How to become a polyglot

polyglot1280

How to become a polyglot

Benny

 

 

What is a polyglot?

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is How can I become a polyglot like you? A polyglot is someone who can speak several languages. You can see me demonstrate the ones that I know in the compilation video above. You can see the full version of all of those videos in several different languages on my videoblog. [Edit: Here's a much cooler video I made in 8 languages]

While it may seem impressive in the Anglophone world, multilingualism is quite normal in many cultures. Out of the places that I’ve been to, the west of Ireland has several bilingual individuals (Irish and English), Quebec has plenty who speak both French and English perfectly, Catalonia has Spanish and Catalan natives, a lot of Europeans speak 3 or more languages quite fluently, and many Indians I met spoke an impressive 5 or more Indian languages (as well as English), which can be extremely different compared to one another.

In my attempt to expand my horizons and try my best to get to know a country’s culture, learning its language it’s just a natural step to take, which I’ve repeated several times. Today I’ll give you some points on how to do that if you are trying it yourself!

Motivation to be a polyglot

If you are learning several languages for the wrong reasons and go for quantity rather than quality, without appreciating each one, then all you will really get is a basic staggering command over an “impressive” number of languages.

This is hardly worthy of praise (which in itself is horrible motivation), and is just an excuse to have bragging rights. My priority has always been quality over quantity and this is why I keep coming back to languages that I already know, to bring my level up a bit more, and especially to make sure that it doesn’t slip down.

The start of my interest in languages started in Spain. I met this fascinating Brazilian guy who had a perfect American accent on his English, lovely Spanish, flowing French and, of course, Portuguese.

We were part of an international exchange program for engineers and architects and we would all socialise together, and he would turn his head between several of us and flick between each of his languages with perfect ease, and converse with people in their native language.

This was the coolest thing that I had ever seen! My plans to go back to Ireland to study for a Masters were thrown out the window, and my life appreciating languages began.

Even though the only language that I spoke was English, I wanted to become a polyglot and I have been committed to that mission ever since! I had plenty of work ahead of me and spent months trying to speak Spanish without making any progress until I figured out the obvious problem that most people don’t seem to get, but after years of work with several other languages, I feel like I can now safely call myself a polyglot too.

As I keep saying on this blog, this is not down to any kind of natural talents, genetic heritage, lucky horseshoes or alien experimentation. It’s just from treating the problem scientifically and using the right study methods and applying the right attitude, which anyone else can do too.

So here are a few of my pointers if you would ultimately like to become a polyglot too some day!

Some suggestions

  • Your first foreign language (if you don’t already speak one) should be as straightforward to learn as possible. The priority is to learn how to think in a foreign language. After your first one, the next one can be dramatically easier if your learning approach was efficient enough the first time; getting over the mental barrier of accepting that you can communicate in a foreign language is the most important step you may ever make in terms of language learning, and is a harder realization to make than you may think. Western European languages are pretty good candidates to start with because of certain similarities with English (however, see the third point below). If you have any language you are particularly passionate about, then go for it.
  • If you are just generally interested in being a polyglot, and aren’t sure which language to go for first, then I highly recommend ESPERANTO, the most widely spoken constructed language and definitely among the easiest languages in the world. There are lots of meetings in each country entirely in this language and you can learn it very quickly without needing to worry about complicated grammar and vocabulary, while meeting some excellent open minded people, both in person and online. Every other language has irregularities that may be frustrating to get your head around, especially as your first language; so it’s great not to have to worry about this and focus on pure communication. The Lernu site is an excellent place to start learning Esperanto. Studies have shown that time invested in learning Esperanto can actually speed up your overall language learning progress, so even if you aren’t that interested in Esperanto itself, in the long-term learning this will speed you along to the path to becoming a polyglot!
  • I’ve already said it, but this deserves repetition: You should be passionate about each language. Don’t just add a language to your list because it would be cool. Apart from Esperanto, most languages involve a huge amount of studies and work and this can be disheartening and you may very simply give up unless you have several reasons to continue trying. I only learned this lesson this summer myself, since every other language I tried before Czech were for a huge number of personal reasons.
  • Only learn one language at a time. I have come across very few people who have been able to learn two (or more) languages simultaneously. I personally could never do this; the danger of confusing them would be too great. Spreading yourself thin is another way of not giving each language the attention it deserves.
  • Practise all languages as often as possible. Although you should only learn one language at a time, once you reach intermediate stage, the risk of confusing it is greatly reduced, so now you can switch between languages as often as you like! In my summer in Prague, even though I was learning Czech, I already spoke French so it wasn’t harming my Czech studies so much (other than less time devoted to Czech) to host Couchsurfers from France and casually chat to them in French in the evenings to make sure my conversational level was being maintained. There is obviously no point in working so hard to learn a language if you will just forget it as you learn the next one. As much practise as possible is needed!
  • Staying in the same language family greatly reduces your workload. I don’t want to suggest that you don’t expand your horizons to Asian and other languages, but the order in which I learned languages made it so much easier to continue to the next one with much less work. After Spanish (first language), I learned Italian, which is very understandable to Spanish speakers despite being quite different. After Italian, I went on to French, which is surprisingly similar to Italian (especially written), despite sounding completely different. After French I tried Portuguese. The amount of work required to become fluent was reduced each time. Out of all of these languages, although the French would love for me to say theirs was the hardest, Spanish was by far the hardest for me, simply because it was the first one. Each one after that also involved a huge amount of work, but that work was reduced each time as I learned how to learn. All of these languages are of course part of the Latin family. I am slowly getting into the Slavic family now that I have some Czech, and will be looking at the family itself as a long-term project including individual languages that I particularly want to speak. The same language family means that you will have a huge amount of grammar and vocabulary already learned if you go to another language in the same family. Languages within a family are very different and unique, but it is “easier” to learn several of them and this is a “shortcut” that polyglots like me have used, although be under no illusion that you will always have a huge amount of work to do!!
  • Study each language the right way. There are good methods to learn a language quickly and efficiently. I’ve written about some of my suggestions; if your study methods and attitude aren’t good enough to learn one language, there’s no way you can learn several!
  • Be clear about why you want to be a polyglot. If it’s just for bragging rights you will be very unlikely to succeed, as I mentioned above. I personally like to get to know cultures in my travels almost entirely by speaking with regular people who don’t necessarily have to speak English (which is not so common outside of touristy zones in many places), so speaking several languages is a natural part of this since I travel a lot.
  • Know when it’s time to start the next language. Once you reach intermediate or higher in one language, if your ultimate goal is to speak several languages. You need to know when it’s time to move on (while making sure you will be able to maintain that language). This is a tough decision to make because you will have to learn to…
  • Be ready to feel very stupid! Yes, you will have to be open to feeling like an idiot… several times over! When you learn any language for the first time, you have to feel like a child who can’t communicate fully in the early stages and this can be very frustrating. Now imagine finally reaching fluency and being so proud of yourself after all your hard work… and then suddenly being right back at square one again when you start the next language! I wouldn’t suggest becoming a polyglot if you want to feel smart! This can be an extremely frustrating experience, and even after doing it 8 times over I will never stop feeling frustrated at times in the learning stages. I have had to embrace the learning stage and fully appreciate it (why I blog about it so passionately), because no matter how “good” I get in one or even several languages, I’m still a complete idiot when I start the next one. I get a few comments on this blog calling me a “genius”, but polyglots are a dime a dozen in this world; it is just less common for native English speakers to speak several languages. Break the trend, but don’t expect people to be giving you any medals! Even if you were to speak dozens of languages, it isn’t that impressive to listeners as you stumble your way through the latest one ;). This challenge is what makes it all the more fun!
  • Bring your entire focus back to languages you’ve already learned. This is what I’m currently doing with my Portuguese. It’s also a good excuse for me to return to my favourite country! Although I mentioned above that you could move on after reaching intermediate stage (however a higher level is more desirable before stopping), you should never consider your studies in a single language complete. There will always be more to learn!

