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“Skype me maybe” – Inspiring music video sung by 17 polyglots in over 30 languages

| 42 comments | Category: video

Watch this incredible collaboration of Youtube polyglots that I’ve been overseeing, and if you like it, share it on Facebook (copy and paste the video URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HZbBLl4FA0 into your status update) with your friends and ask them to share it on, so as many people can see our encouraging message as possible.

Quick background

Richard Simcott (see below) had recruited me to become a contributor and co-organizer of the Polyglot Conference (more details to come soon on that website) which will happen in Budapest in May, and in the states in November of next year.

It’s still in its early stages of development, but when we had a chat on Skype to discuss it, I said that I’d love to do something to help promote it in some way. So I told him about my idea to get all of Youtube’s favourite polyglots together in one video. As you can see in the result, the entire last quarter of the video encourages people to check out the conference website.

Amazingly, despite the ridiculousness of what I was suggesting, pretty much everyone agreed when I got in touch with them!

After a LOT of work to prepare the lyrics, round people together, send way too many emails, have contributors pick verses and languages, try to reduce overlap and make sure people were happy with the languages they got, give them feedback for several different takes, blend it all together, get through the immense task of video and sound editing, and making sure everyone was happy with it… “Skype me maybe” is finally ready for the world! :)

As you can see, the storyline is that I’m a hopeless language learner, ready to give up, when 16 of the Internet’s most famous polyglots show up to give me some encouraging words… in the tune of Carla Rae Jepsen’s “Call me maybe” that was popular this year, and in over thirty languages. Yes, it’s as crazy and as good as it sounds! :)

The message is of course, to get on Skype! You don’t have to be rich or travel to the country – you can interact with natives and other learners from the comfort of your home, and something I’ve been doing entirely for my own attempt to learn Arabic.

We switch languages regularly, and you can see the count go up in the top-right (except for when certain dialects are repeated), and I included in-video subtitles in English and the original language and Youtube subtitles that you can activate for other languages.

So far I have English, Arabic and Portuguese subtitles throughout [Edit: Thanks to contributions from people, I've already added Polish, French, German, Swiss German, Danish, Norwegian, Esperanto, Russian, Ukrainian, Italian and Spanish! Keep 'em coming ;) ], but if are a native of any other language, please download this file (English subtitle with time stamps, right click and save as) and send it back to me (reply to my email sign-up form on the right of this site to attach it) in your language so we can make sure everyone all around the world understands this fun video by having as many subtitle options as possible :)

One thing I definitely wanted to do with this video is dispel silly myths about polyglots being a particular gender or type of person, as I find this to be both untrue and discouraging. So in this video, we have both male and female contributors, with a very wide age range, and from many different ethnic backgrounds.

Contributors

Going through each person in order they appeared (after me), those who sang in the video are:

Susanna Zaraysky

Susanna was a huge help for a big chunk of the lyrics that people would base their translations on, and she introduced me to some of the polyglots in this video that I knew of, but hadn’t ever been in touch with. The variation and inclusion of certain well known polyglots wouldn’t have been possible without her!

You can see more of her on her site Create your world, and her Youtube channel.

Also, you may remember her because she has already guest posted on this blog twice! Once about having Music and TV for homework, and once on Women’s day and language learning for women. And this isn’t the first time we’ve done a video together! When we met up in San Francisco, we recorded multilingual chats with people in the street there.

Richard Simcott

Richard is one of the most famous polyglots (or hyperpolyglots) thanks to a video he made in a tonne of languages. He has since made many more videos, interviewing other polyglots, and was very rightly voted as the MehrsprachICH polyglot ambassador, and is very passionate about helping people to learn more than just one language.

He’s also super nice when you get to talk to him!

He is attempting to run the polyglot conference mentioned above, and I hope my little contribution with this video will help get more people interested in it, as well as any other help I’ll provide, and I look forward to finally meeting him in person then!

