A video I recorded (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITzFRlVhMVs) is currently on the front page of /r/videos and several people have requested that I do an IAmA in the comments.

I am NOT naturally talented in languages. I took German and Irish (Gaeilge) in school, and barely passed German and had to drop down to a lower level in Irish for a basic university entrance requirement. I have a degree in Electronic Engineering and when I moved to Spain at the age of 21, I only spoke English. I even managed to spend six months in Spain and not learn the language to any useful degree. I've given a TEDx talk about my story and what I changed to become the polyglot I am today.

I've had a completely different approach since then and can now speak ten languages and sign American Sign Language. To watch my TEDx talk, and then see me use several of my languages with a native speaker in a spontaneous interview, check out the videos on this page (here's a direct link to watch my TEDx talk) or my Youtube channel. About six of these languages are genuinely fluent - this would be a European Common Framework level B2-C2, with officially recognized diplomas in several, and the others are various degrees of conversational. So for example, my Spanish is C2 (mastery) and I've worked as an electronic engineer in the language, but my Chinese is B1 (conversational, but still hesitant).

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about my thoughts on how to go about learning a language efficiently.

For proof that I am who I say I am, you'll see that I'm pretty active on Reddit, Youtube, twitter etc. and it's always under the handle irishpolyglot.

Here are some typical questions people ask me:

1. What's your secret? Are you naturally talented, or did you grow up in a multilingual environment?

No. I did poorly in languages in school and only spoke English when I was 21. My secret is that I stopped using excuses like "I'm too old", "I've got no language gene", "People will laugh at me" and other absolute nonsense, and I focused on speaking my target language every single day. A communicative approach, rather than a studious one, will get you much further. I do study, but it's based around my spoken sessions.

2. I see from your blog that you travel a lot. That's all well and good for you to be in the country, but I can't! I guess I can't learn my target language until I'm rich or go on holiday?

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, travelling as the core of your "strategy" is a terrible idea. I've met thousands of "expats" living abroad with nothing in the language. I always tell people it depends on your attitude, not your latitude (and longitude). I actually learned most of my Portuguese while living in France, and in September I plan to learn a language totally unrelated to anything I've ever learned before, to fluency in three months, in the wrong continent, to prove how it's what you do, not where you do it, that matters. You can talk to people on Skype via many sites (one I like is italki), or you can meet up in person! The video that is doing so well on /r/videos shows me and my other polyglot friend speak a dozen languages in a mall in Ohio. Not New York City, not at a language conference, but in Columbus, Ohio. There are always opportunities if you open your eyes or try harder! I also like to use Couchsurfing.org and search the city I'm in for the target language, and invite that person out for a coffee. You can meet up in person with native speakers of many languages if you are in any large city, or you can practice via Skype. Some languages are a little harder to do this than others, but once you find ONE person to spend time with consistently, you are good to go!

3. Should I go out and buy Rosetta Stone/Pimsleur etc. What books do you recommend?

I reviewed Rosetta Stone for my blog while learning Dutch. It's the first or second result when you Google "review of Rosetta Stone" and one of the few reviews on the Internet that isn't actually a pitch (for RS, or for a competing product). I've written a book myself that I sell on a site separate to my blog, but I say specifically not to buy it as an alternative to RS - it's only for people who are more curious about how I learn languages myself.

Basically, I find RS to be marketing geniuses. You can't miss them in America. But the product itself is simply not good. They copy and paste 90% of their content to all languages, which means you simply are not learning what you need to. Obviously a course needs to be unique for each language and its subtleties. The course is also too expensive. It has been effective for some people, but I feel it's because they've spent so much money that they feel obliged to use RS and other (more useful) resources.

I've also reviewed Pimsleur and a few other products. The bottom line is that there IS no product that will solve all of your problems. This is basically throwing money at the issue. What you need to do is learn a few words and phrases and use them immediately with a human being. I got so frustrated with this product-focus that I actually wrote a "sales pitch" for the best product in the world, HB 2.0 (Human Beings).

Note that if your focus is just on passing examinations, or something else like reading a book, rather than communication with people, then a lot of what I say becomes less relevant. Not me, or anyone else has the ultimate solution to learning a language, this is all down to what is relevant for you. Many people do the opposite of what I say, and more power to them because they have very different goals. The great thing about the Internet, Youtube etc. is you can get to know other polyglots and see where their focus lies and see if you'd jive more with their advice. "One size fits all" products are always a terrible idea.

