A polyglot's daily linguistic workout

I posted a thread fairly recently about Moses McCormick’s approach to learning languages, and so I thought I’d introduce another polyglot, Alexander Arguelles, who has just uploaded a video describing his daily study regiment for foreign languages. So here’s the link for anyone who might interested in learning about another take on learning languages.

I feel like I’m becoming more and more like that… :smiley:

I want to become more like that! I need to get more organised heh


Yes, I mentioned him in another thread some time ago. He’s a great guy. We exchanged a few messages, and like me, he also did foil fencing, which was surprising, as not many people do it (or know what it is).

I was fortunate enough to chat with him a while back. He’s trying to get a language institute going, which will help more people - especially those who seriously want to learn ten or more languages - to learn to teach themselves. His YouTube channel is definitely worth a look.

I jog 30-40n minutes a few times a week and do other things to stay in shape. I am not a marathoner nor an iron man competitor. I think the Olympic athletes inspire us all, but it is possible to enjoy sports while doing them at a more leisurely pace. My wife likes to play the piano but is not a concert pianist.

Full power to Alex. My day consists of downloading some Russian from Echo Moskvi and listening in my car. maybe an hour in all. I also subscribe to some Portuguese podcasts that I sometimes listen to, as well as Il Gastronauta in Italian.

I am also reading Ensayo Sobre a Ceguira by Saramago in Portuguese. I intend to get back to Korean one day and I will start Arabic. But I usually put in an hour or an hour and a half a day, mostly using dead time. The reading is different. It is not study. In fact most of it is just enjoyable. I am interested in the content of what I am listening to.

It is just the first few months of a language that are work, as you get ready to go after authentic content.

I do not bother much with the grammar. I do not aspire to prefection.

When I found that I liked studying and learning languages, I naturally started searching for people who had been successful at it on the internet. I searched in many places and found a few on youtube. At first my favorite really was Dr Arguelles and Steve (sorry steve just being honest) came off a little bitter at first. I can’t remember which video was the first I saw of his…

After some time past Dr A’s regiment seemed like a lot and to me started to feel more like work than fun, although I actually do enjoy grammar drills and reading about the languages grammar. I soon saw that Steve methods really were for the person that wants to learn as a hobby and just enjoys learning about other cultures and then responding to a few of his posts I saw here and there and getting involved in Lingq I learned that Steve’s professional life didn’t really involve languages and saw that that was closer to what I was after. I don’t really want to be a teacher (anymore) or some professor of languages, it’s just my hobby and something ‘extra’ for what I plan to be. And so that’s why I mostly stick to Steve’s version of how to learn many languages, although I respect all those other trooper linguists/polyglots like Dr. A and Moses (aka laoushu). I’m just a guy who enjoys the ride.

fitting post for my 200th comment… and most amazing… not one bit of sarcasm!!!

Oh, well, we all slip from time to time…

To me it makes a lot of sense to learn naturally, not resisting, not forcing. The philosophy is great. It’s the same reason that I like Chinese martial arts. I don’t want to become one of those people who can read and write a language but not understand native speakers. That’s certainly where I was heading with French before I found LingQ. Well, either that or I would have lost my motivation due to lack of success.

I also think that AGL (Automatic Language Growth) looks very interesting. I would love one day to be in a position to learn a language using their methods. It might end up being a bit expensive and perhaps require a different kind of dedication, but it’s an interesting idea. Look, listen and guess. I guess it’s similar to what Steve has figured out, that you have to just listen and not worry if you don’t understand all the words.

I suppose the disadvantages would be: potential costs, availability, required time spent at institutions and having to leave the ‘adult brain’ outside the class room.

I’ve done foil fencing! They wouldn’t let me near the epees though :wink:

No way, Helen! What is it with language learning enthusiasts and foil fencing, huh? Is there a connection. The épée is too unsophisticated. We foil fencers have always looked down on épée and saber fencers (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Ahem. Back on topic, though. I think ALG can be too stressful, at least for me. Makes you feel like a child, which is perfectly fine when you’re a child. When you are an adult, I think the embarrassment factor would be an inhibiting factor. So this method represents a rather extreme approach.

Steve’s method (if I understand it correctly) represent the opposite extreme, in my book. Learning languages leisurely, without much effort, not minding the gaps (sorry Helen, no pun intended here), or not bothering with the grammar is a little too relaxed an approach, I think.

It is, however, great to see and compare different people’s methods and try them all. I find it extremely exciting. And if I had to choose between Alexander’s or Steve’s approaches, I’d definitely choose the latter. After all, there’s this thing called life out there, and there’s so much more to it than languages and grammar books.

What I found gratifying was to see that I am not the only person who has books in and about many different languages strewn all over the floor around my desk. Okay, maybe his floor was a little more orderly than what you might describe mine, but he definitely had books laying around the floor! I think if I had a bigger desk it might help. (Check out Michael Erard’s monster desk here: http://www.michaelerard.com/2009/01/start_to_finish.html - sorry if this is off topic).

Anyway, no doubt about it, Professor Arguelles is extremely enthusiastic about learning languages. I like his idea of the “scriptorium” where you write stuff and carefully read what you’re writing as you do it, But the shadowing idea, I have trouble doing this while walking as I have found that I really need the written text to keep up with the audio tracks. Also, I can’t really walk and talk and listen all at the same time without losing my focus. (…similar to walking and chewing gum?) And, I usually go for walks with my wife so I don’t think it’s very polite to her to go walking together and listen to an audio book instead of whatever she wants to say to me. In fact, for some reason, she likes having my undivided attention when we do stuff together!

What nerve your wife has!

Well, at least she doesn’t ask me to pick up my books off the floor!