque son un tesoro de la humanidad.

¡Hasta la próxima entrada! 🙂

HOW TO WIN THE LOTTERY

Ultreya!

It has been said many times by a lot of polyglots around the world: “Languages have completely changed my life, how I see life, my life got better and better.”

Let’s say you want to win the lottery, and have already wasted hundreds of dollars trying to win it. If you keep doing that, it’s very likely that you’ll end up having spent thousands of dollars without any reward. Think about the fact that language learning is not that expensive. It can be expensive if you have to pay teachers, etc. But if you buy yourself a course, speak to friends, do tandems, use the internet, it’s almost free. And you can win the lottery by doing that.

What do I mean by winning the lottery? Well, instead of filling your wallet with money, you fill your brain with words. The things you’ll experience cannot be replaced by money.

Learn a language, or even two, three or more over the course of some years. A lot of people say that it’s possible to learn several languages at the same time. My suggestion would be to not learn more than two simultaneously.

What would you do if you had to learn five languages over the course of ten years? Would you start tackling every single one at once, or would you start with one, and then add a language every two years? I would go for the latter example because it makes more sense to me.

Choose a language. Make sure you like the sound of it. Make a list, write down 10 reasons why you want to learn this language. You should read them when you don’t feel like studying anymore. Start small. Spend more and more time with the language, and do it regularly. It’s better to do 30 minutes a day than to spend an entire Sunday studying your target language.

I can assure you, it will change your life. It will change your perspective, the way you see things. You’ll start to understand more and more things, and probably even get a better job with a better salary.

One final tip: the earlier you tackle difficulties, the easier it gets. The bigger the effort, the bigger the reward.

I wish you all good luck with your studies!

WHY YOU CAN LEARN ANY LANGUAGE

Hello dear readers!

As the title says, in this article I want to convince you that you can learn any language, even if it’s an extremely different language to your own native tongue. Do you believe me? If not, let me break it down for you.

I was born in Rome, Italy. After four months there, my parents decided to move back to Switzerland. Had I stayed there, I would have obviously learned Italian. Until now I cannot hold a conversation in Italian because I’ve never learned it. The same goes for any child born somewhere in the world. Let’s suppose you were born in Sevilla, Spain. After eight months in Spain, your parents got a job opportunity in Japan. They both grew up in Japan, speak fluent Japanese and now they move back there. At home in Japan, they’d only speak Japanese with you, so you’d lose your Spanish completely. Your brain would have adapted itself to the envirement, to the language that’s being spoken where you live, to the language that flows in and out of your head.

Do you get it? You can learn any language, you just need to expose yourself to it. It doesn’t matter how different the language might be to your native one. You can learn Vietnamese, Xhosa, Thai, Mongolian, Finnish, Somali, Zulu, really any language. There are no limits. You can learn whatever you want if you have the proper mindset. Attitude is altitude. Don’t let anybody set your limits. Someone’s opinion on you does not have to become your own reality. The only limits are those that you set yourself. Dream big, think big, but start small, that’s right, start small. Step by step, inch by inch, minute after minute.

I wrote an article a few months ago called ,,How attitude affects language learning”. Head over to the front page to find the post listed among others on the right.

Please tell me in the comments what language you’re going to learn now that you’ve read this article. A language that you thought was too difficult for you? A language that everybody says is impossible to learn and don’t even give it a shot? I want to know!

Happy language learning everybody! Greetings from Switzerland.

HOW I LEARN LANGUAGES

Hello! 🙂
A lot of people ask me how I learn languages. What are the first steps that I take? Well, in this article I want to tell you how exactly I go about my sweeties.

1. I make sure that I’m motivated and that I like the sound of the language. If this is not the case, I will probably quit, so it’s important to know why you’re learning a language. Maybe I have a friend that speaks the language that I want to learn. This, for example, can be a major boost. Always know why you’re doing something, and then all hell’s going to break loose, in the good sense! 😉

2. I get hold of a language course and listen, read, work through the textbook and do grammar drills. I want to stress the fact that I do little grammar, I prefer listening and speaking.

3. I learn the most basic verbs to get started and conjugate them. For this I usually buy a book where I can find all the conjugations I need. I write them down and combine them with other words I’ve already learned.

4. I listen an awful lot. This helps me to get used to the rhythm of the language. For me that’s a key factor. I learn grammar by listening, mostly, I don’t like strictly grammar based approaches. When we learned our first mother tongue when we were children, did we do grammar exercises? No, we listened and through this activity we learned grammar. I listen to podcasts, YouTubers, interviews and other sources of audio input.