If you are really curious though, I tend to invest in "Teach Yourself", "Colloquial", and Lonely Planet phrasebooks when starting off with most languages. I find these teach you to get by pretty well, and are light on grammar. From there you can advance quicker. I would study grammar when I have a base, never intensively at the start.

4. Does speaking a lot of languages get you laid a lot?

I get asked this a LOT!! Look, I'll admit that I kind of got inspired to become multilingual partially because the Brazilian guy I met (mentioned at the start of my TEDx talk) had ladies drooling over him. I thought it was because he spoke all these languages, but in fact it was because he was charming, attentive and a nice guy, while also being assertive and a man of the world.

And that's what it all comes down to in the end. After my first four years of travelling, I think I spoke five languages, which is already "impressive" enough. I made the mistake of saying this immediately when I would meet a pretty girl, thinking she'd be so impressed with me that we'd be going home within five minutes. It never ever happened. It's as bad as waving a Rolex or pointing to your Porsche. That doesn't impress people ever. Some girls are attracted to guys with money, but if you come across as an insecure asshole then that charm vanishes and the cute and charming bum becomes way more interesting. (For the record, I'm not rich. I earn about the same wage as people I graduated university with, but I am a minimalist and this helps me travel easier. Living in foreign countries also helps you leverage currency differences to your advantage)

So no, speaking a bunch of languages does NOT get you laid. It's the kind of person that you are. It's true that now because I speak more languages, I am open to more opportunities to meet more interesting people. I travel a lot and have learned to become less shy and approach more people (guys and girls), and this naturally leads to more opportunities. It's true that if I happen to speak the girl's native language, my chances increase dramatically, but actually you only need to speak ONE language for this, not a dozen.

As it happens, I'm not travelling the world to shag every girl in sight, and it's a pity when people think I have "a girl in every port". I prefer quality over quantity, and building deeper connections than having a string of empty one night stands. Being a world traveller influences my love life (for better and worse) more than speaking many languages does.

Speaking more languages does make you more of a "man of the world", which is of course an attractive quality. DON'T learn languages to get laid though. You'll be terribly disappointed. Work on becoming a more interesting person. If more girls are interested in me, it's actually because I can LISTEN in more languages, not because I can speak in more of them.

5. What's the hardest language in the world?

I've learned Hungarian and Czech to basic conversational level (haven't maintained them though, my ten non-English languages I maintain are Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Esperanto, Irish (Gaeilge), American Sign Language, Mandarin and Dutch), dabbled in Thai and recently learned Chinese. And you know what the hardest one out of all of these has been?


Yep - not Chinese, not Hungarian. Spanish. When you look at a language from a purely linguistic viewpoint, comparing grammatical concepts or how many cognates it has with your mother tongue, it's easy to think that you could theoretically come up with a "hardest" language.

But this ignores the psychological aspect. The hardest language in the world is what is hardest FOR YOU. Any generic list can never take this into account. I had the most inefficient learning approach (for a language I genuinely tried to learn) for Spanish. It took me almost a year to get the stage of OK conversational in Spanish, whereas it took me about five months to get to that same level in Chinese. I went on to improve my Spanish after this, but the point is that my APPROACH made the language hard, not the language itself.

If you are passionate about a language, then don't waste time comparing it to others. Some people like to learn a language because it seems hard (I'm not a fan of this; seems like a rather superficial reason to take on a means of communication with human beings), but for most of us this is nothing but intimidation, or the ego of someone who is a native speaker or who has learned it and wants you to think they are smart because of that.

Yes of course, if you have no personal attachment or motivation to learn languages and impersonally compare them, one language will come out as much harder than another to learn. But if you love Japanese Manga, then maybe this would be the "easiest" language (in passion) for you to learn, or if your family is Czech then you'll dive into that with way more enthusiasm than you ever would for Spanish or French.

Don't compare language. Learn the language you want to learn and learn it well!

Bonus Q. 6 How do you learn so many languages??

One language at a time. Focus, stick to it until you get to a very comfortable level, and then start another one, while maintaining the previous one. I've seen people try to learn two or three languages from scratch at once, and sometimes it works, but for most of us this is too confusing.

My fluent languages are a part of me now. I lived my life through them and have friends in these languages. I focused entirely on each one for several months or over a year, so it's a means of communication to me that I switch into.

