The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
User avatar
PeterMollenburg
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2816
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:54 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), French (B2-certified), Dutch (High A2?), Spanish (~A1), German (long-forgotten 99%), Norwegian (false starts in 2020 & 2021)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... f=15&t=784
x 6240

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu May 27, 2021 6:02 am

einzelne wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:rdearman mentions professor Arguelles doing short sessions of study on multiple languages. Here is in fact a good example of a successful language learner studying multiple languages at once.


It's only a part of his story. Somewhere (was it his website which no longer functions?) he discussed how at a certain point he faced an insurmountable problem: yes, you can expose yourself with more than a dozen of languages by doing short learning sessions but at the certain point the only texts you read everyday are introductory textbooks. What's the point of knowing the basics in 50 languages if you cannot savor classical literature in none of them (this, I remind, was his initial goal of learning languages)?

Short sessions are effective only at the initial stage. Here's his testimony:

That's an experience that I ran into a brick wall of that about 20 years ago after I'd spent so much time being passionate about learning as many languages as I possibly could and I realized after a certain point, Hey, wait a minute if you study systematically in a disciplined fashion every day for 15 minutes a day you can go from knowing nothing to having a solid foundation in a year. But if you want to go up to the next level the solid foundation to you know a real basic functional working knowledge that needs half an hour a day and then if you want to go to a higher level that needs an hour a day and even a higher level this many hours a day.


And this is valuable information. I must add though that Arguelles was not studying three languages, but considerably more.

Still, I'm not trying to disregard the important anecdotal evidence in his claims, as I have suspected a similar concept - that multiple languages in the earlier stages is fine, but how does one push them all simultaneously past the intermediate plateau onto more advanced levels? It seems your quote enzelne of Arguelles holds the answer: you can't, or if we assume you can if you stick at it long enough, then we have an answer with regards to efficiency: it's terribly inefficient.

So, can we potentially conclude the it might be more efficient to study three languages simultaneously at the beginning levels, but as our comprehension grows and we continue along this path towards 'advanced', we need more and more time with the language to advance further. Yeah?

Additionally, we might as well then start off focusing on one language from the beginning as we are only going to have to drop two at some point if we want to reach C1 or beyond. So it seems again to be more efficient to focus on one language at a time if we aim to reach C1 or beyond.
2 x

User avatar
luke
Green Belt
Posts: 285
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:09 pm
Languages: English (N). Spanish (intermediate), Esperanto (B1), French (intermediate but rusting)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16948
x 621

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby luke » Thu May 27, 2021 9:48 am

Elisa Polese has some talks and interviews on YouTube. It seems she can teach students related languages and the students don't mix them up.

She doesn't claim to have special talent, but sometimes talented people don't realize they are.

One thing she said seemed related to a Professor Arguelles YouTube video on how to learn Spanish, French, Italian, and German in 5 years (sort of simultaneously) studying 2 hours per day. Arguelles proposed a curriculum of related courses available in the same format with the same contents. He gives the specifics in the video. Elisa talked about learning the same things in the three languages at the same time, so different but similar.

I almost started adding a Le Petit Nicholas story to my daily routine based on Elisa's talk, but I got busy and for me, spreading myself thin only works if I stay the course for years and never stop.
3 x

User avatar
Iversen
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3305
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:36 pm
Location: Denmark
Languages: Monolingual travels in Danish, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Romanian and (part time) Esperanto
Ahem, not yet: Norwegian, Afrikaans, Platt, Scots, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Greek, Latin, Irish, Indonesian and a few more...
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1027
x 8387

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby Iversen » Thu May 27, 2021 1:49 pm

When we speak about learning several languages in parallel there are several things to consider: will the languages disturb each other, and how much time can you spend on each one?

