This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

General discussion about learning languages
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This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby tommus » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:12 pm

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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:15 pm

According to one of the articles, "Within three months, he plans to be able to understand the news on Albanian radio." That certainly seems very doable. And at that rate and at that level, he could have learned 32 languages in 8 years. Of course, he learns more than just being able to listen to the radio, but he has had plenty of time to add the "extras." I don't mean to shrug off his accomplishments. We who learn languages probably understand best the huge amount of effort he put in.

What I am curious about is when he says, "'For several months I’ve been focusing on Albanian, learning words, making cross connections,' he continues." I wonder what he means by "cross connections." Or did I miss something?

Hats off to him!
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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby Xenops » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:48 pm

I read about such individuals, and I think "I am so unaccomplished", but I have to remember:

1. Languages are his obsession;
2. I have other interests that I value as much as languages.
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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby Stefan » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:51 pm

Summary

He learned several languages as a kid by using tutors. Besides his native Greek, they mention tutors for English, German and Turkish. There between he learned Italian with "Teach Yourself Italian" and Russian/Arabic (no info). Once he reached University they mention more languages he learned without going into how.

At the end, the writer asks him for methods:

I asked him to recommend a method for someone learning a new language. He described a three-stage process that requires 15 minutes of study, six or seven days a week. First, you would assimilate the basic grammar, vocabulary and alphabet by using online aids, such as YouTube video tutorials and textbooks and CDs. (Linguaphone, Teach Yourself, Colloquial and Assimil are among his favourite “traditional” methods.)

The second step he called “taking the plunge”. Here you start to read newspapers on the web and watch news broadcasts. At first, you may understand only 10 per cent of what is being said.

“Don’t give up. Read, listen. Talk to people on Skype,” he said. “Expose yourself to language. You need self-discipline and persistence if there’s no private teacher. By being in constant contact with language, you tame it, like a wild horse, and become the master of that horse.”

The third and final step is achieving basic fluency, which requires going “far beyond the grammar and syntax and irregular verbs that are only 20 or 30 per cent of language”. At this point you eat the country’s food, watch its television programmes and films, listen to its music and read its literature. Learning about the history of the nation and language will also help. If possible, you should travel to the country. “Make friends with people who do not speak a word of English,” Ikonomou said.

And keep up those friendships. It was 10.30pm when I left his apartment but he was not ready to go to sleep. Mexican taxi drivers, Chinese students and friends he had met on his travels were logged on to Facebook, ready to chat.

They also mention how to keep the language once you learn it:

This involves reading extensively; his living room is filled with scores of dictionaries, textbooks and novels. He also watches a lot of foreign television, from Russian talk shows to Turkish movies, and converses with people on the internet.
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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby tarvos » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:28 pm

That part of the article you mentioned is pretty much what my room looks like, hah...

I just chatted in Greek, Russian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Spanish, English, Dutch and Mandarin over the weekend and also remembered some German.

My job requires me to speak Russian and English next to Dutch. What he does is pretty much what I also do, except I probably read more.
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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby aokoye » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:07 am

Added to the summary, but from the video - he works at the EU in their translation (or was it interpreting - I think translation) wing thus is physically around people who are interested in languages and speak likely at least three languages on a very regular basis. He travels on a very regular basis and has opportunities to speak languages in the country(ies) that they're frequently spoken in.
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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby smallwhite » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:32 am

If there are 2000 fulltime translators and interpreters in that office alone, how come we don't get any of them here on LLorg? We only have one translator, I think?
Last edited by smallwhite on Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby aokoye » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:54 am

smallwhite wrote:If there are 2000 fulltime translators and interpreters in that office alone, how come we don't get any of them here in LLorg? We only have one translator, I think?

Reasons I can think of:
Not everyone likes using social media.
Some of them probably have other hobbies as well.
We're a relatively small site.
They don't want to take their work (using languages for translation or interpreting) home with them.
They want to talk to other translators and interpreters, not just people who like studying languages.
They don't want to answer questions about interpreting/translating that are posed by people who aren't interpreters or translators and/or have very little to no training in interpreting/translating.
They're on other language related forums.
They don't want to deal with potentially hearing about people's myths about translating and interpreting.

We have one or two translators but I don't think either of them work for the EU. I don't know that we have anyone who is employed as an interpreter.
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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby Adrianslont » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:57 am

smallwhite wrote:If there are 2000 fulltime translators and interpreters in that office alone, how come we don't get any of them here in LLorg? We only have one translator, I think?

Interesting question - but it's not so odd, I think. There are lots of running, fishing, cycling online forums etc where there are no professional runners, cyclists or fishers. And so with other groups that have both professionals and amateurs. I guess they have their own forums, professional associations, and places to gather both virtual and in meatspace.

And even just looking at "amateur" (quotes because we have a number members who use their languages everyday in their work) language learners, it's interesting that there aren't so many online language learning forums compared to both the number of language learners in the world and the number of forums for other hobbies such as fishing, running and cycling.
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Re: This Man Speaks 32 Different Languages

Postby Cavesa » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:06 am

aokoye wrote:
smallwhite wrote:If there are 2000 fulltime translators and interpreters in that office alone, how come we don't get any of them here in LLorg? We only have one translator, I think?

Reasons I can think of:
Not everyone likes using social media.
Some of them probably have other hobbies as well.
We're a relatively small site.
They don't want to take their work (using languages for translation or interpreting) home with them.
They want to talk to other translators and interpreters, not just people who like studying languages.
They don't want to answer questions about interpreting/translating that are posed by people who aren't interpreters or translators and/or have very little to no training in interpreting/translating.
They're on other language related forums.
They don't want to deal with potentially hearing about people's myths about translating and interpreting.

We have one or two translators but I don't think either of them work for the EU. I don't know that we have anyone who is employed as an interpreter.


+They usually don't want to learn any other language, as they are busy getting money from the one(s) they already know. It is not easy. And I suppose that from their point of view, it might seem as stupid as if a violinist from the Vienna Philharmony started investing time in learning to play guitar.

+they underestimate us, assuming we are all just a bunch of forever beginners. Vast majority of them learnt the traditional way of schools, teachers, a langauge degree. I've met people studying these degrees, and usually they were suprised anyone would learn langauges differently, and even have a higher level than them. So, the already finished translators probably carry on the prejudice + they probably don't want to spoil their free time with work related stuff, I agree and understand.
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