I don't mix them up so often because I try to use them frequently. This allows me to compartmentalise them in my mind (I do other things like associate body language, posture, voice with one language so it's harder for another language to invade it).

Focus is the secret. If you are patient, and stick to one language that you are GENUINELY passionate about, then after you have reached a great fluent or mastery level in that language, you will be may more skilled to take on the next. It does get easier - not necessarily because your brain is tuned to language learning, but because your personality is. If you gain the CONFIDENCE to do it once, then you can do it again.

People don't realize how important confidence and ambition are in language learning. It isn't about good memory, but genuinely using it. This is how languages work - it's you and another person talking. Make it about that rather than sticking to the books and you'll be good to go!

* EDIT 1: Several people are asking Have you ever overheard people talking about you or dissing you thinking you don't understand?, so I'll answer it here.

I have found indeed come across people talking about me in general, curious about this white traveller (especially in non-touristy places) but to this day, never bad mouthing me that I was aware of. In China this year they kept referring to me as an American 美國人, rather than simply foreigner 外國人, since I'm white and they presume most white people are Americans. I found that a little annoying, but hardly offensive. They'd say this loudly enough that I was bound to hear it, but presumed that I couldn't understand them.

And one girl on a metro in Taiwan said to her friend I was cute, and got so embarrassed when I said 謝謝! (Thanks!)

Also, another question coming up a lot is What language do you think in? Generally, at any given time, I'm focused on improving a particular language. With this in mind, I force myself to voice-over in my head in that language. So even in the early stages, I'd try to think "Oh damn! I'm out of milk! I'll have to go to the store" or "That girl's cute!" etc. in the target language. It's unnatural at first, but soon I get used to it.

Right now I'm in the Gaeltacht in Ireland and think about such things in Irish. It's a conscious decision that keeps me in the flow. If you are curious about what language I dream in, you'll get that and a few other FAQs on this page: http://www.fluentin3months.com/learner-faq/

EDIT 2: Wow! Front page of Reddit an hour after I posted it! Incredible! This has exploded the number of comments well beyond what I can handle. I'm trying my best to answer questions that are unique or that I can answer quickly, so sorry if I don't get to yours, because some are coming up regularly. Please do click the links below because I discuss everything on my blog! Subscribe to follow my blog as I attempt my next language in September, and ask me your question again in a few weeks when the dust settles if I don't get to it this time :)

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them below. Click the links to my blog or TEDx talk to see me discuss this in more detail.

Comments: 1756 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

arbiro227 karma

What do you think about duolingo ?

irishpolyglot150 karma

Here's a review on my blog: http://www.fluentin3months.com/duolingo/ My thoughts on it are near the end. In general, it's a fantastic idea, but needs a bit of tweaking.

Dopeaz195 karma

Klingon? Java? C++? .NET?

irishpolyglot156 karma

Klingon, yes!! :) Watch this video of me giving a tour of the place I was renting in Chicago, in costume! http://www.fluentin3months.com/klingon-vid/

I learned C++ in school, but use PHP more than anything nowadays for my blog, although I don't know it so well.

Dopeaz54 karma

Ever mix languages up to make a new superlanguage only other decatongued people could follow? What is your favorite word?

irishpolyglot128 karma

I'd mix languages up in the learning stages, but way less frequently when I speak it fluently.

My favourite word is "saudades", a sense of longing or missing deep in your soul. It's Brazilian Portuguese and you understand exactly what it means after you leave the country and wish you were back!

Edit: OK, it's Portuguese for any country. I only speak Brazilian Portuguese and wasn't aware of this.

ManaSyn16 karma

Not wanting to nitpick, or maybe I do, but "saudades" is not specific to Brazilian Portuguese.

I may as well ask this too:

If you did learn Brazilian Portuguese rather than its European version, and you say Spanish is the hardest language, have you actually ever been to Portugal or talked to Portuguese people to try and see how it sounds? You may as well expand this question to all your other languages.