I’ve got several other tips for how to become a polyglot, and on how not to confuse languages. But they deserve a post in themselves, so I’ll be coming back to this topic later ;). If you have any of your own suggestions on how to become multilingual, do share them! I hope you liked my multilingual video!

Interested how I do it exactly? Check out Fluent in 3 Months Premium - the essential guide to speak another language fluently in the shortest possible time.

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is How can I become a polyglot like you? A polyglot is someone who can speak several languages. You can see me demonstrate the ones that I know in the compilation video above. You can see the full version of all of those videos in several different languages on my videoblog. [Edit: Here's a much cooler video I made in 8 languages]

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  • Kathryn

    Benny,
    I love your blog so much! I am currently studying Spanish and have started French while I am earning money in the states to go abroad and become more fluent in Spanish. I read a lot in both languages, and I’m ok at listening comprehension, but what I struggle with is speaking with native adults. I feel embarassed before I even open my mouth that my accent is bad, they will not be able to understand me, I will mess up, etc..I know this fear is silly because that’s what language learning takes, and I have only gotten more afraid since I started studying Spanish almost a year ago. Do you have any advice for how to loosen up with native speakers and not be afraid to sound like a foreigner?

    Thank you again for your posts. They make me excited for my future adventures in other countries.
    Ciao!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

      Hi Kathryn! Thanks for your comment :)
      So, the problem you are having is purely psychological rather than linguistic. You are looking at mistakes as absolutely untouchable and avoid-at-all-costs territory. The problem is that the “best” way to avoid mistakes is to not speak at all and this reinforces your worries.
      I’d suggest you take a completely different look at mistakes. This is an extremely important concept that I’ll be writing a whole post about later. You should try to embrace mistakes and actually intentionally make as many mistakes as you can per minute (this may sound unbeneficial, but in making so many mistakes you will actually be communicating and getting over your shyness to speak, which is much more important than remaining stagnant in your learning progress).
      As a metaphor, I can tell you some advice I gave to a guy I was out with who was too shy to ask girls out. He was too afraid of getting a no. So I told him to try a different approach; to approach as many girls as he could and try to be his normal charming self and to just enjoy the conversation, expecting to get a no at the end. I told him that I wanted no less than 10 “no”s from him that night. After 4 nos he started talking with a girl and hit it off with her, he said that he lost his inhibitions because getting a yes was no longer the goal; it was just to enjoy the conversation :)
      I’d suggest the same thing for you; the goal is not to avoid mistakes, since this is a natural part of language learning. Go into the conversation, knowing that you’ll make mistakes and learn to take it in your stride :) It may be crazy, but give yourself mistake goals!! Start a conversation with someone with something like “Hi! My name is Kathryn and I am hoping to make 20 mistakes in Spanish in just 5 minutes and I need your help to point them out to me!!” Turning it into a game may help you naturally learn to change your negative and fearful attitude to making these mistakes.
      As to sounding like a foreigner, let me tell you another anecdote; when I was nearly at the peak of my studies in Czech I went out with some other learners. Their Czech was amazing; perfect grammar, a wide range of vocabulary and lots of turns of phrase, and I was still way behind. But do you know which one of us the native said spoke more fluently? Me!! Despite the fact that I was making way more mistakes, I ploughed through them and ignored them and kept the conversation flowing. My other learner friends on the other hand, would stop mid sentence to recall the exact word case ending, and would pause and say “ummmm” to try to search for a more appropriate word etc. “what” they were saying was flawless, but the way they were saying it was unnatural, and mine was actually more “fluent”.
      Fluency is about flow, not lack of mistakes. Remember that and you will speak fluently with your Spanish right now :)
      Best of luck!

  • Kathryn

    Benny,
    I love your blog so much! I am currently studying Spanish and have started French while I am earning money in the states to go abroad and become more fluent in Spanish. I read a lot in both languages, and I’m ok at listening comprehension, but what I struggle with is speaking with native adults. I feel embarassed before I even open my mouth that my accent is bad, they will not be able to understand me, I will mess up, etc..I know this fear is silly because that’s what language learning takes, and I have only gotten more afraid since I started studying Spanish almost a year ago. Do you have any advice for how to loosen up with native speakers and not be afraid to sound like a foreigner?

