10 Polyglots Reveal Their Biggest Weaknesses


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A polyglot speaks multiple foreign languages.

Online, you can find tons of expert advice about language learning from well-known polyglots. But what about their struggles? Do polyglots have weaknesses too?

I asked them.

Visit http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com for my free E-Book on the best technology for language learning.

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10 Polyglots Reveal Their Biggest Weaknesses

  2. A polyglot speaks multiple foreign languages. Online, you can find tons of expert advice about language learning from well-known polyglots. But what about their struggles? Do polyglots have weaknesses  too? I asked them. INTRO
  3. “What do polyglots struggle with?” Olly Richards iwillteachyoualanguage.com
  4. Richard Simcott – Speaking Fluently My greatest struggle with language learning is time. Time is definitely my enemy because I am a full-time dad, working a full- time job and studying at university (again) too. I find the courses I take at university help me to manage my studies and drive me forward because I have deadlines and online meetings for them. And then there are the exams too of course… 1. “TIME”
  5. Ellen Jovin - ellenjovin.com 2. “CONSTANT FORGETTING” I find the constant forgetting mildly distressing at times. I study something, I don’t use it, I forget it. I am interested in studying many languages, simply because I find it fun and I like to learn about a variety of them and their features. But when I move on to a new one, things about the old one fall out the back of my head. I have to kind of coach myself out of being too annoyed with that reality and continue to do what gives me pleasure and interests me.
  6. Alberto Arrighini - Italiano Automatico 3. “THE BEGINNING PART OF THE LEARNING PROCESS” The most important struggle I have right now is the beginning part of the learning process! This is always the hardest one because you start excited to learn a new language, but after a while you start to get bored with the resources for beginners. The way I get through this part is to remember that I’ll soon be able to tackle new and more interesting resources like YouTube videos and book about topics I like.
  7. Andrew Cookson - thoughtsatintervals.com 4. “UNDERSTANDING THE SPOKEN FORM OF A LANGUAGE” Understanding the spoken form of a language has always been the most difficult aspect for me. This difficulty, coupled with a fear of appearing stupid, meant I was initially reluctant to find conversation partners to help with my Brazilian Portuguese. I couldn’t dispel the mental video of me asking them over and over to please speak more slowly, until finally both of us would give up in frustration.
  8. Benny Lewis – Fluent in 3 months 5. “FINDING THE RIGHT CONVERSATION PARTNER” Finding the right conversation partner. The world is our oyster, and you can find teachers on Skype, in person, through sites like italki and the like. Despite this, with some languages (like Mandarin), the overwhelming amount of teachers/conversation partners means there are almost too many people to chat to, and I have to test a lot out to find someone whose teaching style I like, and this testing out is time taken away from simply using the language.
  9. Luca Lampariello – The Polyglot Dream 6. “REMEMBERING WORDS” One big problem I used to have was remembering words. I think a lot of people struggle with this too. Have you ever felt frustrated when, after seeing a word in a foreign language one day, and looking at it again a couple of days later, you don’t remember its meaning? Let me tell you this: it is very normal. I had this problem as well.
  10. Dani Maizner - isimplylovelanguages.com 7. “MY PERFECTIONISM” The thing I struggle most with when learning languages is my perfectionism. I always want to say or write sentences that are 100% correct – never mind in which language, even if I’ve just started to learn it. Even though I know perfectly that this is unrealistic and impossible, my perfectionism often prevents me from expressing everything I want.
  11. Chuck Smith – Transparent Language Esperanto Blog 8. “MOTIVATION” I think for me the hardest part is getting the motivation to get moving again with a rusty language. I know I used to speak better, so it’s frustrating to come in with all these gaps in my knowledge. At my peak in French I used to be able to have an hour-long conversation with a fellow airplane passenger. Fast forward to today and my French makes me ashamed when I have trouble following a conversation.
  12. Anthony Metivier - magneticmemorymethod.com 9. “MAINTAINING THE PROPER SPACE” I have a hard time maintaining the proper space for language learning. I find that just as it’s important to work every day, it’s important to do it in the same space and that this space is “anchored” with positive feelings about learning and positivity about sticking to routines. I don’t have the best solution right now because I’m always switching places and waking at different times.
  13. Conor Clyne - languagetsar.com 10. “PRONUNCIATION” I find that I sometimes struggle with pronunciation in a new language where there are new sounds that I have not encountered before. This is because it is not easy to identity the exact differences and replicate them. Recording a dictation on my smartphone and then playing it back has helped immensely with improving pronunciation.
  14. CONCLUSION When I asked this question, I wasn’t sure what answers to expect. I thought I might get something like: “advanced grammar patterns” or “remembering my 5,000th kanji”. These guys and girls are all seasoned language learners, after all. But it’s quite different…
  15. They’re struggling with the same things that make language learning a challenge for everyone: Remembering words Finding the time Staying motivated Understanding native speakers
  16. And remember that whatever you’re struggling with right now… …you’re in good company! SO TAKE HEART!
  17. By Olly Richards. iwillteachyoualanguage.com