Point one: each new language should have a clear profile in you mind before you add the next one. If you intend to keep something separate from something else then you must be able to drop each new information into the right box. For some this seems to be a real problem, not least with related languages like Italian and Spanish, but luckily I got those respective boxes established with little fuzz long time ago. On the other hand I still don't try to keep track of Italian or Spanish dialects, so for me each language has become a mix of input that represents many dialects and sociolects and registers etc. etc. I have spent a lot of time and effort on keeping my Catalan, my Low German and my Scots separate from respectively Castilian, High German and English (and this includes learning each one as an independent language with all the methods that implies instead of hoping to absorb them by osmosis) so I don't mix these guys up with Castillian, High German and English (or various the dialects thereof). But I haven't done the same thing with the internal dialects of any of these languages, so my image of each of language depends on what I have heard most of recently or what I accidentally picked up from somewhere. And I don't care...

You can almost certainly deal with more languages simultaneously if you are an experienced language learner, partly because you know what functions for you and what doesn't, but it is at least as important that you already have learnt to juggle with several buckets/boxes in your mind. And here I will of course point to rDearman, who started out with one box, then two and now he has got four boxes - including one for random junk. Fortunately juggling with multiple boxes is a learnable skill.

Another thing that comes with time is experience with your favorite techniques. I don't have to invent wordlists or green grammar sheets again because I already have done so, and I know how to use them. I may be somewhat reluctant when it comes to establishing daily routines, but I have never problems finding something to do. The contentious factor here is of course the efficiency of each activity or method - and we can discuss that until the cows come marching home - but for me the combination of intensive grammar and vocabulary studies plus intensive studies of bilingual texts (or speech where you know what is being said) is the key to aquiring at least passive skills fast. And only after I have passed that treshold can it be meaningful to add extensive activities and activation and and other fun and game things.
9 x

User avatar
einzelne
Orange Belt
Posts: 210
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:33 pm
Languages: Russan (N), English (Working knowledge), French (Reading), German (Reading)
x 706

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby einzelne » Fri May 28, 2021 4:28 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:So, can we potentially conclude the it might be more efficient to study three languages simultaneously at the beginning levels, but as our comprehension grows and we continue along this path towards 'advanced', we need more and more time with the language to advance further. Yeah?


Hard to tell without independent studies. I'm skeptical. Here's the story of a guy who decided to learn French just for some basic tourist purposes. Yet even in the case of A1, the following happened:

I say that French is a side project and my main focus is Japanese, but I never actually counted up the hours until recently. Lo and behold, I am spending almost as many hours on French as on Japanese. I think this is what the military calls "mission creep." I don’t think I started out spending that many hours on French, but over the months, it has increased


Further he specifies:

As you can see from the chart, in a typical week, I spend about 13 hours on Japanese, and over 12 hours on French, and over five hours with Italian, for a grand total close to 31 hours.


May be he is retired now or doesn't have any family obligations (here's 61) for I simply cannot imagine how to find 31 hours for languages per week without sacrificing my family/social life.
6 x

David1917
Blue Belt
Posts: 547
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:36 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N)
Professional Level: Spanish, Russian
Current Focus: Chinese, Persian, German, Yiddish, Icelandic, Arabic, Cornish, Japanese
Time Permitting: Hindi, Latin, Old English, Polish, Greek, Hungarian, French
Dreams: Korean, Scandinavian, Slavic, Celtic, Sanskrit
x 1317

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby David1917 » Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:18 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:Still, I'm not trying to disregard the important anecdotal evidence in his claims, as I have suspected a similar concept - that multiple languages in the earlier stages is fine, but how does one push them all simultaneously past the intermediate plateau onto more advanced levels? It seems your quote enzelne of Arguelles holds the answer: you can't, or if we assume you can if you stick at it long enough, then we have an answer with regards to efficiency: it's terribly inefficient.

So, can we potentially conclude the it might be more efficient to study three languages simultaneously at the beginning levels, but as our comprehension grows and we continue along this path towards 'advanced', we need more and more time with the language to advance further. Yeah?

Additionally, we might as well then start off focusing on one language from the beginning as we are only going to have to drop two at some point if we want to reach C1 or beyond. So it seems again to be more efficient to focus on one language at a time if we aim to reach C1 or beyond.


If I recall he did have to focus on each one with more daily hours to push past an intermediate plateau. Russian is the example I'm the most familiar with, but after going through the Assimil Russisch ohne mühe a few times as well as whatever other workbooks up to the point that he was doing bilingual literature readings, he would spend most of the day focused on Russian. This was also especially in preparation for a month-long homestay in St. Petersburg.