    Thank you again for your posts. They make me excited for my future adventures in other countries.
    Ciao!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

      Hi Kathryn! Thanks for your comment :)
      So, the problem you are having is purely psychological rather than linguistic. You are looking at mistakes as absolutely untouchable and avoid-at-all-costs territory. The problem is that the “best” way to avoid mistakes is to not speak at all and this reinforces your worries.
      I’d suggest you take a completely different look at mistakes. This is an extremely important concept that I’ll be writing a whole post about later. You should try to embrace mistakes and actually intentionally make as many mistakes as you can per minute (this may sound unbeneficial, but in making so many mistakes you will actually be communicating and getting over your shyness to speak, which is much more important than remaining stagnant in your learning progress).
      As a metaphor, I can tell you some advice I gave to a guy I was out with who was too shy to ask girls out. He was too afraid of getting a no. So I told him to try a different approach; to approach as many girls as he could and try to be his normal charming self and to just enjoy the conversation, expecting to get a no at the end. I told him that I wanted no less than 10 “no”s from him that night. After 4 nos he started talking with a girl and hit it off with her, he said that he lost his inhibitions because getting a yes was no longer the goal; it was just to enjoy the conversation :)
      I’d suggest the same thing for you; the goal is not to avoid mistakes, since this is a natural part of language learning. Go into the conversation, knowing that you’ll make mistakes and learn to take it in your stride :) It may be crazy, but give yourself mistake goals!! Start a conversation with someone with something like “Hi! My name is Kathryn and I am hoping to make 20 mistakes in Spanish in just 5 minutes and I need your help to point them out to me!!” Turning it into a game may help you naturally learn to change your negative and fearful attitude to making these mistakes.
      As to sounding like a foreigner, let me tell you another anecdote; when I was nearly at the peak of my studies in Czech I went out with some other learners. Their Czech was amazing; perfect grammar, a wide range of vocabulary and lots of turns of phrase, and I was still way behind. But do you know which one of us the native said spoke more fluently? Me!! Despite the fact that I was making way more mistakes, I ploughed through them and ignored them and kept the conversation flowing. My other learner friends on the other hand, would stop mid sentence to recall the exact word case ending, and would pause and say “ummmm” to try to search for a more appropriate word etc. “what” they were saying was flawless, but the way they were saying it was unnatural, and mine was actually more “fluent”.
      Fluency is about flow, not lack of mistakes. Remember that and you will speak fluently with your Spanish right now :)
      Best of luck!

  • Weijin

    Hi Benny, I stumbled across your blog by accident, probably due to the very catchy name of your blog. I think that you’re doing a good job with this blog and I totally share your enthusiasm with languages. Keep it up!

    One quick question: Have you decided not to pursue the EMCI course and hence not to be a conference interpreter? The reason is that I find myself drawn to the idea of working as an interpreter. I’m an engineering graduate as well and you have encouraged me to not see that as an obstacle to working in the language industry.

    I’m currently studying German, initially through the Open University and then now just hopefully on my own. I’m probably at around level B1-ish. I’m toying with the idea of studying Estonian next, hopefully giving me a more unique language combination.

    I find learning languages quite natural to me as I’ve grown up with 3 languages, although English is my dominant language. I used to be able to code-switch between them but since I moved here to monolingual Britain, the opportunites to speak them has reduced and my ability to code-switch has gone downhill as well.

    Have fun in Brazil and by the way, the weather back here in the UK/Ireland is starting to get gloomy again so enjoy! Warning: Tan responsibly! :D

    PS If you know anyone working as EU conference interpreters that are approachable, could you please put me in touch with them? I’d like to pick their brains about how it’s like and if I’m actually suited to the job. I seriously don’t mind hopping over to Brussel sprouts and meeting them. :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

      Hmm… still no comments on this post itself? Thought at least someone would be interested in becoming a polyglot :P
      The EMCI course was a long term plan for me, and that plan itself gave me lots of motivation to learn languages, for which I am very pleased. For the moment I can’t see myself going for it in the next few years; it was also partially motivation to be able to live in Tenerife, but I made that dream come true without needing a university course to take me there.
      Generally, I wouldn’t take becoming an interpreter lightly. It is an extremely demanding job and can be very stressful, tiring and thankless. The demand (especially in Europe) is very high so you can be guaranteed good wages, but I prefer my current location independence, so for the moment I won’t be working towards that.
      You didn’t say what languages you speak, but I certainly hope they are better than your German. To be frank, B1 is way, WAY off being enough. You should consider it a possibility in a few years time and only if you actually live in Germany enough to reach C2 level. I didn’t even consider applying for the EMCI course until I had been confirmed C2 superior level in Spanish by the Instituto de Cervantes. Your level in the source language needs to be excellent, not “good”.
      I’m not sure what you mean by “code switch”. I’ve never come across the term before.
      Rather than put you in touch with interpreters who I know who wouldn’t be so interested in talking about this, I suggest you find online forums about translation and interpretation, such as the one at Proz, and ask advice there! ;)
      Hope you enjoy my blog. All the best!

      • Weijin

        Thanks for your comments, Benny.

        I know that my language level in German is definitely not enough. I’m thinking of doing a 6 month stint in Germany to hopefully polish up my German towards the end of next year albeit not to C2 level yet. I know that it takes years and years before I can even think of applying for the EMCI course. An additional note to make is that I don’t speak enough EU languages to meet the minimum requirement as of yet.

        Code switching is doing what one of your Brazillian friends does, switching between languages and thinking and expressing yourself in that language itself. E.g. Speaking in French then changing to English immediately without hesitation and loss of language quality.

        I speak English, Malay and a Chinese dialect from South China (it’s quite different to Mandarin). I grew up in Malaysia and most people there speak at least 2 if not 3 languages; English, Malay, one of the Chinese dialects or Standard Mandarin, and/or Tamil (an Indian language from the south of India). I would consider myself a polyglot just by chance of birth location (under your genetic heritage heading) :) I have had full access to and the need to speak these languages. I think that the most powerful motivation is either the real need to use the language or the perceived need to use it that fuels one’s motivation.

        I feel that languages come quite easily to me because of my background. The 3 languages that I have been exposed to when I was young were from 3 totally different family trees and my brain is used to it not expecting the same language structure in each language I encounter. I normally throw myself into the deep end. I used to read German news articles when I started and flicked through other German websites as well to expose myself to how it’s used in real life.

        Some of your polygot suggestions are quite good, especially the practising one. I feel that in order to improve or learn any language constant use with proper form will definitely help. I would like to add that if someone would like fluent knowledge of the language that they’re learning, the best and most productive way is through immersion in the country itself. Your tips such as not speaking your native tongue and trying to meet more locals are much more important than even attending formal lessons. You learn so much more organically by attempting to speak to locals; be it their mannerisms, their way of thinking, their choice of words, their intonation etc. You can never learn this through books.

        Bis später!

