The defintion of “polyglot” (and why i am not one)

Navigation article:

  • 1. Shaky Criteria.
  • 2. Unhelpful Expectations.
  • 3. I do not actually want to be considered a polyglot.
    • 9 Reasons to Learn Irish☘💚 (with Benny the Irish Polyglot & Lindsay Does Languages)
      • Video COMMENTS:

The defintion of “polyglot” (and why i am not one) and energy

Nowadays you are able to follow several polyglots online, for example Alexander Arguelles, Benny Lewis, Luca Lampapriello, Richard Simcott, and Moses McCormick. I’ve got a lot of respect of these guys as well as for what they’ve accomplished. These, without exception, acknowledge the length of time and energy it required to allow them to learn their languages. On their behalf, learning is a means of existence, as well as their effort has compensated off.

For myself, I’m comfortable claiming four languages: British, Arabic, German, and today Spanish. I additionally studied Pashto for eight several weeks and tested in a B1 level. (I do not mention Pashto very frequently since i have virtually forgotten all what I’d learned, that is a shame.)

But regardless of the number of languages I speak, now or later on, I’m not going to tell you they are a polyglot. Rather, I will stick to my preferred term: Language Addict. I’ll also employ terms like Language Enthusiast, Language Lover, not to mention Language Surfer.

The main reason I’m getting this up whatsoever happens because on language blogs and YouTube language videos, polyglots–both current and aspiring–are everywhere.You may earn the situation that they’re the dominant pressure in learning at this time.

But there are many explanations why I’m remaining from the label myself.

1. Shaky Criteria.

No-one can agree with what qualifies you like a polyglot. Many people if you have to talk four or five languages. Many people say six.

Exactly the same with proficiency levels. Is it necessary to be fluent in every language you claim? Conversational? Native-speaker like?

Very hard hitting a moving target.

2. Unhelpful Expectations.

Because the criteria are extremely undefined, should you call your polyglot, people’s expectations for you personally become unmanageable. For reasons uknown, that word is amazingly loaded. You may as well be calling your language genius.

Those who have never seriously studied languages have a variety of crazy ideas about learning. Many people believe that should you claim a language, which means you are able to speak just like a native. So to have their approval, you best have the ability to produce accent-freedom of expression, on a number of topics, using slang and jargon easily, whilst not coming to a mistakes.

Come on. That’s going to take place for many bilingual people, especially individuals who increased up speaking two languages. But it’s a remarkably high goal for most of us. And doing that for six or even more languages? It’s certainly possible, but you’d need to dedicate your whole existence towards the pursuit.

For me personally, I am not likely to call myself a polyglot and risk people expecting an excessive amount of from me. I do not see what good that will do.

Look, I understand you’re all quietly knowing me and deciding whether I’m worth taking advice from, and that i don’t have any trouble with that. But I’m very specific by what I’ve accomplished like a language learner and translator, and that i do this to ensure that I’ll be evaluated on specific criteria, not really a vague “polyglot” label.

Also, with expectations, the main focus becomes the destination, and not the journey. And you may already know from my Language Surfing and Imperfect Language philosophies, that’s simply not what I’m about.

3. I do not actually want to be considered a polyglot.

I love languages. But my own preference is to focus on a couple of I wish to learn instead of to understand several just with regard to learning them.

Again, I’ve the most respect and popularity of polyglots. Every one has their very own causes of why they’re doing what they’re doing, and that i wouldn’t dare say what their motivations are, since i do not know.

And That I do admit it’d be awesome so that you can rattle off six, ten, or 15 languages–but for me personally, not too awesome that I’d be prepared to sacrifice our spare time to achieve that much cla.

The factor is, it’s not necessary to understand twelve languages to obtain benefits. Learning even another language can enrich your existence infinitely.


9 Reasons to Learn Irish☘💚 (with Benny the Irish Polyglot & Lindsay Does Languages)


Benny Lewis: Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone 🙂 I hope you enjoy this very Irish video!!\n\nThis entire video is based on the "9 Reasons to learn…" series that Lindsay has over on her channel. Thanks so much to Lindsay for the great collaboration! This video was recorded at the YouTube Space in London.\n\nCheck out Lindsay here: \\n\n\nOtherwise, some resources that came up in the video worth checking out include the following:\nTG4 for streamed Irish TV:\nRos na Rún:\n\nStreamed Irish radio:\n\n\n\n\nI was actually on that last one myself (Raidió na Life) and I have the video of the experience (subtitled of course) right here:\n\n\nGo raibh maith agaibh (Thank you)!!

Erulasse Aranel: Reason 10 – You can sing Irish songs in the original language without butchering the pronunciation and forgetting everything, like I'm currently doing. Won't stop me from learning them though!

Benny Lewis: I wouldn't be so sure – I am immensely talented in being able to butcher any song, regardless of how good my pronunciation is :D\n\nBut for people with a nice voice, that definitely applies :)

Keith Dunn: I know it's an original song (I THINK) but probably my favorite Kila song is An Tiomání and THAT is hard but so fun!

DJD: Lá fheile Pádraig shona daoibh. Bhí mé i Londain an seachtain seo caite agus thosaigh mé ag caint as Gaeilge le mo mhathair ar an tréin. Chonaic mé daoine ag féacaint orainn. Tá seans go cheap siad go chlois an teanga suimiúl. Tá Gaeilge an-dhifriúl ná teangaí eile.

mrbenBR: Tá gaeilge a mhaith agat!!!

DJD: mrbenBR Go raibh maith agat

Benny Lewis: To the two commenters, (you know who you are…) you are welcome to write a comment here to share your feedback on the video, but please do it in ONE comment each, if you want to cover multiple points. I came back to a wall of text that the two of you had dominated repeating things over and over (mostly really small nitpicking, which is fine as long as it's listed in a single comment), taking over the entire discussion thread between the two of you. I'm sorry but I had to delete them. \n\nFeel free to write another comment, but please be concise and only write a single main comment and then reply to someone else's comment if your point is mentioned already, rather than repeating the point in comment replies. \n\nThe point of this video is to encourage people to learn Irish, so seeing over a dozen comments nitpicking things that don't need to be (as I mentioned before, I don't claim that 'craic' is of Gaelic origin – the point is that the word isn't in modern usage in any language except Irish or Hiberno English) – takes away from that and makes people think that Irish speakers may all be that pedantic. Please don't give people that first impression… But feel free to offer feedback, if you absolutely think it's necessary… if you can be more concise!\n\nEdit: lol, you left so many comments that YouTube had already decided it was getting spammy and left a bunch as waiting for approval under "spam"… Come on! :D\n\nThanks!

wallacepearse: Sorry about that, I was too lazy to back up my points with references at once, which is why I went back give links and copy and paste. Again, sorry about that.\n\nJust another few points I would like to say about the word 'wee' and the Irish and Scottish use of the word. Would the Gaelic adjectives 'beag' meaning small and 'òg' meaning young have had an influence on the use 'wee'? When the Lowlands were switching over from Gaelic to English in the Middle Ages, the word 'wee' would have been used to translate those words which would have been common to distinguish sons from their fathers like Iain Beag or Iain Òg. Iain Beag or Iain Òg became wee Ian in Lallans Scots. 'Wee' was then brought over to the North of Ireland by the Scottish settlers.\n\n'Wee' isn't used that much in Hiberno-English south of Cavan I would say. We have an infamous Lol, sorry famous country and western singer from County Donegal, I'm sure you know known as 'Wee Daniel'.

ludovic: was that cartoon richard ayoade?