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Language leveling up: Moses and Benny speak a dozen languages in Columbus Ohio

| 8 comments | Category: learning languages, video

Today I’ve got a fun video to share with you all!

I met up with fellow Youtube polyglot, Moses McCormick (see his Youtube channel) in Columbus, Ohio and the two of us went to a mall simply to walk up to complete strangers and practise a bunch of languages with them!

It’s what I like to call “social skydiving”, although usually the strangers I go up to are in social events or parties, which is not that hard since they expect interactions with strangers. But Moses does what he calls levelling up, which he demonstrates excellently in this video. This really is with complete strangers in pretty much any situation. And it turns out it’s easier than you think!

It really proves that your location does not matter if you want to be able to practise a language. I hear or read about people complaining that they can’t travel and therefore can’t learn languages – I really have to refer you to this guy! He has learned all of his languages in the United States, and travelled very little. The fact that he has done this in Ohio really emphasises how much more accessible languages are than you think.

When you are genuinely practising with human beings, then when you go home afterwards you will study way more efficiently because of the context of use.

Moses and I share a lot of language learning philosophies, and I interviewed him as part of the Fluent in 3 Months PREMIUM package, which appropriately describes his language learning method too. You can hear a sample of that interview about his language learning approach in general here.

He has dabbled in several dozens of languages, and in the video above you can hear him go into Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Tamil, Hindi, French, Spanish, Fulani and Wolof, which is a sampling from European, African and Asian languages. You can also hear me speak too in some Mandarin, Spanish and French.

The other guy in the video is Eric, who has gone on levelling up sessions with Moses in the past and who also had a Looxciecam that attaches to your ear and sends the video signal via bluetooth to your smartphone for recording. I took the time to edit down both videos together and add in the audio from my own clip-on microphone to make it more watchable. Moses has all two hours of unedited footage on his channel, but you can see the most interesting parts in this shortened edit.

After the experience, I sat down with him to interview him about levelling up, how it works, how he got into it and why others should consider giving it a try:

As well as the full footage of our time in the mall and the two stores, you can see the full video of the first time we ever met below.

Unlike my Youtube channel, which almost exclusively has videos that I try to keep short and edited as professionally as possible as much as I can, Moses loves to record as much of his stuff as he can to upload immediately without any editing, so he took out his iPhone and started recording me literally just after I got in the car from him picking me up at the bus stop.

You can see that full conversation (more like Moses interviews Benny discussing my travel hacks, and what I’m doing in the states) here:

I’d really appreciate it if you shared that first video on Facebook so more people can get inspired to get out and speak their target language no matter where they are. Let me know what you think of the videos in the comments below!

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If you enjoyed this post, you will love my TEDx talk! You can get much better details of how I recommend learning a language if you watch it here.

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  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    That first video was very cool! Also, honestly, I think the lesson there about social dynamics and the fact that you really shouldn’t be afraid to approach people and talk to them is at least as important as the foreign language aspect of it, you really nailed it with what you said about shyness.

    Does Moses have a blog? If not, he should think about starting one.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

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

      He has the Youtube channel, which he does a LOT on. I only have 150 or so videos, since I do a lot of editing work on each one and focus on the blog a lot, but he has over 1000 videos, since he posts so regularly – including his language learning thoughts. I tried to get him to post on a blog a year or so ago, but it’s not his style. I’m also trying to convince him to do a little editing so his videos aren’t so long, especially since it requires very little work thanks to the built in tools for Youtube.

      It was great to hang out; we learned a lot from one another!

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.wood.526438 James Wood

    Once again, very impressed and extremely inspired. While I have been pushing myself to “level up” more and more, I still run into the shyness obstacle, but after watching these videos, I may need to make a trip to the local mall someday soon! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1371947401 Alex Gentry

    That’s really cool you both did that! It motivates me to learn and practice more languages! Benny you should learn Hindi and some Southeast Asian and African languages at some point! You did learn Irish, ASL, Quechua, and Esperanto after all!

  • joker159

    you really deserve a phD in human science and language :D
    thx for sharing !

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

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Susanna Zaraysky

    Excellent! This is what I keep telling people. You don’t have to step on a plane and go abroad to speak and practice languages. Great job!

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

      Thanks Susanna! This reminded me of you and me out in San Francisco levelling up :D