Renato
The secrets of polyglots
What are the secrets of polyglots? How to learn so many different languages? Could anyone tell me the main techniques for learning a new language?
May 24, 2019 3:12 PM
Comments · 3
From what I've seen, polyglots either:

1 Have a very low bar for fluency so claim to speak a language fluently with a really very basic practical lexicon and often, awful pronunciation. I'm sorry that this is a negative and cynical view, but when I see videos of people bragging about being polyglots, this is usually (not always) the case.

2 Have a lot of time. There's no way around it. To speak several languages at at least an intermediate level, you need time, especially if you're going beyond the languages in the family you speak. Some people add up the time by staying committed to language acquisition for years (becoming genuine polyglots in their thirties or later), some don't need to work and can make language learning a full-time activity.

3 Have a particular talent that makes their performance in languages seem better than it is: maybe they have an ear for sounds and can mimic those well, so they sound native-like even if they have limited vocabulary. Some have an excellent memory and so can impress you by always finding the appropriate word for the situation.

There are a few polyglots I think deserve the title and are genuinely fluent in many languages, but most of them are older, have been learning languages for years, are retired, or some younger ones have found a way to make it their career.
May 24, 2019
Like what the first poster said, many polyglots you see on YouTube just memorize certain phrases and words and usually have bad pronunciation. For example, it's always like "I really like (language). I have been to the country before/ I have never been there but would like to go. I have studied the language for 30 days. I used apps and books to learn it. I would like to keep improving my skills. I love (language) and the people! Blah blah blah." 

You can't tell if they are good because you probably don't speak the other languages they were speaking or they practiced saying the same thing before recording.

I also want to add that many learn the same language from the same group. For example, Spanish Italian French Portuguese are four languages already and generally is very easy to learn those if you speak one already. It's completely different from polyglots who can speak Spanish, Japanese, Turkish, Vietnamese, etc,which is a rarer combination. 
May 24, 2019

Very interesting your views. Thanks for your comments.
May 24, 2019
Renato
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language
English, Spanish