Check out his Youtube channel here, as well as his blog, Speaking Fluently.

Idahosa Ness

Another very regular contributor with guest posts here at Fluent in 3 months, Idahosa is great at singing and rapping, and trains people to reduce their accents in foreign languages, so I invited him to contribute too. Check out his channel here and his site The Mimic Method.

Jana Fadness

Jana has been a regular commenter on this blog and she has her own blog and multilingual Youtube channel. As you can hear in the video, she has a spectacular singing voice. Now Sony Music know how to get in touch with her to sign a contract!

Fasulye

Fasulye is a regular contributor to forums like How to Learn any language, and her Youtube channel of course demonstrates the many languages she knows!

Mike - Glossika

Mike’s Youtube channel is really well known for his incredibly convincing Taiwanese accent on Mandarin, and he is also passionate about less commonly spoken languages in the region. You may remember that earlier this year I had a chance to meet him, and we both recorded a video together in Mandarin!

Luca Lampariello

Next, we have another very popular Youtube polyglot, Luca! He has a bunch of mulitlingual interviews on his Youtube channel, with very convincing accents in each of his languages.

Like me, he also has a background in electronic engineering, (although unlike me he has always been passionate about language learning) and is studying Conference Interpreting in Paris right now, (also something that I had initially considered and was preparing for before my plans had to change).

Since we have so much in common, I was glad to finally get in touch with him, and run my Italian lyrics by him (he helped me make it rhyme!) If you’re in Paris, you can regularly find him at the Polyglot bar.

He also has a very quickly growing blog, The Polyglot Dream.

Mae

Mae has been very active lately in many online language learning discussions, usually being the voice of reason in otherwise chaotic discussions. She also has a blog and Youtube channel and I made sure to run my German by her!

Steve Kaufmann

Steve and I have had our disagreements over the years, but I made sure to get in touch with him because the video wouldn’t have been the same without him. We put any disagreements we’ve had in the past aside and worked together for this collaborative project.

Of course, everyone in this video wants to ultimately promote and encourage language learning, so it was a message we could all agree on. While I of course recommend a speak-from-day-1 approach, this “Skype me maybe” video doesn’t imply that at any time, and you can follow Steve’s alternative advice of talking when you feel ready instead and still appreciate the message in the video.

He even went as far as to suggest improved lyrics for my English part, which I ultimately went with!

Steve of course runs LingQ.com, blogs at The Linguist on languages, and has a popular Youtube channel where he uses various languages, interviews people and shares his thoughts on various topics.

Iversen

Iversen is another very active contributor to the How-to-learn-any-language forum, and has an impressive array of languages, so I was glad to see he was interested in joining us! His Youtube channel shares his language videos and paintings.

Judith Meyer

Judith and I have met several times at Esperanto gatherings, and while I was living in Berlin. She’s very active on forums under the handle Sprachprofi, works with big language companies and has a great range of many languages she is passionate about.

She runs Learnlangs, and you can see her Youtube channel here. She also wrote a great book that helped me a lot in my first week to master reading Arabic script.

Timothy Doner

Tim was blasted into fame this year from a New York Times article about his incredible language learning achievements, which would be impressive for anyone even if you didn’t consider that he’s a teenager!

His Youtube channel shows him using his incredibly varied languages very comfortably.

Haikaa Yamamoto

I found out about Haikaa from a pretty impressive multilingual singing video that she had done where she was singing all of varied languages herself! So it only seemed logical to invite her to sing in this epic multilingual singing video! You can see more of her work on her channel here.

Félix Wang

Félix and I got to meet while I was passing through Brussels a few months ago. His active Youtube channel has interviews with natives and his own impressive multilingual demonstrations.

Stujay Raj

Stujay and I had a nice chat (recorded and included here), after he had inspired me with his fun suggestions to learn Thai script quicker. Soon after, he guest posted on this blog.

