Online language lovers I’ve met for you to check out



The results are in and it turns out that Fluent in 3 months has won the top Language Blogs of 2012 competition! Thanks so much for your votes everyone!! :D What an honour!!

Have a look at the top blogs, as well as top language lovers overall (which includes twitter and language professionals) and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of interesting stuff to read! Since there is no one way to learn a language, it’s always a good idea to read what several people do and see what jives with you and your goals best.

As well as those links of the 2012 competition, which was voted on by almost 20,000 people, today I’d like to share some specific Youtubers and other bloggers with you for some more inspiration! Each one of these are people who I have either met in person, will meet in person, or have spoken to via Skype.

Richard Simcott: the Hyperpolyglot

Richard has been into languages for his entire life and works with them professionally. This video of his is an iconic representation of what it is to be a polyglot!

Just today, Richard and I finally connected on Skype and had a wonderful two hour long chat about everything language learning. It’s great to see how much we have in common in terms of learning mentalities, despite our different backgrounds.

We’re going to record several videos together (yes, including a multilingual one) over the coming months to upload to our channels. If you have any suggestions for what you’d like us to talk about, let me know in the comments!

Richard has been getting active on his own blog: Speaking Fluently, and he loves to answer people’s questions and share interesting polyglot related stories on his Facebook page. Be sure to pop over and say hi!

Professor Arguelles

The professor is probably the most passionate person I have ever come across in terms of enjoying the process of absorbing languages. He has some fascinating ideas, the one I like the most being his suggestion that we should focus on teaching people how to learn languages (via a “polyglot school“) rather than just teach the content of a language in a way that doesn’t inspire people to learn it efficiently.

The professor and I had a great chat about efficient strategies for language learning, which is included in the Speak From Day 1 audio, but you will be glad to hear that I am actually going all the way to Singapore very soon and will get to meet him in person!

I’ll record a video interview and ask him further questions to share on the blog. Once again, let me know what you’d like us to discuss in the comments!

Steve Kaufmann – LingQ

Steve and I have a strange history – we had an interesting and friendly discussion several years ago where we honestly compared our approaches when he interviewed me. Unfortunately after that we’ve argued too much due to personality clashes, and because I don’t think he’s ever read my blog without his critique hat on.

His videos directed at me and how I’ll fail certain missions aren’t particularly useful to anyone (usually ignoring what I was actually aiming for), and his incredibly depressing forum of people who need to get a life or at least a hug (one of the many hategasms they have includes an impressive 30+ page “discussion”, where trolls gather to make up stuff about me), mean that I’m hardly his biggest fan.

Despite this, I respect his dedication to stick to his guns (one thing we certainly have in common is our stubbornness) and I hope I’m at least half as spunky when I’m even ten years younger than he is! For someone to be so active in language learning and other aspects of life (he starts some of his videos with a quick mention of how he has just come from some physical sport), despite being in his 60s should be a big inspiration to many!

Mike Campbell – Glossika

Mike was kind enough to sit down and interview me to demonstrate my 2.5 month level of Chinese. He has an incredibly impressive accent on his Chinese, which he gained via the sentence method, as described in this video.

One of his students, Sam Shen, gave me two sessions to help me get a bit of a boost with my Mandarin. I can see how many (many…) hours of that would indeed give you an incredibly convincing accent and use of the language. It was just not quite my style because it sacrifices immediate communication skills for longer term goals, and requires quite a lot of patience (which I ain’t got), but is certainly something worth investigating for those of you interested in accent reduction!

My personal preference is getting singing lessons though! :) Having said that, Mike’s advice to focus more on sentences has come back to haunt me later in the mission when I was still speaking too choppily.

When I attempt this again, I will focus on studying flashcards of sentences much sooner, since I was studying individual words too much this time and that’s a bad idea if you want to have a nicer flow with less hesitations, since hesitations when speaking has been a problem in my Chinese that people have pointed out; learning via full sentences would help me fix that since the entire sentences I do know off by heart, I say them without hesitation.

Stu Jay Raj

Stu Jay and I had a great chat (which I included in the LHG audio), and I was inspired to contact him after one of his videos gave me a major boost in being able to learn to read Thai faster.

He has also guest posted on this blog! In the above video you can hear him host a show where he goes to a famous prison in the Philippines that is known for a viral video in which its inmates dance Thriller.

Moses McCormick – laushu505000

Moses and I had a great chat too, (you can hear a quick sample of that here) and we’ve found that our travels will align this coming summer (where precisely, I’ll announce in the email list in a week or two), so I look forward to getting to meet him in person! He has some interesting ideas for videos for us to record together. But as always, I welcome other suggestions!

What’s most impressive about his story is that he learns some pretty exotic languages, all from home! He has dabbled in an impressive number of them.

Khatzumoto – All Japanese All the Time

Khatz is more famous for his blog All Japanese All the Time, but I like his twitter account especially. Even though it’s mostly Japanese related, he gives some pretty good advice and nudges for you to get busy. Our learning techniques differ, but we still found plenty to agree on (a quick sample of our chat here).

As it happens, before we started the official language learning discussion (like others above, also included in the speakfromday1 package), we chatted about Star Trek Voyager for almost an hour! :D

Whenever I get around to Japanese, you can bet I’ll look him up for a follow up chat!

There are plenty of other well known polyglots online worth checking out, who I haven’t been in touch with yet, such as Luca (poliglotta80) (whose blog was 2nd after mine in the top bloggers competition) and Tim (polyglotpal).

Other active online language learners that I have met include Aaron, who blogs at The Everyday language learner (he guest posted on Fi3M – I met him while I was in Istanbul), and Randy from Yearlyglot (who also guest posted here), who I hung out with a few times when I was in Chicago. And of course Susanna Zaraysky and I hung out in San Francisco and recorded a multilingual video together (and she also guest posted for me!)

