Definition of a Polyglot

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leosmith
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby leosmith » Sun May 29, 2022 12:45 am

Rozzie wrote:If someone is fluent

Arrrrghhh!
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby Cainntear » Sun May 29, 2022 7:27 am

tractor wrote:
Cavesa wrote:
tractor wrote:
Cainntear wrote:As yet, I have never met anyone outside of the internet language learner sphere who uses "polyglot" the way Simcott does.

Is the word "polyglot" used much at all outside of the internet language learner sphere?


Yes, just a bit differently. A bit less overall, and not sure whether better or worse. More vaguely, more as if talking about mythical beings. But sometimes also about people with ridiculously low amount of languages for the term (such as 4). There is no consistency that I could observe.

The reason I asked, was because I haven't really been part of an "offline" language learning community since I left university 20 years ago. As far as I can remember, polyglots weren't a frequent topic of discussion, but that was of course long before the advent of Youtube polyglots. My friends, family and colleagues don't talk much about polyglots either, and if the do, they'll probably not say "polyglot", but rather refer to them as somebody who "speaks many languages".

Ah well... there's the difference between active and passive vocabulary.

I asked several people what the word "polyglot" means and they all said basically "someone who speaks lots of languages". I think most people who're not involved in the "nu polyglottery" world would question whether the YouTube "language tourists*" are polyglots at all.

* HTLAL terminology. For those who weren't about back then, we played around with different ways to categorise different levels of interest in languages. I always tended to make a distinction between "day job" languages and "hobby" languages (I was studying a part-time degree in languages at the time, and frequently listening to the first few lessons of Pimsleur courses borrowed from the library) but a lot of other people talked about "language tourism" as a metaphor, because you'd visit and explore; you'd hang about for a short period of time, then go back to your normal life and not bother about the language much again.
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby leosmith » Sun May 29, 2022 5:12 pm

Cainntear wrote:I think most people who're not involved in the "nu polyglottery" world would question whether the YouTube "language tourists*" are polyglots at all.

I also like the expression "language hobbyists", coined by the evil Christophe Clugston.
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby lingohot » Sun May 29, 2022 6:49 pm

leosmith wrote:I also like the expression "language hobbyists", coined by the evil Christophe Clugston.


I never heard him using any other language than English...(expect a few demi-phrases here and there with strong accent)
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby galaxyrocker » Sun May 29, 2022 6:50 pm

leosmith wrote: Christophe Clugston.



Now there's a name I haven't heard in years. Is he still around? Thought something happened to him?

Also, I always associated him with his love of the word 'dilettante'
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby leosmith » Mon May 30, 2022 5:27 am

galaxyrocker wrote:Now there's a name I haven't heard in years. Is he still around? Thought something happened to him Also, I always associated him with his love of the word 'dilettante'
I don't know if he's still around, but he also liked the word "geolocked".
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby Le Baron » Mon May 30, 2022 9:25 pm

Same girl as the video further up, but 2 years ago. Chatting with Matt vs Japan about 'the polyglots' and those making mega-bucks out of it.

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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby zenmonkey » Tue May 31, 2022 6:32 am

The correct quote is “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

These internecine discussions only really matter if one follows polyglots as celebrities. That video is a performative, white knighting effort crossed with vague criticism and drama. Perfect for getting views and clicks. The exact same thing they are complaining about. Drama around language learning does not serve the learner.
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby Le Baron » Tue May 31, 2022 2:53 pm

zenmonkey wrote:The correct quote is “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

These internecine discussions only really matter if one follows polyglots as celebrities. That video is a performative, white knighting effort crossed with vague criticism and drama. Perfect for getting views and clicks. The exact same thing they are complaining about. Drama around language learning does not serve the learner.

Where did you source the 'correct quote'? I've never seen it beyond 'jack of all trades, master of none (the last clause being added later) and this goes back to pre-Shakespeare. Jack of all trades' used to be positive, but the addition was a retort to this denoting thinly-spread amateurism.

I don't think the video is far wrong, it seems also to be a couple of years old from when the youtube polyglots were not being taken to task. I don't agree that it's merely about following polyglots as celebrities. Social media and youtube has a lot of viewers and people looking for language guidance (probably wrongly) and it's about chancers playing on this and setting themselves up as experts, then cashing-in on junk advice. There's a fair bit of viewer gullibility involved. Let us be clear though, the internet and videos are so often now the first stop for people looking for advice and guidance.

It was only after a few videos starting being a bit critical that the known polyglots started reining it in a bit and discussing real failure rates; actual average time spans for learning; the amount of sheer time and effort needed for even one language to get to a really good level; the truth about adults learning languages. The video further up where Wouter Corduwener explains his goals and what he wants from learning seems to me legitimate, though he has also fallen into the performing dog category, going about with well-rehearsed superficial stuff. Though I admire his guts to go around doing it, because as he says going out and actually speaking is a massive stumbling block for so many people.

I also think the blonde girl is completely correct in criticising those 'white guy shocks locals with PERFECT Chinese" type videos. We know who this references. The guy who then hooks people in a haranguing email newsletter promising to teach you super-fast Chinese via text-based stuff and his already-existing videos. Con men and chancers. This is where learners are getting a disservice.
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Re: Definition of a Polyglot

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Jun 02, 2022 6:21 am

Le Baron wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:The correct quote is “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”


Popularized by Greene 1590s actually writing about Shakespeare - it’s definitely possible that it was common phrase at the time. The intent here was praise, similarly to the admiration held for many a polymath.

You should look into Clugston (he’s got some 10 year old videos that are comedy art at this point). It’s been at least a decade that people have been poking fun at magical methods of learning. Benny Lewis book’s was most certainly criticized for its overpromising title and hype. HTLAL was constantly talking about this.

I’m not saying the video is necessarily wrong. I’m noting that making a catchy video to get views about other people making videos to get views … is something something. Polyglots complaining about other polyglots but being careful not to mention them because that will cause problems is just click baiting content.
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