  • Weijin

    Hi Benny, I stumbled across your blog by accident, probably due to the very catchy name of your blog. I think that you’re doing a good job with this blog and I totally share your enthusiasm with languages. Keep it up!

    One quick question: Have you decided not to pursue the EMCI course and hence not to be a conference interpreter? The reason is that I find myself drawn to the idea of working as an interpreter. I’m an engineering graduate as well and you have encouraged me to not see that as an obstacle to working in the language industry.

    I’m currently studying German, initially through the Open University and then now just hopefully on my own. I’m probably at around level B1-ish. I’m toying with the idea of studying Estonian next, hopefully giving me a more unique language combination.

    I find learning languages quite natural to me as I’ve grown up with 3 languages, although English is my dominant language. I used to be able to code-switch between them but since I moved here to monolingual Britain, the opportunites to speak them has reduced and my ability to code-switch has gone downhill as well.

    Have fun in Brazil and by the way, the weather back here in the UK/Ireland is starting to get gloomy again so enjoy! Warning: Tan responsibly! :D

    PS If you know anyone working as EU conference interpreters that are approachable, could you please put me in touch with them? I’d like to pick their brains about how it’s like and if I’m actually suited to the job. I seriously don’t mind hopping over to Brussel sprouts and meeting them. :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

      Hmm… still no comments on this post itself? Thought at least someone would be interested in becoming a polyglot :P
      The EMCI course was a long term plan for me, and that plan itself gave me lots of motivation to learn languages, for which I am very pleased. For the moment I can’t see myself going for it in the next few years; it was also partially motivation to be able to live in Tenerife, but I made that dream come true without needing a university course to take me there.
      Generally, I wouldn’t take becoming an interpreter lightly. It is an extremely demanding job and can be very stressful, tiring and thankless. The demand (especially in Europe) is very high so you can be guaranteed good wages, but I prefer my current location independence, so for the moment I won’t be working towards that.
      You didn’t say what languages you speak, but I certainly hope they are better than your German. To be frank, B1 is way, WAY off being enough. You should consider it a possibility in a few years time and only if you actually live in Germany enough to reach C2 level. I didn’t even consider applying for the EMCI course until I had been confirmed C2 superior level in Spanish by the Instituto de Cervantes. Your level in the source language needs to be excellent, not “good”.
      I’m not sure what you mean by “code switch”. I’ve never come across the term before.
      Rather than put you in touch with interpreters who I know who wouldn’t be so interested in talking about this, I suggest you find online forums about translation and interpretation, such as the one at Proz, and ask advice there! ;)
      Hope you enjoy my blog. All the best!

      • Weijin

        Thanks for your comments, Benny.

        I know that my language level in German is definitely not enough. I’m thinking of doing a 6 month stint in Germany to hopefully polish up my German towards the end of next year albeit not to C2 level yet. I know that it takes years and years before I can even think of applying for the EMCI course. An additional note to make is that I don’t speak enough EU languages to meet the minimum requirement as of yet.

        Code switching is doing what one of your Brazillian friends does, switching between languages and thinking and expressing yourself in that language itself. E.g. Speaking in French then changing to English immediately without hesitation and loss of language quality.

        I speak English, Malay and a Chinese dialect from South China (it’s quite different to Mandarin). I grew up in Malaysia and most people there speak at least 2 if not 3 languages; English, Malay, one of the Chinese dialects or Standard Mandarin, and/or Tamil (an Indian language from the south of India). I would consider myself a polyglot just by chance of birth location (under your genetic heritage heading) :) I have had full access to and the need to speak these languages. I think that the most powerful motivation is either the real need to use the language or the perceived need to use it that fuels one’s motivation.

        I feel that languages come quite easily to me because of my background. The 3 languages that I have been exposed to when I was young were from 3 totally different family trees and my brain is used to it not expecting the same language structure in each language I encounter. I normally throw myself into the deep end. I used to read German news articles when I started and flicked through other German websites as well to expose myself to how it’s used in real life.

        Some of your polygot suggestions are quite good, especially the practising one. I feel that in order to improve or learn any language constant use with proper form will definitely help. I would like to add that if someone would like fluent knowledge of the language that they’re learning, the best and most productive way is through immersion in the country itself. Your tips such as not speaking your native tongue and trying to meet more locals are much more important than even attending formal lessons. You learn so much more organically by attempting to speak to locals; be it their mannerisms, their way of thinking, their choice of words, their intonation etc. You can never learn this through books.

        Bis später!

  • http://otevotnyelv.blog.hu/ balint

    >>Hmm… still no comments on this post itself? Thought at least someone would be interested in becoming a polyglot .

    I am. :D And I found your advices very useful (as usually do)
    For me the most important was that one shouldn’t be afraid to start communicating in a language since this is the point in learning languages. Sounds easy, but still, it took me a little time to convince myself and “force” myself communicating in Spanish (currently learning). Although I’m still hesitating how should I go about it properly. I understand the meaning of “fluency” and “fluent”, but I want to speak Spanish as correctly as it is possible. Just communicating fluently and with full of mistakes is not good enough for me. But this is just my opinion. :D I totally understand your point of view. And I know that “practice makes perfect”, so I shouldn’t worry about mistakes.:D
    By the way, my goal is to be a polyglot, so just keep posting useful tipps ;)

  • http://otevotnyelv.blog.hu balint

    >>Hmm… still no comments on this post itself? Thought at least someone would be interested in becoming a polyglot .

    I am. :D And I found your advices very useful (as usually do)
    For me the most important was that one shouldn’t be afraid to start communicating in a language since this is the point in learning languages. Sounds easy, but still, it took me a little time to convince myself and “force” myself communicating in Spanish (currently learning). Although I’m still hesitating how should I go about it properly. I understand the meaning of “fluency” and “fluent”, but I want to speak Spanish as correctly as it is possible. Just communicating fluently and with full of mistakes is not good enough for me. But this is just my opinion. :D I totally understand your point of view. And I know that “practice makes perfect”, so I shouldn’t worry about mistakes.:D
    By the way, my goal is to be a polyglot, so just keep posting useful tipps ;)

  • Steven

    Hello Benny, greetings from Brazil, I feel good when someone from another contry try to learn portuguese.. and by the video your accent is very good in this language, congratulations! and spite I don´t speak other languages, I think your italian is very good too and your spanish is perfect!
    Now I´m learn english and I hope be a little bit fluent until the end of this year (it´s very close..) so.. I hope to spend at least 3 hours a day in enflish.. to reach this goal. Your tips are very useful for me and for all that want to be a polyglot or just wish to learn only one language. I think I´m a very fortunate people because there are a giant range of materials, texts, blogs, sites and more sites on english language in net.. beyond music, movies and books. :)
    My plans to the next year is to start to study german in january, even my english is not so good that time. I would be writing in portuguese.. but like you say we don´t need worry about mistakes.. :) I hope you keep posting useful tips!
    best regards.