He talks a lot about the difference between passive & active as well. You can gain probably a quite impressive passive reading knowledge of several languages over the course of time with short daily bursts of activity. To make that active though you must spend more time doing so and actually live in a place or speak with people. Of the three "exotic" languages he was focused on in Korea (Persian, Arabic, Hindi/Urdu), he felt Arabic was at the bottom of the heap until he moved to Lebanon. Very quickly it moved to the top, and it took that level of exposure to bring all that passive knowledge to life (& probably get it to stick better in the long run).

This also relates to what I think most would agree on, which is that the "B" range of CEFR is the most one can hope for with isolated self-study. If we are talking about C1 and beyond, then that does require a more significant amount of work. As for Prof Arguelles as far as I can tell he can do English, French, German, Korean, & Arabic at that level. I chose these because he has lived and worked in them for extended periods of time, meaning they can be activated at a high level rather instantaneously. He can read a novel in Faroese but has probably never spoken it with anyone, and certainly wouldn't necessarily be able to hop in to a conversation with educated native speakers on some advanced topic as with those first five. He bought a car in Lebanon using only Portuguese as the manner of conversation, and seemed to be satisfied with the purchase months after the fact, but again would probably not hope to have an advanced conversation on demand.

I think what he suggests is that maybe spending a week in the Faroe Islands or Brazil could prepare him for a discussion at an academic conference or something, but has never tried it, and that is a difference. Those languages are also related to ones he knows very well (and consistently calls dialects of each other). I would assume that it would take something on the order of weeks or months in Iran or India to get those languages to an appropriate level. I also think that if, now being in America, he stopped reading Arabic literature or listening to Arabic broadcasts or corresponding with Arab colleagues for an extended period of time, it might take days or weeks to return to that level (but probably not months).
6 x

jimmy
Orange Belt
Posts: 166
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:08 pm
Languages: Kurdish(N), Turkish(N), English(B2), Chinese(HSK1), russian(A2), Arabic(B1)
x 40

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby jimmy » Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:36 am

a quick report on the topic supported with an event and personelised idea:
getting C1 also C2 for just three languages is ok, however it will definitely not be such an easy thing to do.
I see you mention some quantitave expressions also,which is useful in fact.
When we distribute to everyday and say averagely you work at least half an hour is really not work time period that could be underestimated.
Because we accept that you everyday work at least :half an hour.
we experienced also with my medical scientist friend (a doctor) that working two hours or more a day might be a difficult thing.
anyway, I have come across an event recently which made me feel that I should feel myself relief.
I had attended an organization ,this was online program and the thing that I witnessed made also feel me strange and surprised.
the one speaking was using sentences like these:
1) I had worked at NASA for long years ..
2) I am happy to attend this program as a member of jury.
....
I am afraid, I should nevertheless express that not only his english accent was far more different than english spoken countries' language, but also wrong.
I do not know that man closely so I can give a probability to the methods (including experiences) we use and our personal characters might change the results.

All in all I think that it would worth to continue running towards our imagines.
1 x
I believe: my personal performance is way better than taking courses. . . :)

User avatar
PeterMollenburg
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2816
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:54 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), French (B2-certified), Dutch (High A2?), Spanish (~A1), German (long-forgotten 99%), Norwegian (false starts in 2020 & 2021)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... f=15&t=784
x 6240

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:35 am

David1917 wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:Still, I'm not trying to disregard the important anecdotal evidence in his claims, as I have suspected a similar concept - that multiple languages in the earlier stages is fine, but how does one push them all simultaneously past the intermediate plateau onto more advanced levels? It seems your quote enzelne of Arguelles holds the answer: you can't, or if we assume you can if you stick at it long enough, then we have an answer with regards to efficiency: it's terribly inefficient.

So, can we potentially conclude the it might be more efficient to study three languages simultaneously at the beginning levels, but as our comprehension grows and we continue along this path towards 'advanced', we need more and more time with the language to advance further. Yeah?

Additionally, we might as well then start off focusing on one language from the beginning as we are only going to have to drop two at some point if we want to reach C1 or beyond. So it seems again to be more efficient to focus on one language at a time if we aim to reach C1 or beyond.


