Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

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Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby drp9341 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:31 am

Hello everyone. I follow some Polyglot stuff on Youtube from time to time, and I remember hearing about that guy Stuart Jay Raj. I watched a lot of his stuff and I have to say I'm super impressed.

He speaks Thai, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Bahasa Indonesian, and other Asian languages. He also speaks Spanish and Danish.

He said in one interview that his siblings only speak English.

The thing that strikes me the most, is his fluency in these Asian languages. I don't speak any of these languages, but he seems to be an expert in these languages.

From what I've seen, none of the other Youtube polyglots even come close. Prof. Arguelles is in a category of his own, as his focus is the written language.

I can see that he's very intelligent from his interviews, but I'm still super impressed.

Lots of these languages aren't even related. I've read some stuff regarding his methods, and I've listened to some of the stuff that he's said, but I'm still absolutely amazed.

What do you guys know about him? What do you think? I can't imagine how much time it would take to learn one of these languages, nevermind so many, and to such a high level.

What do you guys think? I'm over here trying to get one Slavic (category III) language to a C level, I can't imagine what it takes to get so many Asian languages to this high of a level. These languages (correct me if I'm wrong here,) aren't as related as European languages.

I thought someone like Richard Simcott was the apex of what one could hope to achieve, then I randomly stumble across this guy and my mind is blown.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby ryanheise » Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:03 am

drp9341 wrote:What do you guys know about him? What do you think? I can't imagine how much time it would take to learn one of these languages, nevermind so many, and to such a high level.


One thing I know about him is that he had an awesome Grandfather who shared with him lots of language learning tips as a young child.

https://stujay.com/tomisimo-interview-with-language-master-stuart-jay-raj-by-david-www-tomisimo-org/

"It was my Mum’s Dad that had a psychotic passion for language that eventually rubbed off on me. It wasn’t just languages- but I guess it’s the language thing that’s ‘in your face’ when you meet people. My Grandfather at the same time taught me to touch type (at the age of 4), to use Morse code, to design schematic diagrams and build radios, to programme computers, and to memorise numbers and words."
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby drp9341 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:24 am

ryanheise wrote:One thing I know about him is that he had an awesome Grandfather who shared with him lots of language learning tips as a young child.

https://stujay.com/tomisimo-interview-with-language-master-stuart-jay-raj-by-david-www-tomisimo-org/

"It was my Mum’s Dad that had a psychotic passion for language that eventually rubbed off on me. It wasn’t just languages- but I guess it’s the language thing that’s ‘in your face’ when you meet people. My Grandfather at the same time taught me to touch type (at the age of 4), to use Morse code, to design schematic diagrams and build radios, to programme computers, and to memorise numbers and words."


I heard about that as well, he also mentions an adopted/host Indo-Chinese family? I wonder how young he was when he first learned Chinese (whatever dialect it was.)

Thinking about it, I guess the biggest hurdle would be the hanzi, so if he got those out of the way at a young age, then it wouldn't be as time-intensive to learn other Chinese dialects. I'm convinced he either has to be a genius, (in the traditional sense, not in the watered-down 21' st century sense,) completely and utterly 24/7 dedicated to languages or fluent in Chinese from a young age. Otherwise, I just don't see how it could be done when taking into account the amount of time required to get to such a high level in all of those languages.

I can see how with dedication, hard work and intelligence one might achieve something close to what Luca or even Richard Simcott have achieved, but Stuart Jay Raj seems to be on a totally different level. It might be simply that due to my ignorance of Asian languages I am overstating how much time it would require to achieve what he has achieved, it very well may be comparable to what Luca or Richard have achieved, but my gut feeling says it's not.

When watching his videos it's evident that he knows language inside and out, from phonetics down to the way words and sounds change across time and geography. Maybe since he isn't selling a language learning program he is more willing to delve into topics that would scare a novice away. I've only watched a few videos of his, but he seems to be the real deal.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby lingua » Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:31 am

I only know a little about him as I read his book Cracking Thai Fundamentals: A Thai Operating System for your Mind back when I was learning Thai. I was impressed by him but then I'm impressed with anyone that can learn languages like Thai or Japanese. I found Thai difficult and in the end gave it up since my original reason for learning was no longer in play. If I remember correctly he also studied Sanskrit.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby ryanheise » Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:32 am

drp9341 wrote:I'm convinced he either has to be a genius, (in the traditional sense, not in the watered-down 21' st century sense,) completely and utterly 24/7 dedicated to languages or fluent in Chinese from a young age. Otherwise, I just don't see how it could be done when taking into account the amount of time required to get to such a high level in all of those languages.