He blogs on Language and Mind Mystery, and you can see his excellent Youtube channel (the only other active Youtube polyglot besides me who does a lot of video editing to give them a more professional look).

Moses McCormick

You should all definitely know Moses by now! In the space of a just few months, the video we recorded together of when I visited him in Columbus Ohio and went “levelling up” in a mall, has gone well past 150,000 views!

I was glad to see that he showcased his epic collection of language learning books in this video! Definitely check out his stuff on his channel.

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As you can imagine, this has been a LOT of work to pull together, so I do hope you enjoy it and share it around! Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below!

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Comments: If you liked this post or have anything to say, please leave a comment! I love reading them :)
Just keep in mind that I’ll delete any rude, trolling, spammy, irrelevant or way off-topic comments. Also, use your REAL name, not a brand or business one, and don’t link to your site in the comments unless it’s relevant to this post.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.lancaster2 Alex Lancaster

    Brilliant! Thanks Benny! Very helpful and inspiring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Trevie3 Trevor James McVeety

    Haha, oh man, that was too cute!

  • paulino brener

    That’s a great video! Although I think Google+ Hangouts have more potential for Language Learning and Practice than Skype! :-)

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

      That may be true…. but Skype is one syllable, and a verb as well as a noun, so it’s way easier to sing about :P

  • http://twitter.com/aarongmyers Aaron G Myers

    Brilliant. Inspiring and so fun. I had smile on my face through the whole song and immediately shared it in a blog post over at EDLL. Great work everyone!

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

      Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  • Yan

    It’s so sad that many people associate skype conversation with something vulgar.

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

      Lol, not me. :) And maybe less people after seeing this video ;)

      • Ly Kute

        so interesting !!! ^^

  • Jeff Lindqvist

    Now, that was a cool video! The lines by Richard, Mike Glossika, Tim Doner and Haikaa kicked some serious a**!

  • http://www.facebook.com/leandro.macedo.984 Leandro Macedo

    Simply amazing. :)

  • Andrew Moorehead

    Thanks for all those people to follow. Problem with Norwegian is so many Norwegian speakers that actually have internet also speak English (and so aren’t looking for English language exchange). Also, a lot of Urdu speakers don’t have internet or at least seem to be taking a more traditional route. It’s so hard to find people in those languages, and like you know from doing all that math, practice is key to success.

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

      Where there’s a will, there’s a way. ;) Just because it’s harder doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Best of luck!

  • Alex

    What a fantastic collection of inspiring people.

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

      I know! It’s why I made sure to work hard to convince those reluctant to join in ;) I really wanted the world to see all of us working together!

  • http://twitter.com/Junesun Sprachprofi

    Thanks for organizing this, Benny. You did a terrific job!

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

      I bet you’re real glad you changed your mind at the last minute to join us, aren’t you! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoshPlotkin Josh Plotkin

    I’ve watched this 8 times back to back so far, I just can’t get enough. This is incredible on so many levels that it defies comprehension. I’m really glad Guarani got an inclusion in the video. Mike’s was the funniest because he really had to struggle to get everything to come out in a musical way. I loved Susanna’s costumes and playful expressions. Stujay’s enthusiasm. I thought it was cool how you taught the BH Couchsurfing meetup at Maleta how to sign the last bit. Show de bola Benny!

  • http://www.davidmansaray.com/ David Mansaray

    Wow Benny this was incredible! I’m looking forward to meeting you in May *Salute*

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

      Glad you liked it David. See you in May!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andras.lincoln Andras Lincoln

    This is so great!

    No surprise that people who love languages also really love music, and are pretty gifted at it too. LISTENING RULES!!!

    :DDD

  • D-STAR

    I can’t really think of a better word then this: inspiriational. Nice job guys, I’ve heard of most of y’all through HTLAL and blogs, maybe I should spend more time actually learning then talking about learning!