  • http://Idon´thave.. Steven

    Hello Benny, greetings from Brazil, I feel good when someone from another contry try to learn portuguese.. and by the video your accent is very good in this language, congratulations! and spite I don´t speak other languages, I think your italian is very good too and your spanish is perfect!
    Now I´m learn english and I hope be a little bit fluent until the end of this year (it´s very close..) so.. I hope to spend at least 3 hours a day in enflish.. to reach this goal. Your tips are very useful for me and for all that want to be a polyglot or just wish to learn only one language. I think I´m a very fortunate people because there are a giant range of materials, texts, blogs, sites and more sites on english language in net.. beyond music, movies and books. :)
    My plans to the next year is to start to study german in january, even my english is not so good that time. I would be writing in portuguese.. but like you say we don´t need worry about mistakes.. :) I hope you keep posting useful tips!
    best regards.

  • Patrick

    Hi, again.

    I was wondering the last time i saw your, i saw a little link about how get an internet job as free lance translator, by now i speak fluently: Spanish, English, Esperanto, and in intermediate level in French and Portuguese which i want to develop them more.

    I like to read your post, because i’m learning to learn, and im wondering if i can do the same you do.!

  • Patrick

    Hi, again.

    I was wondering the last time i saw your, i saw a little link about how get an internet job as free lance translator, by now i speak fluently: Spanish, English, Esperanto, and in intermediate level in French and Portuguese which i want to develop them more.

    I like to read your post, because i’m learning to learn, and im wondering if i can do the same you do.!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

    @Bailint Thanks as always for the friendly comments!
    @Steven – my accent in that video was at the START of my second trip to Brazil; I’m hoping to speak much better by December!! Good luck in your language projects and I hope my future tips help!!
    @Patrick, the link you are looking for is here. Good luck!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

    @Bailint Thanks as always for the friendly comments!
    @Steven – my accent in that video was at the START of my second trip to Brazil; I’m hoping to speak much better by December!! Good luck in your language projects and I hope my future tips help!!
    @Patrick, the link you are looking for is here. Good luck!

  • Steve

    Hi Benny
    I was wondering if you could put your 8 languages into order according to your ability in them. Plus the level you are at in each one.
    It would be very interesting.
    Thanks in advance
    ps. may have sent this twice

  • Steve

    Hi Benny
    I was wondering if you could put your 8 languages into order according to your ability in them. Plus the level you are at in each one.
    It would be very interesting.
    Thanks in advance
    ps. may have sent this twice

  • Steve

    In regards to this topic itself, I am very interested in becoming a polyglot too. I don’t know how many languages it takes to be one but so far I speak 3. I’m sure other people are also very interested in it too but just don’t have any comments about it.

  • Steve

    In regards to this topic itself, I am very interested in becoming a polyglot too. I don’t know how many languages it takes to be one but so far I speak 3. I’m sure other people are also very interested in it too but just don’t have any comments about it.

  • Patk

    Thanks for the information; for the people who have been following your blog in the past months, it’s more of a summary.
    I would add that in many African countries too, being multilingual is the norm rather than the exception.

    It’s true that French is “surprisingly similar to Italian”; the reason why French (as well as English) keeps strange mediæval spellings is obviously to allow Italians to read the language!

  • Patk

    Thanks for the information; for the people who have been following your blog in the past months, it’s more of a summary.
    I would add that in many African countries too, being multilingual is the norm rather than the exception.

    It’s true that French is “surprisingly similar to Italian”; the reason why French (as well as English) keeps strange mediæval spellings is obviously to allow Italians to read the language!

  • Shane

    La plupart de mes amis me disent que c'est presque impossible de devenir polyglot ( ils ont tous tort!!! les pauvres!!) et qu'il faut que je me concentre seulement sur le français lorsqu'on est en France. (je m'interesse aussi à l'allemand).C'est vraiment dommage qu'ils prennent cette attitude. Lorsque je rentre chez moi (aux states), ça va être beaucoup plus difficile à trouver des gens qui parlent d'autre langues. What do you think? How would you convince people that it can be done? Anyways great post as always! Good luck in Brazil!

  • Renata Capdeville

    Hello, Benny,
    My name is Renata and I`m from Brazil.
    I found your blog two days ago and I really like what you`ve been writing about.
    You said you met a Brazilian guy on IAESTE program. Are you an architect? I just graduated as an architect and urban planner but I`m not yet sure I want to actually work with it. I`m much more interested in languages right now :)
    I currently speak 4 languages and I want to keep on learning, although I`ve also been thinking about the importance of maintaining and improving the languages I`ve already acquired.
    In anyway, I just wanted to say hello.
    Good luck with Thai.

  • Me

    I discovered this post just in time :)
    All these tips will help me a lot with the languages i'm currently studying, thank you very very much!

  • http://language.worldofcomputing.net/ Robin

    You are right in saying that one should be passionate in learning new languages. I think that is the most important thing that makes one a good polyglot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alysia.raine Alysia Christina Raine

    Hi Benny,
    I just stumbled upon your blog yesterday and I must say that what you have done and what you do is truly inspiring. For awhile I've wanted to be a polyglot, but I've always doubted myself and my abilities. Thanks for making me believe in myself again :)

    ありがとうございます!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Hi Alysia – it's great to see you here!! I like to remind people that I only spoke English when I turned 21, and was pretty miserable with languages at school, so you can definitely achieve your goal in a few short years. Besides, it's fun :)
    Hope to hear more from you again soon! Welcome to the site's community :D

  • Michael

    Thanks so much for this post, I'm taking French right now and have as of late been getting a little discouraged. But I stumbledupon you're blog and it's been like a big dose of encouragement and hope that I actually can learn. Keep up the good work, man.