If there’s anyone else you think I should be chatting to, or try to run into in my travels, let me know in the comments! Otherwise, be sure to check out all the interesting stuff on all the links to other people’s sites and Youtube channels in today’s post!



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  • Jeremy Branham

    Benny, have you heard of Sonia Gil at Fluenz?  She does youtube videos all the time and is popular.  I know she travels a lot so I am not sure how intense she is about learning languages but she knows quite a few.

    • Benny Lewis

      I’ll check her out, thanks!

  • Benny Lewis

    What you say is false because it takes one message to describe that, not 30 pages.

    I’m sick of explaining to people about how sad it is to only aim for what’s guaranteed. Great things are rarely achieved by people who aimed safely within their limits.

    I did reach my Mandarin aim. The aim was to learn as much as possible in as short a time as possible, with a high goal to drag me in that direction, and I was successful in being able to make friends and explore China using my Chinese. If you don’t get this, please do not reply because I will delete further “discussions” that try to hijack a blog post about polyglots with tired old arguments about people who want to rid the world of ambition.

  • Benny Lewis

    Very much appreciated, thanks!!

  • Dominick O’Dierno

    This is a great list of polyglots here, I’ve followed good advice from all of them.

    I must admit I was surprised to see Steve on here given your guys’ history, but you guys did have quite a productive and informative initial conversation. 

    I know you know this already but the majority of LingQs users do in fact use it for language learning rather than posting about you in the forum.  That thread is quite a long one indeed, but there do exist other lively discussions about non Irishman topics as well.

    I too hope to be healthy enough to actively play a physical sport like hockey in my old age, and if my life is half as interesting as Stu Jay’s I will die a happy man. 

    No doubt you will be adding language flag number 9 to the right of your website soon, what’s going to be number 10?

    • Benny Lewis

      As far as I know, the threads related to the caricature of me that they’ve made up (several different threads) are the longest ones in the entire forum. This is a sorry state of affairs and eclipses what I’m sure are other interesting and actually productive discussions.

      I included Steve because he does have some interesting videos. The fact that we don’t get along is unfortunate, but no reason for people to not check out his stuff.

      As you know, all upcoming projects are announced in the email list and otherwise built up with suspense. I won’t ever announce my next language learning mission in a comment :)

  • Aaron G Myers

    Hey Benny, congrats on another great finish and thank you for the mention here.  Keep up the good work!

    • Benny Lewis

      You did pretty well yourself this year! Congrats to you too!

  • Susanna Zaraysky

    Congratulations and thanks for the mention. 

    • Benny Lewis

      We’re all in this together! Saw some of your recent blog posts / videos – keep up the amazing work!!

  • Sprachprofi

    I thought I met you, too. I speak 8-12 languages, depending on definition, and blog at on Youtube.

    • Benny Lewis

      I have met a LOT of polyglots since that first Brazilian I lived with in Valencia in 2003. In fact, I struggle to think of anyone in the Esperanto community I got to know who I wouldn’t label as at least trilingual.

      This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I was generally more interested in those who are very active online as bloggers or Youtubers.

      Just so it’s clear, the number of languages is not so important to me; some people I linked to are only focused on one foreign language.

  • Allan Ngo

    Congratulations, Benny! Truly deserving. I know you can get more people to take on language learning with your adventures. 

    I am also enjoying the Language Hacking Guide aplenty. And would hopefully perpetuate your message for Mandarin Chinese. 

    Again, my hats off!

  • Kellar Alsup

    I don’t know if this fits, but OMGmeiyu is an American girl who teaches English to Mandarin speakers. You should see her videos!

    • Benny Lewis

      Ha, fun videos! Excellent accent – always fun to see a fellow westerner speak the language like that!

  • John Fotheringham

    Congrats on winning the top language blog! And a “hello” from Chris Guillebeau (I met him at his $100 Startup book signing in Seattle yesterday).

    • Benny Lewis

      Ha! Small world! Glad you got to meet him! I’ll get to see him too soon enough.

  • Benny Lewis

    I haven’t met female polyglots who truly active as bloggers or Youtubers apart from Susanna, who you seemed to not notice.

    When you say “online”, do you mean regular forum posters? The point of this post was to share active Youtubers and bloggers. Hopefully I’ll meet more female polyglots who are truly active online.

    • PolyglotMae

      Hey, it is difficult to start off with a “rocket start” into the blogosphere! :-)
      I started my new blog in March, but with 2000 hits so far I’m quite happy. My personal goal is to get in touch with polyglots. I’ve had the pleasure to speak to a few by now, and I’m looking forward to sharing ideas with some more ;-)

      • Benny Lewis

        I’m not so interested in those who have a rocket start – this post was only about
        1) people who have posted videos or blogs regularly, which are interesting and worth following. Judith who replied recently certainly has not been active on Youtube in the same way as those I mentioned here have for example.
        2) the subset of such people that I’ve met in person, or otherwise spoken to on Skype.
        Hopefully I’ll meet you in person some day and can record a video with you, or share your story with Fi3M readers :)
        I don’t really have a goal to meet as many polyglots as possible (I find monolinguals of a particular language I’m into just as interesting), but am happy when others get in touch! Thanks for your emails!

  • montmorency

    Professor Arguelles is particularly special, I feel. Although I have no ambition to be a polyglot in his style, I could certainly learn something from his degree of dedication, methodical approach, and sheer hard work.

    From that video, one might get the impression that he only reads, writes, and listens, but I’ve also heard him speak a variety of languages on YouTube, and to my ear, he sounded pretty impressive.

    On a lot of his videos, he comes over as very serious, and almost nervous-sounding, so it was good to see him relax into a smile at the end of that one, showing his more human side :-)