  • http://twitter.com/GetIntoEnglish David Sweetnam

    A fun video, definitely, especially the first part which says a lot too about the problems many of us face when learning languages.

    I just wonder if this is made especially for Americans and Brits, as I live in Prague and every second person’s a polyglot – it’s quite normal for someone all over Europe in fact to speak multiple languages. Something to celebrate and encourage, but no need to put people on a pedestal when they do speak a few languages.

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

      I definitely didn’t see any pedestals in this video ;) Multilingualism and language learning is a great thing and that’s what the video is about. If it was about impressive polyglots then why did Luca and Richard just sing in one language? ;)

      It was made for the whole world. You’ll see the subtitles can be activated now already in a bunch of languages.

  • Stu

    Haha great video. Thought you might of persuaded Tim Ferris to join the fun.. while you had him! ;)

  • Diane

    Love it! And yay, Welsh! There’s one no-question typo in the Welsh, though: it’s iaith, not iath (there are two i’s). And it’s a little odd to see dwisio in writing — that’s the pronunciation, but ‘dw i eisiau’ is the usual written version. BTW, ‘siarad yn rhugl’ = ‘speaking fluently’ or ‘to speak’ fluently.

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

      Unfortunately, I can’t correct that now, as it’s a part of the video. Hope it’s close enough for people to follow it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jolien.schittko Jolien Schittko

    Saluton Benny,

    Mi tre gxojas, ke nia afabla muziko-video “Skype Me Maybe” nun ankaux havas subtitulojn en Esperanto kaj en aliaj lingvoj. Estis la unua fojo, ke ni kunlaboris, kaj al mi tre placxis kontribui al via projekto kun interesa grupo de politglotuloj, kiuj estas konataj en la interreto. Estas bona ideo de vi, prezenti cxiujn de ni 17 personojj sur via blog-pagxo.

    Mi jam deziras al vi agrablan partoprenadon en la renkontigxo de la Esperanto Junularo en Germanio!

    Korajn salutojn al Brazilo,

    Fasulye

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

      Dankon Fasulye!

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Brilliant! Love it! Already tweeted it yesterday when I saw it on reddit.

    Great work guys.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

    • Gosia

      Andrew- you also make some great work at making the ‘Spanish – learning” more fun!

      • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

        Thank you, Gosia! That really means something to me, seriously.

        Cheers,
        Andrew

  • http://www.facebook.com/mlauvige Muriel Lauvige

    funny funny funny :-) It is inspiring to see people from different backgrounds, countries and age group coming together and promote language learning, as a language teacher I can only congratulate you! Well done Benny and friends!

  • YankeeTranslator

    I’ve been reading this blog for two years… hands down the best post yet. It was great to see so many polyglot luminaries together.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jolien.schittko Jolien Schittko

    Just after the launch of Benny’s “Skype Me Maybe” video I felt inspired to subscribe to Benny’s Twitter Tweets and his “Fluent in 3 months” Facebook page.

    Fasulye

  • Gosia

    hahahahahaha I got a proper laugh so thank you Benny for this video ;) and encouraging us all to learn foreign languages and expand our worlds!

    my personal hero is Luca who attempted to speak my mother tongue with the most beautiful accent in the world – dziękuję Ci bardzo Luca! Twój polski jest perfekcyjny ;))

  • Cristian

    How can I learn much better Chinese on Skype if I dont know any word and I dont have idea what are they saying?.
    I try to talk no english but its really hard and I get confused. HELP

    • languagepotato

      the start is hard but it gets easier afterwards.

  • Re

    This video really cheered me up after a bad day. I was so tired 10 minutes ago, now I’m gonna log back on to my language site and skype them (maybe! :P)

  • nexter15

    Nice song!!! I’m learning English and Japanese everyone is welcome to skype me!!
    skype: nexter15

  • Trond Anders Sorvoja

    Please publish the full lyrics if they are available.

  • Ly Kute

    thanks benny . i love this video .!!!