Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

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

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:04 pm

This video is almost six years old, but I hadn't seen it before:
(Thai audio, English subtitles)
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby thevagrant88 » Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:15 pm

I don't know if he comes close, but somebody who's name should be in the discussion more often (imo) is The Metatron. For those unfamiliar, he is an Italian youtuber whose content normally focuses on warfare history. He speaks Italian and Sicilian natively, his British accented English sounds native, and his French is also extraordinarily high and has demonstrated comfort in Spanish. The reason I mention him specifically is because of his Japanese. In short, he is the best non-native Japanese speaker I have come across on youtube. There are other great Japanese learners on youtube, but I don't fell any others have demonstrated his level of comfort with the language. He is also the only Japanese speaker I have seen to speak at such a high level while also being a polyglot. He also has videos of himself speaking Mandarin Chinese and while his pronunciation and prosody is spot on, I don't think he's ever shown himself speaking Chinese spontaneously, only prepared videos. On top of all that, he has shown to have reading comprehension of Latin and a bit of Modern Greek as well.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby Jiwon » Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:01 pm

When I was younger, around 2008, my Sri Lankan friend introduced me to Stuart Jay Raj. We were the only two teenagers who were enthusiastic about language learning in the entire grade, and learning about this man was such a shock to me. Yes, I knew there were people who could "speak" a few phrases in several languages, but this was the first one I saw that actually seemed to legitimately speak many Asian languages. I was kind of inspired by him, I think.

Now looking back at his videos, I am not very impressed with his Hindi. The prosody of his Hindi sounds stilted to me, and he makes some basic grammatical mistakes in Hindi. He also mispronounces some words, and by mispronounce, I mean mix up phonemes with minimal distinguishing features. So, he may have a good grasp of Sanskrit/Indic word roots in Thai and other Southeast Asian languages, but not so great a grasp over Hindi as a spoken language. I guess it's similar to knowing all the Latin roots in English, but not being able to speak much of Colloquial Latin or Italian. Does it makes less of a feat, what he has achieved? Certainly not. But he should definitely not say he "speaks" Hindi.

Well, there are very few videos of him speaking any Hindi, and they are also quite outdated, so he may have improved over the years.

Axon wrote:Of course, accent, fluency, and stamina remind me of a memorization video which is just incomprehensibly astounding: Somebody sings all the national anthems.


I just realised that the singer in this video is Korean. Wow.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby lil_pug » Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:30 pm

I understand conversational Thai about 90% of the time, but I can't always express myself adequately. The first time I heard Stuart Jay Raj speak in a video, I was astounded. He really did sound like a native Thai speaker! After re-studying Thai for several months, I rewatched another one of his videos. I realized that, although his understanding and oratory skills of the Thai language is excellent, the tone of a word that he speaks can be slightly "off" for every other sentence that he speaks, especially when he is really excited about a topic and starts to speak about it rapidly. Nonetheless, his Thai is truly excellent and I aspire to achieve his level of fluency in just one of the languages that I'm studying.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby ryanheise » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:22 am

lil_pug wrote:I understand conversational Thai about 90% of the time, but I can't always express myself adequately. The first time I heard Stuart Jay Raj speak in a video, I was astounded. He really did sound like a native Thai speaker! After re-studying Thai for several months, I rewatched another one of his videos. I realized that, although his understanding and oratory skills of the Thai language is excellent, the tone of a word that he speaks can be slightly "off" for every other sentence that he speaks, especially when he is really excited about a topic and starts to speak about it rapidly. Nonetheless, his Thai is truly excellent and I aspire to achieve his level of fluency in just one of the languages that I'm studying.


Incidentally, even his Australian accent (his native language) is now slightly off, in particular his open vowels like "Ahh" sound especially influenced by Thai, so I'm not surprised to hear your observation and I agree with you that it doesn't make him any less impressive.. I think this is the natural result of immersing himself in so many languages and accents, and so you can probably now describe his accent as "worldly" :-)
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby jonm » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:26 am

Sorry to learn that Stuart Jay Raj underwent surgery that damaged one of the nerves that control the vocal folds. They are immobile on one side. He can speak, but only hoarsely. Or, as he demonstrates, he can speak at a very high pitch.

Really impressed with his positive attitude. He's treating it as a linguistic challenge and planning to do voice exercises that hopefully will help him recover.

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

Postby ryanheise » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:11 am

Wow, I had not heard about this (even though I am subscribed to his channel, it didn't show up in my feed). Stuart Jay Raj is such a personal role model and inspiration to me, and I agree his attitude in this video is especially stoic.

As a linguist this is one of the best linguistic challenges ever for me: How can I bring my voice back. [...] she suggested that voice exercises, vocal exercises like singers or professional speakers use, could help bring the nerve back and reactivate my voice. So using today as a baseline let's see. I'll show you the progress as I go along.
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Re: Stuart Jay Raj - Does anyone even come close?

Postby dampingwire » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:39 pm

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


That's indeed amazing. His Italian and English are excellent. The only fault that I can find with his Japanese is that it was slow enough for me to understand :-)

It's a TV show, so he was probably told the questions in advance (and presumably the answers too) but that doesn't take anything away from his amazing abilities.
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