Language Learning

9 Things Polyglots Do

train

pol·y·glot

ˈpälēˌɡlät/

noun

  1. a person who knows and is able to use several languages.

Always help tourists

You hear an accent, you see a map, and you recognize the face of anxiety that comes with trying to navigate in a foreign place with little language skills, because let’s face it, you’re usually the lost tourist. When you come across this scene, you feel like it’s you’re an undercover superhero that needs to swoop in and save the day. Just like that, you tap a tourist on the shoulder and ask them what language they speak and start helping them find their way sans cape.

Feel like they’re bragging, when they’re not

Some people are good at sports, others are good at music, you just happen to be good at languages, but saying that you speak three or more makes you sound like a snob. You dread the question of “how many languages do you speak” because the answer you give people will make you sound like a cocky a$$hole who thinks they’re better than everyone. Or even worse, it’ll make you sound like those people who say they speak Spanish when they’ve only taken one class in their entire life and actually can’t even form a sentence.

Instantly connect to other polyglots

The excitement in a polyglot’s heart when they meet another fellow language lover is massive. We just get excited that we can connect on so many levels, talk smack about things and people with various expressions (in different languages, of course), and that we can finally use our skills without limitations because someone will fully understand you without precious details getting lost in translation.

green

Find patterns in everything

I hated calculus, and am terrible at math, but passed (with a c, let’s not get carried away) because I predicted patterns. Language learners are experts at seeing a problem, analyzing the patterns and applying that pattern to solve the problem. If you’ve learned two, or more languages, the next language you tackle will be learned in half the time; you’ve already done half of the work of learning patterns in your previous studies.

Memorize songs

Sometimes a song from the 90s will come on that I’ve heard at most 3 times in my lifetime, and I find myself rapping or singing out loud without messing up one single word. Within seconds, I hear Damon joining in at the bridge or chorus. We usually laugh; when did either of us ever sit down, and try to memorize these lyrics? We didn’t, and that’s what’s insane; polyglots have a knack for memorizing language passively. If you’re ever in need of a karaoke partner, go with the person who speaks more than one language – they might be pitchy, but they won’t need to look at the screen for lyrics, stage presence brownie points anyone?

Eavesdrop without meaning to

I was 10 years old when I realized that I couldn’t turn off my ability to understand Portuguese. It all happened when these Brazilians were loudly blabbing about which brand of bananas they should get as if no one else could understand what they were saying. They were right, most people in the store couldn’t understand, but I could, and had no choice if I wanted to understand or not because no matter how hard I tried I could never turn off my ability to understand Portuguese.

berlin

Connect to people on a deep level

The best part about being a polyglot is getting to know someone in their native language; with their humor, with their wisdom, with their words and sentences forming exactly how they want them to.

Find *xenophobia atrocious

Odds are, if you study various languages it’s because you’re passionate about international cultures. This means that you probably won’t get along with Donald Trump.

Travel a lot

And of course, the best way to brush up on your language skills, and to keep your passion for communication burning is to journey often. Full immersion is like a track meet for a polyglot; it’s exhilarating.

*Sans: without in French

*Xenophobia: intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.

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  • Thay

    I love it

  • Íris Carneiro

    So truee!

  • Giovanni

    This is so true! I love learning new languages, im actually struggling with my mandarin right now, I hope I get to learn at least a few ideograms lol, keep up with the amazing content

  • Clayton

    My favorite line is “Or even worse, it’ll make you sound like those people who say they speak Spanish when they’ve only taken one class in their entire life and actually can’t even form a sentence.” So relatable! You guys are so inspiring! Your language learning tips like talking to yourself have really helped me. Now that I am confident in speaking Spanish, I think you guys have convinced me to learn Portuguese with your videos!

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