  • http://twitter.com/Mneiae Caroline L

    I definitely agree that the first barrier is trying to think in another language. I was fortunate enough to experience full immersion when I acquired Spanish so I think in Spanish when I'm speaking. I'm not one of the people who can just slip between languages though. You have to give me a few minutes of hearing Spanish in order for me to get to that part of my brain.

  • Mark

    Benny,

    Great stuff here. This has always been fascinating to me and I have attempted several languages in my life. I can read Ancient Greek pretty well but would definitely like to improve my skills and transition into reading and speaking modern Greek. Any tips on just reading in another language especially one no longer spoken.

    Thanks. Great site!

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ GlobalButterfly

    I just looove this video of you! These are all awesome suggestions and you've really inspired me to try and learn Portuguese now, so obrigada. :)

  • I love it

    I can hardly speak when I happened to find your blog.It's just like a man fall in love with a woman at the first glance.

  • http://twitter.com/AlanDantasS Alan Dantas

    I can't believe i haven't found your blog before! I loved it!
    I'm from Brazil and I love learning new languages just like you =)
    I've studied some Esperanto before but I left it away for a french scholarship I got and I don't regret it!
    I love that Feeling when You try to express something in a specific language and you do it with no problem.

    Obrigado for your awesome job.

  • http://twitter.com/Dina2342 Nadina Cardillo

    Benny,
    Your blog is great! It’s helping me a lot in my polyglot experience :)
    I am a native Spanish speaker and although I am also fluent in English and French, I wasn’t aware of how fascinating languages actually are.

    I agree with your point that it’s easier to learn languages in the same family, but when I tried to learn Portuguese, I got bored because it’s too similar to the ones I already speak. I want to be an archaeologist when I grow up (I’m 16 now), so you may guess I’m fascinated by exotic things. I’m now learning Swahili and couldn’t be happier! Next in my list is Greek, and then possibly Russian (for the vast amounts of excellent literature).

    I wish I had discovered the pleasure of languages before, because I feel I wasted four years of French classes at school… I could’ve learnt it on my own at a much faster pace.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      I didn’t discover a passion for languages until I was 21 so you are WAY ahead of me ;)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      I didn’t discover a passion for languages until I was 21 so you are WAY ahead of me ;)

  • http://twitter.com/Dina2342 Nadina Cardillo

    Benny,
    Your blog is great! It’s helping me a lot in my polyglot experience :)
    I am a native Spanish speaker and although I am also fluent in English and French, I wasn’t aware of how fascinating languages actually are.

    I agree with your point that it’s easier to learn languages in the same family, but when I tried to learn Portuguese, I got bored because it’s too similar to the ones I already speak. I want to be an archaeologist when I grow up (I’m 16 now), so you may guess I’m fascinated by exotic things. I’m now learning Swahili and couldn’t be happier! Next in my list is Greek, and then possibly Russian (for the vast amounts of excellent literature).

    I wish I had discovered the pleasure of languages before, because I feel I wasted four years of French classes at school… I could’ve learnt it on my own at a much faster pace.

  • http://www.facebook.com/orlandovacations Sheena

    Nice tips! I’m not planning to be a polyglot but i was considering taking a second language, thanks for the insights!

  • Bil-maxx

    My father came to Canada from Italy in 1963 and didn’t speak a word of English or French.  His first order of business was to find a job.  Second was to take English lessons.  All of his Italian relatives and friends thought it was silly, but my dad felt that for social and business purposes he had to speak it and well with no accent.  He had a great attitude about it and within a year, he had NO accent at all and was fluent.  This was the result of a small amount of lessons and then watching television, reading all of the English newspapers and only speaking English to his business associates.  I repeat 12 months earlier he did not speak a word.  If you have the right attitude and totally immerse yourself in the language and culture you can do it.

  • Bil-maxx

    My father came to Canada from Italy in 1963 and didn’t speak a word of English or French.  His first order of business was to find a job.  Second was to take English lessons.  All of his Italian relatives and friends thought it was silly, but my dad felt that for social and business purposes he had to speak it and well with no accent.  He had a great attitude about it and within a year, he had NO accent at all and was fluent.  This was the result of a small amount of lessons and then watching television, reading all of the English newspapers and only speaking English to his business associates.  I repeat 12 months earlier he did not speak a word.  If you have the right attitude and totally immerse yourself in the language and culture you can do it.

  • Bil-maxx

    My father came to Canada from Italy in 1963 and didn’t speak a word of English or French.  His first order of business was to find a job.  Second was to take English lessons.  All of his Italian relatives and friends thought it was silly, but my dad felt that for social and business purposes he had to speak it and well with no accent.  He had a great attitude about it and within a year, he had NO accent at all and was fluent.  This was the result of a small amount of lessons and then watching television, reading all of the English newspapers and only speaking English to his business associates.  I repeat 12 months earlier he did not speak a word.  If you have the right attitude and totally immerse yourself in the language and culture you can do it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GA4RWDUQZOBWBQUKS62GSN5XM4 Joy:)

    Benny,
    Your blog is really long but very specific and I like that. Im not gonna lie to be honest. You got me thinking about you should learn a lot of languages so you can brag about it. This is how it all started for me. Im filipino so my first language is Tagalog. Then I came here and I learn English. It was weird I got this Spanish CD and I started to learn some of the words in Spanish. Then in 4th grade I started to get interested in the Japanese culture and learn some of the basic of it. I really like it. Then I stopped. During my senior year in high school I learn American Sign Language. I am very passionate about it. I want to learn a lot of languages because Its fun and great. Also, I realized its also about learning their culture and history. Im not a history person but I think its important for me to know a few things and important events. I took Spanish in high school all 4 years. i am scared to used it. I am scared of using sign lanuage. But being scared wont get me anywhere. I should feeel good about myself

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GA4RWDUQZOBWBQUKS62GSN5XM4 Joy:)

    Benny,
    What your advice for me. Right now Im a freshman in college.

  • Ania’lysis Ania Polanec

    I am so happy to find this blog… it’s so helpful in so many ways.
    I am a Slovenian girl who is dating a professional athlete and that’s why we move all the time and that’s why I am slowly starting to become kinda “polyglot”… my mother language is Slovenian (which is know to be as one with the incredibly difficult gramma – since we don’t have just singular and plural but also something in between), then I also speak (obviously) English, Croatian, Serbian, German and now learning French. I also understand Spanish (as a result of years of watching their “telenovelas” but I don’t speak it.
    It so good that someone feels totally the same like I do every time when I move somewhere and start to learn new language – like a total idiot :D but in the same way when I learn the new language it’s very satisfying feeling.
    Hope to find a lot of good info here also in the future!