I'm not sure how we really define genius, but I do think as a child he certainly had a passion that was cultivated and he was very lucky to have such a truly awesome Grandfather teach him the ropes and cultivate that passion at a young age. As another example of his unique upbringing, he and his Grandfather used to play this game where they would tune their radio to listen in on foreign and unfamiliar languages, and they would challenge themselves to decode that language and figure out what the words meant. Can you imagine having a Grandfather like that??
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby Cainntear » Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:22 am

ryanheise wrote:
drp9341 wrote:I'm convinced he either has to be a genius, (in the traditional sense, not in the watered-down 21' st century sense,) completely and utterly 24/7 dedicated to languages or fluent in Chinese from a young age. Otherwise, I just don't see how it could be done when taking into account the amount of time required to get to such a high level in all of those languages.


I'm not sure how we really define genius,

In the most traditional sense it's the Latin for a guardian angel.
By extension it means divinely inspired.
This then led to a more generic "abnormally but naturally talented".

This went out of fashion as the whole nature/nurture debate kicked off. Some people believed that talent was nothing, and education or training was everything. Others believed that talent was nothing, and training or education was important, but that innate interest was what the "geniuses" had that allowed them to push themselves to high attainment. Others still believed in such a thing as talent, but many readily admitted that it was difficult to tell the difference between talent and training.
As a result, the general feeling was that the traditional definition wasn't much use, as you could never say it with any certainty.

If you look at the reported prevalence of ASD among the polyglot community, then yes, clearly traditional notions of talent, and hence genius, seem to apply.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby Cainntear » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:53 pm

Here's a post I wrote years ago about talent. TLDR: yeah, of course it exists, but we can all do loads if we train properly and use the right things. Talent only matters if you want to be the literal best in the world.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby tarvos » Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:43 pm

Cainntear wrote:Here's a post I wrote years ago about talent. TLDR: yeah, of course it exists, but we can all do loads if we train properly and use the right things. Talent only matters if you want to be the literal best in the world.


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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby devilyoudont » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:55 pm

Not familiar with him, and not knocking him. These may all be unrelated languages, but the amount of Chinese vocabulary in geographically nearby languages is massive. I know offhand that about 60% of words in Japanese and Korean are of some kind of Chinese origin. The number is more like 50% for Vietnamese. I can't tell you what the number is for Thai, but I can tell you that Thai has enough Chinese vocabulary that it was at one time mistakenly believed to be a Sino-Tibetan language.

Of course, learning each of these languages is a difficult task, but if you started out with a Chinese language and then moved to a language that has a large percentage of Chinese vocabulary, you would have a leg up that is substantially larger than the normal advantages third language learners typically have over second language learners. This leg up still wouldn't compare to the kind of boost learners of multiple Romance languages have tho.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby Axon » Sat Mar 14, 2020 5:44 am

Stu Jay Raj is really astounding, to be sure. I tend to watch everything he puts out, and there's not many polyglots I can say that about!

One thing you said stuck out to me, though:

drp9341 wrote:...

The thing that strikes me the most, is his fluency in these Asian languages. I don't speak any of these languages, but he seems to be an expert in these languages.
...


I'm confident that if I saw a video of you speaking Polish I'd say you were totally fluent, simply because I don't know enough Polish to judge. It's easy to be amazed by someone with a good accent and confident speech - just today I saw a video of "an American speaking 42 languages." He was speaking very impressively in Indian and Central Asian languages that I don't understand at all, but when it came to languages I did understand, there was a big difference in how I perceived his ability since he was making mistakes and just repeating simple things.

He doesn't have a lot of Indonesian clips online, but his Indonesian is native-like to my ears. Smooth, flowing, accurate pronunciation, easy to listen to, correct as far as I can tell. His Mandarin... he has a strong Southeast Asian influence, which he sometimes overcompensates for, creating a bit of a weird effect. Imagine somebody inconsistently speaking with British and American vowels. He absolutely knows the language extremely well, but when I watched this video with my girlfriend (a native speaker), she got bored halfway through and commented on how his speech style made him not that great of an orator. Kind of like he was playing a character instead of doing a presentation. Dashan has long been the go-to example of a foreigner speaking excellent Chinese, and both the difference in delivery and consistency of accent are immediately clear to me when I compare him to Stu Jay Raj.

What I really respect about Stu Jay is that he also has a deep academic knowledge of the languages. He knows phonetics extremely well, and he's done some great deep dives into languages on YouTube, like on how the Japanese syllabary evolved from Chinese characters (his Chinese handwriting impresses me as much or more than his spoken Chinese actually, it's insanely good).

Obviously I don't have a fraction of Stu Jay's knowledge or his well-practiced ability, and I'd be willing to say that his background and consistent focus on languages for decades has made it so that very few people can ever reach the level he has. But I would also not put him on an unreachable pedestal. Just from the passion, study drive, and attention to detail in your logs, I put you in a similar mental category to him.

By the way, if you want to be really blown away, this is the most amazing polyglot video I know of.
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