Not trying to say EP is harder than Spanish or BP, I'm just curious really.

irishpolyglot17 karma

I've met Portuguese in my travels and could adjust to their accent with some concentration. But I've never been to Portugal, and I'm not sure if they were adjusting because they knew I spoke Brazilian Portuguese.

shoe_size_ted131 karma

What's your shoe size?

irishpolyglot75 karma

45 European.

Diego_Rivera66 karma

Why did you move to Spain? What's the best place you've lived in?

irishpolyglot102 karma

Spanish students came to my home town in Ireland when I was growing up and I liked how much fun they were. I never learned Spanish from them because they were there to improve their English. After graduation, I thought I had worked hard enough at my degree and deserved some "fiestas". I had initially only planned to move to Spain for the summer, but spent an entire year there and came back later for a further six months.

My favourite country in the world is Brazil. I wrote why here.

bezaorj7 karma

Carioca here, glad to hear you consider Brazil your favourite country. Abraço!

irishpolyglot4 karma

Tu vai adorar esse artigo: http://www.fluentin3months.com/sound-like-a-carioca/ ;) Saudades da cidade maravilhosa!!

OneElevenPM66 karma

Ok, you are now my new hero.

I set a challenge to learn five languages before I am 30 (25 now) but am currently feeling like a complete thick twat in trying to learn Spanish via Rosetta Stone.

Thanks for the AMA.

irishpolyglot102 karma

One language per year. Focus will get you furthest. Ditch Rosetta Stone and meet up with native speakers in person or online, or use affordable books like Teach Yourself, Colloquial or the Lonely Planet Phrasebook.

mintmocha59 karma

First of all, I'd like to say that that's amazing and inspiring. I love learning languages and hope to be like you someday.

My question is what inspired you to start learning different languages in the first place? Surely, quite often it's enough to jsut get by on English.

irishpolyglot98 karma

It is indeed enough to just get by on English! In most places, you can travel just with English no problem. You will always pay way more, but it's certainly possible.

The problem is that it's only ever "getting by". I don't travel for the places, but the people. So basic functional to ask directions to the sights is not important to me, since I'm not much of a sight-seer. I want to speak with human beings, and make that my focus.

I've had some amazing experiences thanks to speaking the local language that would have been absolutely impossible for an English speaking traveller. It opens up a whole new world for you!! People who only use English with the university educated elite have no idea what they are missing.

mintmocha20 karma

Thank you for your response!

Since you mentioned opening up a whole new world-which language do you tend to think in now or which language do you think in most of the time if you think in multiple languages? Do you feel like thinking in another language has changed your perspective on things?

irishpolyglot49 karma

I do indeed force myself to think in the target language. Rather than wait until it comes naturally I would voiceover in my head "Wow, she's pretty!" or "Damn it! I forgot to get milk in the shop!" in the language I'm learning. This helps you get into it a lot, so I don't translate but am thinking in the language when using it, and hesitate less thanks to this.

Yes, it has changed my perspective on a lot of things. This blog post describes what I've learned in the last decade. It's been popular on Reddit and been read about a million times: http://www.fluentin3months.com/life-lessons

imafuckshit48 karma

As an Irish man, who was also chronic at German and Irish in school, this is inspirational. If you were to recommend one language for an English speaker to learn, for ease and usefullness, what would it be?

irishpolyglot67 karma

I definitely would not recommend any language "for an English speaker". This is too impersonal for me. If you are PASSIONATE about your target language, then it's the best one FOR YOU. Never listen to me or anyone else tell you what the "best" language is. My favourite language is Portuguese, but this all down to personal experience.

I'd recommend you read up on other cultures and see which one you'd love to experience more of. Then that may be the language for you! As an Irish person I personally find it very easy to live in Spain, as they are festive, like to slag (this is playful mocking for any non-Irish reading this) and easy to get along with, and as an EU country you won't have working or visa issues there.

BeardyGuts42 karma

Could you be more specific on how you learn? Do just buy a general phrase book, learn a few phrases each day and then apply them to the real world? I understand it's down to the individual but everyone needs a starting point.

I have always wanted to learn a language, attempted a few times but never got anywhere. Recently i have been getting more determined but want to do it right. Did a lot of research on RS and decided against it, had a look at the Anki type programs which seem useful but not as a stand alone. I work in the Oil and Gas industry and have a lot of multi lingual people around me so interaction with other languages shouldn't be a problem. But really looking for a starting point...

irishpolyglot69 karma

You can follow me attempting to learn a language from scratch to fluency in 3 months starting September (in the wrong country).