If I recall he did have to focus on each one with more daily hours to push past an intermediate plateau. Russian is the example I'm the most familiar with, but after going through the Assimil Russisch ohne mühe a few times as well as whatever other workbooks up to the point that he was doing bilingual literature readings, he would spend most of the day focused on Russian. This was also especially in preparation for a month-long homestay in St. Petersburg.

He talks a lot about the difference between passive & active as well. You can gain probably a quite impressive passive reading knowledge of several languages over the course of time with short daily bursts of activity. To make that active though you must spend more time doing so and actually live in a place or speak with people. Of the three "exotic" languages he was focused on in Korea (Persian, Arabic, Hindi/Urdu), he felt Arabic was at the bottom of the heap until he moved to Lebanon. Very quickly it moved to the top, and it took that level of exposure to bring all that passive knowledge to life (& probably get it to stick better in the long run).

This also relates to what I think most would agree on, which is that the "B" range of CEFR is the most one can hope for with isolated self-study. If we are talking about C1 and beyond, then that does require a more significant amount of work. As for Prof Arguelles as far as I can tell he can do English, French, German, Korean, & Arabic at that level. I chose these because he has lived and worked in them for extended periods of time, meaning they can be activated at a high level rather instantaneously. He can read a novel in Faroese but has probably never spoken it with anyone, and certainly wouldn't necessarily be able to hop in to a conversation with educated native speakers on some advanced topic as with those first five. He bought a car in Lebanon using only Portuguese as the manner of conversation, and seemed to be satisfied with the purchase months after the fact, but again would probably not hope to have an advanced conversation on demand.

I think what he suggests is that maybe spending a week in the Faroe Islands or Brazil could prepare him for a discussion at an academic conference or something, but has never tried it, and that is a difference. Those languages are also related to ones he knows very well (and consistently calls dialects of each other). I would assume that it would take something on the order of weeks or months in Iran or India to get those languages to an appropriate level. I also think that if, now being in America, he stopped reading Arabic literature or listening to Arabic broadcasts or corresponding with Arab colleagues for an extended period of time, it might take days or weeks to return to that level (but probably not months).


I've quoted you David1917, but I've bolded a particularly interesting line and further underlined what most caught my attention within that sentence. Given you seem to feel that with isolated self-study one might very well struggle to reach the C-levels, this leads me to the question then, what is isolated self-study in your opinion? Do you mean someone studying for a few hours or more every single day, but isolated because they are not in the country in which the language is spoken or by isolated did you mean 'sporadic'?

I guess what I'm leading to is that there seem to be (my impression could be wrong), a handful of people who have indeed managed to pass C-level language exams while living in a country where the language in which they have passed the test in is not spoken much at all by the local population (example=
Cavesa wrote:...
in the Czech Republic). Perhaps I've misunderstood you or perhaps you are aware that this is the case and that you were generalising because it is a rare achievement.

The reason I'm pondering all this, and this is where I'll get a bit more general - and drift from your particular comments - is that my situation is specific and while I conclude that it's likely superior to continue with one language at a time, I find myself questioning this again. Not because I desperately have a serious case of wanderlust and just want to justify studying more languages, but for another reason. If reaching C levels are almost impossible, then why focus only on one language?

Furthermore, my family has become multilingual. English nowadays is my children's strongest language, with French hot on it's heels (especially with my eldest), Dutch in growing in presence to the extent my children can communicate with me in the language on a semi-regular basis with a little encouragement and their aural comprehension of the language is growing to the extent that one of my children who originally rejected the language is now rather content with being able to use and understand another language in a manner I'd call age-appropriate basic fluency. Now Spanish is also entering the picture, albeit in a very small way, just here and there. All the while I'm focusing in my time on pushing my French further to the elusive C-levels and doing so takes all of my independent language learning time up.

