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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!! 😀 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!
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).
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!)