But basically: buy a Lonely Planet phrasebook. Learn full phrases off, use them. Get courses like Assimil, Teach yourself, Colloquial and use that for a little bit more of a base. Use it. Practice a tonne. When you are somewhat comfortable in the language, then (and only then) study some grammar to tidy it up. Practice more.

That's it in a nutshell, but obviously there are other parts to it that I write about a lot on my blog.

I agree that RS is not going to help.

Kramol39 karma

How do you finance your travels? Do you search a job in the countries you're traveling to?

irishpolyglot125 karma

I used to - I worked as an English teacher, Mathematics teacher, Youth Hostel receptionist etc. for many years. Then for about three years I worked as a freelance translator. This was all email based, so I could take it anywhere and earn in euro.

Now, because my blog gets 400,000 visitors per month, I just need 0.01% of them to end up on http://speakfromday1.com (separate to my blog) and invest in the multimediate package. It's expensive, so I only need to sell one or two a day and I'm doing great. I never tell people to buy it as a necessary step - only if they are really curious to see my best tips without blog stories and other distractions.

For the moment I'm earning off sales from that product. Since my blog is so huge, I don't even promote it so much - no banner advertisements etc. I'll do a promotion once a year and that's about it.

So my work is really blogging and sharing my language learning tips for FREE. Getting shared on Reddit is fantastic because this is more people who will check me out. I want 99.99% of them to never pay me anything and learn as much as they can from what I write, and the 0.01% will support me so I can continue to do this.

KevinJD35 karma

In other words, this thread should net you some serious visits as well as a few sales here and there. :)

irishpolyglot24 karma

Precisely! It's why I've devoted most of the day to answering as many comments as I can... Reddit has helped me with some new subscribers, so I want to help back and make sure I do indeed live up to AMA (although the quantity means I have to skip a few questions I've answered already, or can't answer sufficiently)

nanoharker28 karma

Very interesting AMA! I loved your video and as a youngling who is following a somewhat similar path I have a lot of questions.

First of all, have you ever considered learning japanese? I learned English and French (native Spanish) and became fluent pretty quickly. Howver, Japanese seems to be so much harder. I know my learning method is partly to blame but now that i'm living and breathing it, it still seems pretty hard.

Can you read and write chinese characters or did you only focus on conversation? If not, do you ever plan to / think that it's worth it?

What do you do when you get discouraged while learning a language?

How has being a polyglot influenced the way you think?

Sorry for the list of questions but I am very intrested! Oh and fucking great French and Spanish btw.

irishpolyglot21 karma

Yes, I'll learn Japanese some day. Follow my blog to see me get around to it!

I can read Chinese signs fine, but not books. I would write text messages and emails in Chinese all the time, as this uses pinyin. I personally have no use for writing the traditional way, as I do all writing in all my languages using technology.

Good friends can always give you encouragement, and speaking it with friendly people is the best encouragement you can get. Don't keep your head in books alone in your study, and you'll be less likely to get discouraged :)

Wardez25 karma

Hey Benny! You've truly inspired me with your videos and story. I love the fact that you do what you do and try so hard to get it out there.

Now I wanted to ask you something about the big slap to the forehead you just made me do in discovering how you learned your languages. It's because I've been trying really hard, with the Pimsleur and RS approach to learn Arabic, and it's tough. But here's the thing, my girlfriend's fluent in Lebanese Arabic and I want to learn it in order to better communicate with her family.

Am I ignoring a gold mine of knowledge in not just asking her to start speaking to me in Arabic? If so, how do we start? Should we have hours of time where I ask her to only try and communicate with me in Arabic, or just ask her "what does this mean, that mean" ?

Thanks in advanced, you've really inspired me to quit trying to force the language and seek this new worldly approach I should've been doing all along.

irishpolyglot35 karma

Yes you are. You have the greatest language learning resource in the world right under your nose. She is your key to fluency in Arabic, not generic courses built by marketers.

Try your best to learn some phrases and use them with her, and have an Arabic only time. She'll have to be patient at first, but if she is you will learn very quickly.

Best of luck!

infinitum1721 karma

Linguist and Classicist here. Ever thought about learning an ancient language like Latin, Greek, or Sanscrit to give yourself some background?