What's my point? Well my children are growing up and I feel it's best to introduce them to new languages while they're still young. Doing so will ensure the uptake of new vocabulary and expressing new phonetics with go smoother. If I take several years to get to C2 in French and in that time my eldest is almost a teenager, it will be quite some time before I can introduce Spanish to them in a more serious way, or feel more confident with more advanced conversations in Dutch or even consider trying them with Norwegian. I need to study these languages a little bit here and there to feel more confident with advancing along with the children while using these languages. Although I'm not speaking Spanish with them, I am reading stories, and that's okay, no problem, but a bit of grammar and vocab study here and there wouldn't hurt for example. I cannot introduce any light reading in Norwegian (so the language has zero presence currently), unless I feel more confident with the phonetics. For that I need a bit of study time. Given my family's multilingual situation is important, I feel I'm best to keep French as my main focus (like Arguelles did with Russian) and dabble in the other languages.

I don't drop French, I don't render it less important, the C-level achievement remains a possibility, I don't delay exposure to other languages for the children, I gain in confidence in using other languages with the children. I think it sounds reasonable, for me and my family personally.

So, instead of just learning French in my independent study time or completely dividing the time up between four languages, I came up with a plan that might suit advancing my French all the while dabbling in the others: For every one hour of French I study, I'd study half an hour of one of the other three languages (rotating through the three each time round, ie each 30 min session is one of the three languages). Thus, were I to study 4.5 hours in a day (wishful thinking maybe), I'd have done 3 hours of French and 30 minutes of Dutch, 30 min Spanish and 30 min Norwegian by the end of it. In reality though, it would be one hour of French, 30 min Dutch, one hour of French, 30 min Spanish, one hour of French, 30 min Norwegian. Of course to ensure I'd sail on into C2 French land at the same time, I think I'd have to reach some pretty decent numbers with regards to daily study time on average. Still, let's say I didn't do so well and only reached 2.5 hours/day, then between 90 min and 2 hours of that would be French (depending on which language I started on at the beginning of the day), and that's still reasonable and there'd be a little of the other languages (the ones I miss I do the next day as per the rotation through the three other languages each 30 min session).

For it to be successful though, I would like to see whether I can push my daily numbers up with French first. If I can consistently reach four hours or more daily, then I think the plan has merits. If not, I might need to reconsider. Best to try the plan on for size just with French, since if I fail miserably, I haven't just gone on essentially a messy dabbling mission and seriously hindered my French progress. It's also got to fit around life, so best to try it on for size in the coming months in terms of overall language study time with French only as the practise run. This way I have an excuse to push my French harder for a while in order to reward myself with a potential multi-lingual study plan later. Perhaps I'll see what I can do through to the end of the year, just a thought.
Last edited by PeterMollenburg on Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
3 x

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 5805
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 15914
Contact:

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby rdearman » Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:50 am

Peter. Is your wife onboard with all of this? If she is then perhaps she could carry the burden of one language to speak with the children. For example Spanish.
3 x
: 11 / 22 22 French Paperbacks Read: 7736 pages

The Autodidactic Podcast
The Lollygagging Podcast

I often post on this forum using mobile devices, so please excuse short messages and typos.

User avatar
PeterMollenburg
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2816
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:54 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), French (B2-certified), Dutch (High A2?), Spanish (~A1), German (long-forgotten 99%), Norwegian (false starts in 2020 & 2021)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... f=15&t=784
x 6240

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:00 am

rdearman wrote:Peter. Is your wife onboard with all of this? If she is then perhaps she could carry the burden of one language to speak with the children. For example Spanish.


Yes, that is not an issue. She's happy for me to study a certain amount per day within reason, which means early mornings. It also means fitting in study in down time at work and other similar work arounds (listening time during commutes etc). As for the kids, she's happy for me to read to them and speak to them in other languages. It's carefully thought out though, I'm not just bombarding them with 70 languages a day and I'm careful to consider my approach with them at all steps of the way. The main question is really around whether I can dabble in three languages and focus on one simultaneously. As ridiculous as it might sound, I think it makes a lot of sense, but hey I'm the one here trying to convince me ;)

My wife is engaged in homeschooling the children in English. My part is the foreign language part for the most part as I have no time for much else (in terms of their education) due to me working most days. Her doing Spanish (or another language) is not a no, but it's just not likely. She has introduced some Maori themes and words at times given some Maori background.
5 x