    Hvala in lep pozdrav,
    Anja

  • Brianne

    I have been trying to learn Spanish for years! I studied it every year of school from 7th grade up through college, plus I studied abroad in Panama for a month and I was slowly picking it up. However, my problem right now is immersion in the language. I’m still at that stage that I have to translate and grammatically think about it making sense in my head before saying it. I researched various exchange programs to remain in the country for a few months to learn it but all of them are so expensive! How did you do it? If possible, I would like to work in the country to pay for it. From what I researched, I need to be immersed for about 9 months to be native speaking level. Right now, my passion is Spanish. Do you have a suggestion as of how to stay in the country to learn it that’s not so pricey?

  • Martynas Stepukonis

    I agree. It is very important to combine your passion for culture and the language that it has, in order to make the most of your learning process. It really has to be a place you dream of visiting and discovering again and again. I read that a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to explore the whole of China. So I see it as a good investment on many levels (Even though I dislike the way chinese language sounds). ;p Oh and after Chinese.. I’ll conquer Japanese! And that’s a promise on my life! Ooops.. o.O

  • http://www.facebook.com/damian.murrieta.9 Damian Murrieta

    wow, you sound like a native speaker of those languages, this is amazing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alejandro.zapataborges Alejandro Zapata Borges

    hola benny tengo una duda cuando estas aprendiendo dos idiomas al mismo tiempo en mi caso estoy viendo italiano en la uni porque estoy estudiando idiomas modernos pero tambien estoy estudiando aleman por mi cuenta! mi pregunta es! es recomendable estudiar dos idiomas al mismo tiempo? aunque siempre le presto mas atencion al aleman que al italiano porque lo estoy aprendiendo solo igual es recomendable hacerlo? ( you can answer me in english if you want!)

    • http://www.facebook.com/supcik Libor Supcik

      Si el profesor Arguelles recomienda estudiar dos a la vez. Si son disimilares como aleman e italiano, mejor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/supcik Libor Supcik

    I happen to know several languages. Probably thanks to (can I say courtesy of?) my father who put me on the ‘language’ grammar school…continued at the high school. I was rather under average achiever in my class and so far through the life. Only languages that I loved to learn was Spanish and then French later, on my own. Now I can speak to certain no-prob level say 8 tongues but what can I do about it? I wish I could use it and get paid yet there is no cash in it on the employed side. They need natives. I was at toplanguagejobs for no avail for some 5 years. I thought I might do interpreting so I sat the entry exams and did not make it twice… my comparative advantage here would be if they require 4 and not just 2 other languages. Soon the AI will take over translating jobs. Where are those situations where one can flick among several languages? How can these situations be the means to themselves and not something other (like impressing others)? Praise is a horrible motivation yet it helps one to go on, how can one get some when not travelling? Serious questions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/supcik Libor Supcik

    Ey Shala How (and why) did you decide? (Hoping this is re posted to Shala)

  • Kim Cho Hee

    Wow! This is the first time I have been on your blog, through scrolling on the internet and I really like this post! I need to add your site to my favorites ! :-) I am learning Korean and have done so for 4 years and I have no idea if I should move on, I am thinking of learning Norwegian, which is a strange transition- and my friends and family think i am half crazy! Yet I do this because I just love picking up new words. :-D

  • Leanna Resurreccion

    Hi, I’m 12, going on 13, years old and I recently became really interested in learning languages. Like others, this is my first time I’ve been on your blog. In school, we’re taught French, but I found that the way it was taught was really slow and ineffective. Most of the vocabulary I learned last year was forgotten, so I decided to teach myself different languages. I’m starting off with French first, since I already have a somewhat sturdy foundation in it, and moving on to Spanish, then Tagalog, since I can understand the languages, yet I can’t speak it or form sentences correctly. I’d like to learn languages like Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean, because I find their cultures and histories very interesting. I’m looking forward to attempting to reach fluency in these languages in the future. :)

  • John

    Hello Benny,

    I’ve heard that it’s better to learn German before learning Dutch, if you are going to learn them both. What’s your opinion on that?

    p.s. thanks for all the great tips!

    John

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      My opinion is that you should always learn the language you are most passionate about. Picking languages due to linguistic difficulty or such, is a mistake unless you are a mega language nerd.

  • Jorge

    Hey Benny,
    I love languages and there are several I want to learn. I am fluent in Spanish and English and I want to tackle Portuguese and French next. Which one do you think it would be to my advantage to start with? Will one be a lot easier for me? Or could learning one first help me to learn the other? I know you speak all of these so you would know better than anyone. I’d love some advice. Thanks!

  • Arrone Ynarez

    im fluent in english and filipino but i can only speak thai a little. I want to be fluent in thai. I find it difficult because of their tones and the thai alphabet is very difficult (same consonants and vowels are repeated many times in a different symbol, which makes it very very confusing).

  • Neil Gratton

    Interesting post. I’d love to be a polyglot (and will be soon – I’ve been inspired and motivated by your site) – my personal definition would be someone who is fluent in four or more languages. I’m currently only fluent in two – native English, and Spanish (I lived out in Spain for almost six years, but before and after that, always took/take every opportunity to chat with natives wherever I run into them. I have a frequent chat with a Cuban who works in my local supermarket).

    I’ve got into Italian at the moment (having started four weeks ago), and am charging at it with a lot of gusto; exchanging emails with natives and working through materials from Pimsleur, Michel Thomas and DuoLingo for around ten or eleven hours a week of active use. (I know you’re not a fan of Pimsleur, but I find while it does not cover a lot of material, it does give a very strong foundation – particularly in pronunciation – for future work). I expect to carry on for another eight to twelve weeks to get something resembling fluency (based on progress so far), then switch down to maintenance work and more using the language.

    My next ‘target’ will be Mandarin – I think it will provide a great window into a huge, diverse, alien and fascinating culture. Again, with Pimsleur, Michel Thomas – and some software help for Hanzi – to start with. I don’t know how realistic learning hanji is (most of my learning time is while driving, so audio-only works for me best).

    With Spanish, I also listen to a lot of podcasts downloaded from RTVE (for interest – especially their travel programs) and listen to and sing along to the hundreds of good Spanish songs I have on MP3; I’ve also read twenty or so novels in Spanish – thought it’s hard to find time to read everything I want/need to. I expect to do the same with Italian soon too.