Latin would be relatively easy to learn given all the Romance languages you know already, and it would make maintaining them a lot easier, I think.

irishpolyglot18 karma

Since my language learning focus is communicative and spoken focused, I wouldn't be so interested in learning classical languages for now. I did understand some written Latin when I lived in Rome though, so you're right. But I doubt I'll invest time in it for the moment. Plenty of living languages to keep me busy!!

jthomas9116 karma

Hey Benny, I've been a big fan for a while now. First off I was wondering if you could share different techniques you use to confront people and start talking to them (without seeming too weird and without making the person feel like they are obviously a foreigner which I feel might be offensive to some people). I think this is my biggest problem with meeting new people to practice language with. Also have you had some bad experiences approaching people in this manner and if so has it discouraged you at all? Thanks for doing an AMA!

irishpolyglot18 karma

I was really inspired by Moses, as this technique of approaching people in public is not something I do often. I generally message people online through sites like Couchsurfing to meet up, or go to a party, which is easier to approach people without them feeling apprehensive.

Moses showed me that I need to expand on this.

But in general there is no "technique". I don't use something like PUA tricks - I just walk up to someone and say whatever. It's a lot less of a big deal than people think. I don't remember ever having bad experiences by doing this. Sometimes people aren't that interested, so you shrug your shoulders and go to someone else. No big deal.

A friend of mine calls it "Social Skydiving". You approach as many strangers as possible, and eventually you gain the confidence to do it better and better. You have to swallow it up and get over the fear asap though.

jthomas9111 karma

Yea I guess I just have to bite the bullet and it will get easier as time goes on, I already do it occasionally but not as much as I would like. Who are your favourite online polyglots? Obviously Moses must be up there but what about Luca, Richard Simcott, Steve Kaufman? Do you know them personally/ what do you think of them (particularly their online presence) Are there any online polyglots you could recommend that people might not have heard of?

irishpolyglot16 karma

Richard Simcott is the nicest of all of us. The two of us talked for ages on Skype and will record a video together some time soon enough.

StuJay is another one of my favourites, since he's the only other one I know of (besides myself) who puts serious work into attempting to professionally edit his videos, and he has some great ideas to share.

I'm a big fan of Khatzumoto, and even though I haven't gotten to Japanese yet, I love his twitter feed @ajatt for some inspiration (even if our approaches and focus are different).

Steve has some wise things to say, but the two of us don't get along unfortunately (he's way too critical IMO and would do well to stop sending me so much discouragement when I take on a new language project; I don't see the point). Before we fell out, you can hear an otherwise interesting audio exchange between us if you google it a little on his blog.

I haven't been in touch with Luca yet, and hope to some day. I'm generally more active in person than online so I'd look him up when I make it to Paris if he's interested. I've met Moses and Glossika in person and communicated with a bunch of other people.

To be totally honest with you, I don't have much of a huge interest in polyglotism. Richard does an excellent job interviewing many polyglots and discussing the topic. My focus is more on particular languages, so I try to interview natives instead, and write about learning ONE language, since this is more relevant to most people. So people who speak one other language can give you excellent advice!

This voted list of top language bloggers is a good place to start: http://en.bab.la/news/top-25-language-learning-blogs-2012

blingx13 karma

Awesome video man! Really inspiring. When you use one of those lonely planet phrase books, how much time a day do you spend on learning it? Like when you're bored or taking a shit, or do you set 2-4 hour study sessions aside for it?

irishpolyglot17 karma

I give it my undivided attention. When I was working as an English teacher in Spain, every single second of spare time was devoted to improving my Spanish, not just when taking a shit ;)

As I said, focus is the magic ingredient for successful language learners!

hurlyderly9 karma

So you are fluent in 6-7 languages, how well would you say you manage the grammar\writing part of the languages you know?

Edit: Also If you have the time it would be cool to hear your favorite story where you overheard something or understood something you were not supposed.

irishpolyglot8 karma

Added your second question to the end of the original description since it's coming up a lot.

I've studied the grammar and writing formally in a few languages, and sat high level diplomas in these. I don't care much for it though, so I don't practice it all that much beyond personal emails and the like. I do try to have good grammar though, AFTER I've reached a decent conversational stage of a language and am ready to tidy it up.

temporary56918 karma

Wat weegt zwaarder voor jou, kwantiteit of kwaliteit? Oftewel, hoe goed kun je al deze talen verstaan/lezen/spreken?

irishpolyglot15 karma

Kwaliteit! Ik kun echt goed spreken (6 tallen), en communiceren een beetje en anderen tallen. Ik lees en schrijf goed Spaans, Frans, etc.... nog niet in het Nederlands! :)

Ik zal een video en het Nederlands in september doen, omdat je mijn uitspreek horen kan!