David1917
Blue Belt
Posts: 547
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:36 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N)
Professional Level: Spanish, Russian
Current Focus: Chinese, Persian, German, Yiddish, Icelandic, Arabic, Cornish, Japanese
Time Permitting: Hindi, Latin, Old English, Polish, Greek, Hungarian, French
Dreams: Korean, Scandinavian, Slavic, Celtic, Sanskrit
x 1317

Re: The question of EFFICIENCY in polyglottery

Postby David1917 » Thu Jun 24, 2021 9:04 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:
David1917 wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:Still, I'm not trying to disregard the important anecdotal evidence in his claims, as I have suspected a similar concept - that multiple languages in the earlier stages is fine, but how does one push them all simultaneously past the intermediate plateau onto more advanced levels? It seems your quote enzelne of Arguelles holds the answer: you can't, or if we assume you can if you stick at it long enough, then we have an answer with regards to efficiency: it's terribly inefficient.

So, can we potentially conclude the it might be more efficient to study three languages simultaneously at the beginning levels, but as our comprehension grows and we continue along this path towards 'advanced', we need more and more time with the language to advance further. Yeah?

Additionally, we might as well then start off focusing on one language from the beginning as we are only going to have to drop two at some point if we want to reach C1 or beyond. So it seems again to be more efficient to focus on one language at a time if we aim to reach C1 or beyond.


If I recall he did have to focus on each one with more daily hours to push past an intermediate plateau. Russian is the example I'm the most familiar with, but after going through the Assimil Russisch ohne mühe a few times as well as whatever other workbooks up to the point that he was doing bilingual literature readings, he would spend most of the day focused on Russian. This was also especially in preparation for a month-long homestay in St. Petersburg.

He talks a lot about the difference between passive & active as well. You can gain probably a quite impressive passive reading knowledge of several languages over the course of time with short daily bursts of activity. To make that active though you must spend more time doing so and actually live in a place or speak with people. Of the three "exotic" languages he was focused on in Korea (Persian, Arabic, Hindi/Urdu), he felt Arabic was at the bottom of the heap until he moved to Lebanon. Very quickly it moved to the top, and it took that level of exposure to bring all that passive knowledge to life (& probably get it to stick better in the long run).

This also relates to what I think most would agree on, which is that the "B" range of CEFR is the most one can hope for with isolated self-study. If we are talking about C1 and beyond, then that does require a more significant amount of work. As for Prof Arguelles as far as I can tell he can do English, French, German, Korean, & Arabic at that level. I chose these because he has lived and worked in them for extended periods of time, meaning they can be activated at a high level rather instantaneously. He can read a novel in Faroese but has probably never spoken it with anyone, and certainly wouldn't necessarily be able to hop in to a conversation with educated native speakers on some advanced topic as with those first five. He bought a car in Lebanon using only Portuguese as the manner of conversation, and seemed to be satisfied with the purchase months after the fact, but again would probably not hope to have an advanced conversation on demand.

I think what he suggests is that maybe spending a week in the Faroe Islands or Brazil could prepare him for a discussion at an academic conference or something, but has never tried it, and that is a difference. Those languages are also related to ones he knows very well (and consistently calls dialects of each other). I would assume that it would take something on the order of weeks or months in Iran or India to get those languages to an appropriate level. I also think that if, now being in America, he stopped reading Arabic literature or listening to Arabic broadcasts or corresponding with Arab colleagues for an extended period of time, it might take days or weeks to return to that level (but probably not months).


I've quoted you David1917, but I've bolded a particularly interesting line and further underlined what most caught my attention within that sentence. Given you seem to feel that with isolated self-study one might very well struggle to reach the C-levels, this leads me to the question then, what is isolated self-study in your opinion? Do you mean someone studying for a few hours or more every single day, but isolated because they are not in the country in which the language is spoken or by isolated did you mean 'sporadic'?


Good catch. By "isolated" I meant as a solo endeavor without speaking to other people in the language. They don't have to be in-country, but if you're doing textbooks and even reading literature but alone and not having conversations (in-person or online) then there's sort of a brick wall there.
1 x


Return to “Practical Questions and Advice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Lawyer&Mom and 1 guest