  • diwani

    thank you so much for such a wondeful post which i really love. i have got a problem .i started learning english 2 years ago but my problem is that my written english is much more better than my spoken english .

  • Jorge Luis Meza Lapeira

    Hi benny

    I am a student of international business of the university of magdalena in colombia, i have been studing languages since i was only twelve years old and i started with english such as many people that are able to speak english and spanish in my country, then i decided to take up a course of italian and i stay there over three weeks but then i did not want to go anymore just because the way my teaches used to teach me was not really good, a period of time past and then i was focused in improve all my skills of english (reading, listening, writing, speaking and some others), now i am sixteen years old and i have realized that what is for me and what i really want is learn foreing languages, but teaching myself. Now the question i would like you answer is the following.>How can i get a good knowledge of a foreing language and where could i study on internet, and what type of material could i download to practice that language that i want to study?. NOTE: And when and where is the next polyglot conference

  • demelzabunny

    You should consider learning Russian; I think you’d really enjoy it. I can tutor you via Skype…

  • Kajal

    This the first blog or topic I read on learning new language.. U r a sweetheart for
    Helping out with such good suggestion. I have always been scared to learn new languages only know hindi and English. So took the challenge of learning Kannada as I stay in bangalore was amazed how I am enjoying trying to learn. Only issue is remembering it. As in hindi and all regional languages of Indiai have realised the issue comes when u have to ask a question. In English the question words like ‘ What, When, Where, Who” they come at the start of the sentence. But in Indian language they come at the end. Having solved that issue I hope and after reading ur blog I hope to achieve some kind of spoken mastery over this language but plan to start the Esperanto for my kid so it’s easier for him.
    When u say going back or doing In depth of a language do u mean writing skills. As that’s very tough in Indian language as the don’t use common looking alphabets.

    Tx again.. Plz keep it up…

  • Dimitar

    Dear Benny,

    Your blog is really useful but so flooded of information and poorly structured. I think reducing the information with 90% of the current and formatting the website to be easier to understand and read will do wonders for you and your readers.

    I hope you take constructive criticism well, that’s the motor of all progress

  • Scarlett Falls

    Hi , I’m starting to learn more languages so that when i travel later in life i can communicate with people and experience more, i already know quite a lot of Spanish but i’ve been beginning to learn Polish and i can’t decide if it is a good idea to jump to Polish straight away. I was hoping you could maybe give me an opinion or some tips on the best thing to do. Thanks , Scarlett.

    • http://fluentin3months.com/ Brandon Rivington

      If you are worrying about getting the languages mixed up, you are completely safe. Although the two languages are cousins, the pronunciation and the grammar are different enough that there won’t be any confusion.

      Happy learning!
      –Brandon, the Fi3M Language Encourager

  • Raym Sig

    Hello there! I’m currently learning French but got no french friends. What site can you recommend for me to find a french friends to practise to speak to? Thanks

    • http://fluentin3months.com/ Brandon Rivington

      The one I like most is CouchSurfing.com. It’s usually to find accommodation while traveling but if you put in your city, you can search by language to find people to me up with in person (which is why I love it). If that’s a bust or if you’d rather meet up over the internet, ConversationExchange.com and iTalki.com are great for finding people to talk with via Skype.

      –Brandon, the Fi3M Language Encourager

  • Alyssa

    This post inspires me to try to learn more than two languages! I agree that the hardest part is getting over the feeling if idiocy when you seem/feel so smart in another language and getting over the mental barrier that you can only fluently speak one language. I’m still a little confused though on how to know when it’s ok to start learning a new language. I’ve been learning spanish for 3 years and will continue studying it in college so if say in at the mid-high intermediate level. But I’ve been longing to try german and maybe even take classes in college but don’t want it to mess up my spanish. How do I know for sure when I’m good to move on to study a new language? Especially one in a different family?

    • http://fluentin3months.com/ Brandon Rivington

      Learning languages that are in different families will actually make things a lot easier. You will have much less grammar and vocabulary to confuse because your brain will file each language in its own little place (everyone’s brain works this way; I’m not just making a cutesy analogy).

      So if you already feel that your at a pretty comfortable level with Spanish, then go for German! It’s a really fun language with a ton of resources and lots of speakers who are very proud of their language :)

      Happy learning!
      –Brandon, the Fi3M Language Encourager

  • Athena Joyy Dumdu,

    Hi Benny! I stumbled upon your blog while searching for the perfect word that described what I felt that time (learning multiple languages) Honestly, eversince I discovered Kpop and Kdramas, I’ve always wanted to learn Korean rather than frustrate myself from waiting for subs which most often is uploaded weeks or more after the actual video is published. I mean if I understood what they were saying then I wouldn’t have to wait for subs. :) But after reading the whole thing, I found more motivation in learning. Thank you so much :) Oh by the way I’m Asian. From Philippines particularly. And im 15 :)

    -Athena Joyy :)

  • Wanderson Alves

    Hey Benny how’s goin? :)
    I’m from Brazil and I speak a little bit of english
    and I wanted to learn german few time ago while I was improving my english but
    somehow I just got deceptioned with the german people and just stopped from study it.
    Now I’ve read some thing about russian I’ve learned the alphabet :)
    it seems like the letter sounds similiar to portuguese too

  • RobertKerans

    Hi Benny,

    I love your blog too, thanks so much!

    I have a question about hearing French spoken. I have a good level of French though I’m by not entirely fluent – I can read novels, construct sentences to a proficient and correct degree, and am told I have an almost-natural sounding accent. Yet, when I hear French spoken to me, I simply can’t distinguish between the words.

    This get embarrassing very quickly, because although I could easily answer what is being said to me in French, the other person quickly swaps to English when I stand there, looking dumbfounded.

    Could this be solely a lack of practice, or the way I’m using my ear? Do you have any advice that I might be able to put into practice?

    Thanks!

    Rob

  • Sham Abrha

    Hi Benny!
    I was wondering what you could recommend I do to learn my tribal language. I have learned the common language of Eritrea (it is called Tigrinya) but the language that most of my family use is (Bilen) their is an online page that helps you learn the most common phrases and words, but what do you recommend I do to help me remember phrases, sentences and such?

  • Sevak Komitas Martirosyan

    try to learn arabic and armenian …. they worth 8 languages :)