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.
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.
Going through each person in order they appeared (after me), those who sang in the video are:
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!
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 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!
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 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!
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!
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 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 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!
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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!
Enter your email in the top right of the site to subscribe to the Language Hacking League e-mail list for way more tips sent directly to your inbox!
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.
This article was written by Benny Lewis
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.
If you have a general language learning question, please ask it in the forums. Otherwise please use the search tool on the right for any other question not related to this post.