5. I make a lot of mistakes. Now, you might strive for perfection, but in language learning perfection doesn’t exist. There’s always more to learn. I myself strive for perfection, but to reach such a high level you have to make an awful lot of mistakes. It takes years to get to a level of perfection. I’d say after having lived 15 years in a country, you might have reached a native like level, unless you’re a beast and learn extremely quickly. But for most people, it takes years. It is impossible to not make mistakes. Let’s suppose your learning Japanese. Japanese has a completely different word order, so you will automatically make a lot of mistakes, although you’re trying not to. The language you’re learning is not yours yet, you’re not familiar with the grammar rules, so you will end up making mistakes and run across disappointments. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, it will happen and it’s absolutely normal. I try to make as many mistakes as I can. Of course, I don’t want to, but it’s a natural process. The more mistakes you make, the better you’ll get.

6. I revise the words that I’ve learned on a daily basis. I like to use a little book where I write them down and before going to sleep I read them out loud. Not only do I jot down words, no, I always like to see words in a context. So instead of just writing down the raw words, I create sentences. Luca Lampariello, my greatest inspiration, talks about the fact that only uttering or learning just one word is not the way it works. You have to see the word in a context. ,,Context is absolutely king in language learning”, he says. He also stresses the fact that reading is extremely important when it comes to learning a language efficiently. By reading you don’t only focus on one word, no, you see the whole and you’re basically applying the technique I just revealed, which is to see words in a given context. Check out his blog, you can read the article in English and German.

Forget it: the secret of remembering words

7. When I completed half the language course, or earlier, depending if it’s a language of the same language family as my mother tongue or to a language that I’ve already learned, I start talking to native speakers. At that stage, I’m still working with the book but mostly I spend time talking to native speakers or asking them how you could say this or that. I write down sentences and words that I think are important.

8. I vary my activities. Not only do I learn with books, no, with audio input, watching YouTube videos, watching movies, reading but most importantly I talk to people in their language, even though I make a lot of mistakes. I might also play Habbo in various languages, which is a virtual world, basically like Sims, where you can chat to improve your skills.

That’s it. It’s as simple as it seems. Happy language learning everyone! 🙂

THE GREATEST POLYGLOT ALIVE

Hello everyone!
Today I want to write a little something about my opinion on who’s the greatest polyglot alive. Now, I think that language learning is not a competition. Sadly, there are some people who think that they’re competing with others, but in my opinion this is nonsense. Language learning, if you ask me, is about having fun and discovering a whole new culture, a whole new world through people we meet. There is no number one. However, there’s a lot of great polyglots I admire. They’re my inspirations and without a doubt each and everyone unique. They use different techniques as to how they learn their languages.

I would like to introduce you to the world of polyglots in this article. The order of the following polyglots is random and does not say anything about them.

1. LUCA LAMPARIELLO
2. FELIX WANG (loki2504)
3. STEVE KAUFMANN
4. OLLY RICHARDS
5. VLADIMIR SKULTETY
6. RICHARD SIMCOTT
7. ALEX RAWLINGS
8. ANTHONY LAUDER
9. MOSES MCCORMICK (loashu505000)
10. Tim Doner (Polyglot Pal)

They all speak at least 9 languages. In fact, Moses Mccormick claims to have studied over fifty. If I forgot you, that doesn’t mean that you’re not a great polyglot whatsoever. Each and everyone of us can be a polyglot. Those are all the polyglots that came to my mind that one can find on YouTube.
Now, choose a few and keep watching their videos. You’ll learn a lot! If you really want to, you can be the next hyperpolyglot, and maybe you’ll end up being listed or mentioned here one day.

Happy studying everyone! Have a nice day! 🙂

VARY YOUR ACTIVITIES TO LEARN A LANGUAGE MORE EFFICIENTLY

Hello there! 🙂
I think we all agree that, when learning a language, one has to use a book or at least a pencil and a piece of paper. At the initial stage, this is necessary. Now you might say that you only want to listen to a language and learn words by listening, but I think orthography plays a huge role, especially when learning a language with another writing system.
I think that only learning from books is not the key to a successful language learning. Instead of only learning grammar, which you probably don’t like that much, vary your activities, or as Einstein used to say: ,,Stop doing what you did before and do something else.”

Here are a few examples:

1. LISTEN TO INTERVIEWS OF YOUR IDOL IN YOUR TARGET LANGUAGE
If you like soccer e.g. why don’t you watch an interview of Cristiano Ronaldo in Portuguese?

2. LISTEN TO MUSIC
It’s a great way to combine your vocabulary that you’ve already learned with a song! I don’t recommend rap, unless you’re at a advanced stage.