P_M_F8 karma

Maybe you can help me out some problems I've been having recently: I am a native english speaker, and I used to know German to the point where I could get by without the use of any english. Although my grammar was poor, my vocabulary and listening comprehension were at a high level (by my standards, at least).

This was all done in preparation for a move to Germany last year - due to a number of circumstances I ended up moving to the Czech Republic instead. For the past 8 months I've been learning Czech, and I am finding that I am now storing the vocabulary for Czech in the same locations as I did in German - Black and white is now "černý a bilý" instead of "schwartz und weiß." When I am in the Czech Republic everything is OK (albeit very slow conversation), but when I go to Germany I am using Czech words in place of what I should be saying in German. It makes for interesting conversation...

Do you have any tricks to keep the languages separate from each other? I don't want to lose all the progress I had made with German!

irishpolyglot3 karma

This blog post I wrote may help! http://www.fluentin3months.com/not-mix-up/

durlavnayak8 karma

Whats the most interesting experience you've had on your travels?

irishpolyglot17 karma

Either getting detained by the Federal Police in Brazil: http://www.fluentin3months.com/escape/ or going speed dating in Dutch just after starting to learn it: http://www.fluentin3months.com/speed-dating/

These are some of the most fun stories, but the most interesting experiences are actually not such good anecdotes and it comes down to meeting fascinating people and hearing THEIR stories :)

bluntstick7 karma

Inspirational; I'm 24 and would love to learn a few other languages, French and Greek being the top two.

Quick question: Do you know of Michel Thomas and his method, and if so, what are your opinions? I was planning on using his tapes to begin learning French.

irishpolyglot8 karma

Yes, I'll be writing about MT on the blog soon, as I used his material with Chinese. It's relaxing, but a little too slow for my tastes. The tones focus did help me with Chinese at least. If you are in no hurry and have it on in your car etc., then it could be very effective!

IJM927 karma

What language would you say people are most impressed at you being able to speak?

irishpolyglot21 karma

Esperanto. It's ironic because it's the easiest one. But it's the one that always grabs people's attention most. They are "impressed" not at the skill involved (in learning the easiest language..), but that I would do it in the first place.

In fact, I've lived about six weeks of my life entirely through Esperanto. I learned it not out of linguistic curiosity, but because I genuinely enjoy the community of people that speak the language, many of whom are also multilingual too.

God_Wills_It_6 karma

Do you want to learn anymore?

irishpolyglot12 karma

Yes! I'll be blogging about my next language learning project in September. I'm not saying what it is yet though. ;)

Scurvy823 karma

Completely off topic: I'm going to Ireland in the fall starting with Dublin. Where should I go in Dublin? Where should I go in the rest of Ireland? And is there anything I should know about Irish woman (I'm 30). Cheers,

irishpolyglot19 karma

I'm not a huge fan of Dublin. Galway is a much nicer city in my opinion.

zeissikon3 karma

Pourrais-tu nous donner un exemple de la qualité de ton français ? Je pense soit à un paragraphe sur la médiocrité des liaisons ferroviaires transversales dans l'hexagone, soit à un texte nous expliquant pourquoi to daron n'est pas un schbeb. Merci. (en échange : un vote, et une lecture sérieuse de ton blog ; pour ma part, c'est français (10/10), allemand (9) , anglais (8) , suédois (5/10), un tout petit peu de latin, japonais, vietnamien, grec ancien, espagnol, portugais, néerlandais, danois, tchèque, polonais, dans l'ordre)

irishpolyglot8 karma

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw5Re7k1KBA Oh la la, quel sujet plus ennuyant !! Je ne peux même pas écrire sur les trains en France en anglais quoi ! Regarde cette vidéo si tu veux critiquer mon français, d'acc ? ;) Bravo pour tes langues !

seithon3 karma

Did you ever bother to learn irish ?:) I live in Ireland and in my 28 years of life I have heard ONE person using it conversationally that wasn't a politician...

irishpolyglot13 karma

I'm in the Gaeltacht RIGHT NOW, speaking Irish nearly all day. Took the morning off to write this IAmA and answer some comments, but getting back into it for the rest of the day :)

You can see some of my videos in Irish here: http://www.irishpolyglot.com/ga