3. TALK TO AMAZING PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD
That’s what I love to do. Knowing more about cultures and accents is interesting! You can even find your future wife or husband from the country where the language is spoken.

4. WATCH MOVIES AND YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Combine your knowledge with fun videos or movies. I myself have watched ‘Finding Nemo’ in over seven languages. If you’re learning French, I’d recommend ”Normanfaitdesvidéos” and ”Cyprien” on YouTube. I had such a great time watching their comedy videos! Search for their names, you will not regret it!

5. READ
Read whatever you like. The best piece of advice I can give you is to read your favorite genre. Don’t read classics that you don’t like. Entertain yourself with texts that aren’t too complicated.

Alright, keep studying guys! Not only with books, no, also by applying the five points that I mentioned above! Good luck with your studies! 🙂

HOW ATTITUDE AFFECTS LANGUAGE LEARNING

Hello everyone!

Your attitude towards language learning is absolutely paramount. If you don’t have the right attitude, things might get difficult, even though it is absolutely possible to learn the language.

In German, there’s a saying which literally translates into ”this seems like Spanish to me”, meaning that something is very difficult. If I had listened to all those people who say that, as a German native speaker, it is very difficult to learn Spanish, I would have never learned Spanish and never reached a B2/C1 Level.

Bildergebnis für wake up determined satisfied

Apply this little anecdote to your language learning. Let’s say you want to learn Hungarian, Polish, Japanese or Mandarin Chinese. All these languages are conceived as difficult. You need to get rid of rumors and assumptions. Change your perspective. Instead of saying: ”I’m not even going to try to tackle Mandarin Chinese Characters and sounds”, change your attitude. It takes more effort to learn Mandarin Chinese, it’s true, but absolutely doable. You can master the hardest languages in the world by changing your attitude and by not listening to the naysayers.

I wish you good luck with your studies and a wonderful day.
YOU CAN LIVE YOUR DREAM!

5 THINGS THAT YOU’LL NEED TO LEARN A LANGUAGE

Hello everyone!
Now, you might feel disappointed as you continue to learn a language. You might feel like ”gosh, this is boring. Why am I doing this. Man, now I’ve got to study again, this is tiring.” When you reach such a point, you have to remind yourself why you’re doing this.

1. Motivation: Think of the people you’ll meet when you have reached a level that is equal to a level high enough to talk to natives. Maybe you’ll find a girlfriend in this country where the language is spoken, amazing friends or even a wife! Think of the moments that you will have, but if you quit, you’ll end up not knowing amazing people and even more disappointed.

2. Patience: Being patient can be hard, but the truth is that you can’t learn a language in a matter of a day. It takes time. Be patient and enjoy the process. Instead of working on your language skills twice a month, do it regularly. With that approach, you can learn much faster.

3. Consistency: Do a bit every day. You need to feed your brain. You can learn one word a day, review all flashcards at the end of the week and eventually get fluent in a short period of time.

4. Discipline: The word says it all. Be courageous.

5. Time: One thing, and I can hear this very often, is that people claim to not have time to learn a language. The truth is, it’s not about not having the time but to make the time. There are definitively several time slots in your life that you can use to learn a language.

I wish you all good luck with your studies and keep studying guys, it’s worth it! 😀

WHY I LEARN LANGUAGES

Hello dear friends! 🙂
Having watched my videos, you might be wondering why I learn languages. Isn’t it torturous to study languages? Why the heck does he do that? It’s not fun!
Well, to be honest, for me it is fun. I like to learn languages to escape reality, so to say. Some take drugs, smoke weed, go to parties, but instead of getting drunk or whatever, I listen to a language that makes me feel much better. For me, certain languages have a certain aura that no human has. Instead of getting high on cocaine, I get high on Portuguese for example, or Swedish. Whenever I choose to pick up a new language, I make sure that when I listen to it, it gets me hooked and high. I’ve been high on many languages. Also on languages that I can’t understand. I’m having a blast for example when I listen to Arabic. I don’t know Arabic, but still, I love the sound. It’s so interesting to me. And I also love the fact that basically no one here can understand it.

To make the long story short: No, it is not torturous. The beauty of discovering a language comforts me and I love it. As for you, when learning a language, think of the ability to speak to natives and interacting with them. You can’t climb the mountain thinking ”damn, it’s too long. I’m going to give up”. Think of the different stages that you will encounter, the steps as you walk towards your goal. Dreams and goals can only be reached with discipline and consistency.

I wish you a wonderful day! Keep studying guys, it’s wort it! 🙂