Clugston attacks Steve Kaufmann

I’m a bit fuzzy on where Clugston asks for money to teach people how to learn languages. He seemed to just be saying that if you went to university, you’d have to pay thousands of dollars. I looked at his profile and there seemed to be nothing about offering his language learning services for money.

As for his attacks on Steve and the “youtube polyglots” for not being able to learn undocumented languages, I don’t understand what the point is. Besides, as an experienced language learner, if Steve were dropped into some community for a year and allowed to spend all his time learning the local undocumented language, he’d probably do ok. What you need to learn a language well is meaningful input over a period of time, and then the opportunity to use the language in a meaningful way. If there were no books or MP3s, presumably Steve would just talk to the people around him, and listen carefully, and keep experimenting until he was able to communicate.

What Steve wouldn’t be able to do is to make his knowledge of the language useful for others by writing dictionaries, grammars, etc. But the average language learner has no ambition to learn undocumented languages and then document them. This is an academic task. And even if a field linguist figures out the case system of an undocumented language, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he himself is going to speak with the proper cases all the time.

He seems to dislike Moses for learning little bits of lots of different languages that he’s unlikely to use very much. But, again, so what? Moses is presumably just doing what he wants to do. And he does speak some of his languages well.

Most of what he’s done is hold up linguistics textbooks (in this video and previous ones) and say that the youtube polyglots don’t know what’s in those books. As someone with a degree in linguistics, I probably know much of what is in those books, and I still don’t see what the point is. You don’t need to be an academic linguist to learn languages - even undocumented ones. Besides, one is unlikely to use the techniques of a field linguist if one is learning a language like French which has dictionaries, grammars, and lots of audio and written content.

He also seems to have a problem with people on YT (like Steve) trying to sell a product. I suppose if the product were worthless, and the seller knew it was worthless, then it would be worthwhile to call them out on it. But there’s nothing wrong with pushing your product if you believe in it.

He bashes Steve, but praises Krashen. There’s practically no difference between what Steve says and Krashen says. Granted Krashen has academic degrees and does his own research to demonstrate the validity of his ideas, whereas Steve says what he thinks based on his own experience, but so what?

Anyway, I thought Clugston had some good points to make back when Steve was making videos bashing linguistics as an academic field, but I don’t know why he has such a harsh reaction to language learners sharing their experiences on youtube. Aside from Krashen, Steve has been the most useful source of language learning advice that I’ve come across.

Well, Steve or the AJATT fellow. It’s a close second :slight_smile:

What makes a field linguist stand out is that they would learn languages in those small communities much quicker than non-field linguists, regardless of how many languages they have learned ‘the lingq’ way. A dozen languages might give you and edge, but not having the dictionaries, grammars, audio recordings and texts to read - it would be something completely. There’s no starting with beginning texts, no looking up words, to repeating that text again if you missed something, no checking on a point of grammar. If you don’t hear an important distinction between two or more sounds, then you are slowed down until you do.

Guess what - linguistics trains people to recognise this stuff. That’s something that most people fail to realise. Saying ‘you don’t need’ that is like saying you don’t need to train before a marathon.

“He also seems to have a problem with people on YT (like Steve) trying to sell a product. I suppose if the product were worthless, and the seller knew it was worthless, then it would be worthwhile to call them out on it.” I find this line especially humorous because CC has a crap ton of youtube videos out there pushing sales for his various self defense systems, which I can tell you are way overpriced, nothing special, and you can find the same material for much less money elsewhere. Also of note, unlike languages, which you can get better at by reading, listening, and watching, no amount of staring at martial arts instruction videos is going to turn you into an unstoppable ninja (or ancient Roman Gladiator, as CC’s claim)


I understand that linguistics trains people to recognize this stuff. I’m trained in linguistics. But the goal of field linguists is not to learn to communicate effectively, but rather to decipher and document unknown languages. Their goals go far beyond the goals of a typical language learner.

I maintain that if Steve were dropped on some remote island for a year, he’d come out of being able to communicate fairly well because he’d be patient, he’d listen carefully, he’d seek out “input” by engaging with people and asking questions, and he wouldn’t give up just because it was difficult.

However there’s no doubt that a trained field linguist would do better.


Ah, I notice now that you were probably not responding to me :slight_smile: Sorry!

No problem Bortrun. At least you do understand the situation.

Personally, I’ve done linguistics by myself and have a basic understanding but I want to go and do a degree at university. For me, it’s tied to both an interest in minority languages (although linguistics involves all languages) and communication. My goal is not to be a passive documenter but actively involved in communities and helping to strengthen languages. At the same time, I wish to have the ability to use the languages. This is just my personal goal and, although I’m not alone in that, it’s not the main goal, no.

The thing that I find irksome about Clugston is his mantra along the lines: “you have no credibility unless you have studied linguistics”; “you have no valid opinions unless you have a PhD in the field”; “if you don’t have the credentials, you are a complete nobody”…etc…

For sure, there may be a certain sense in which he is right about this. Nobody would, I imagine, invite the local bar-room “expert” to take up the chair in History or Political Science at a major university.

But the notion that an opinion or argument is valid simply because the person making it has academic credentials (or is NOT valid because the person making it does NOT have the credentials) is itself profoundly ‘unacademic’, in my opinion.

If Mr Clugston actually has attended graduate school (which I personally somewhat doubt) I’m amazed he doesn’t understand by now that ideas and arguments stand or fall entirely on their own merits. Gibberish would not become “true” merely because the person saying it has a post-grad degree. And an argument made by an uneducated bum could still be 100% right on merits.

(BTW I also find that people who genuinely ARE highly educated rarely find the need to hang their credentials on their noses…)

I just have a question, how someone say “I know how you can learn all kinds of languages of the world” and never speak a different language in your videos…

Clugston is a joke!

If he is so smart why doesn’t he get a camera with decent video quality. :slight_smile:

I think we have our answer here. I have tried to grab his attention and discuss some things with him for the last few days. I have been posting on his YT page valid questions and points and he refuses to let them go up, calling me a “troll” because I don’t have famous youtube persona or picture or anything. He then blocked me. I sent him a very sincere and even apologetic message while again bringing up the points that I am sure everyone wants to know: What are Clugston’s credentials? What gives him the right to criticize established polyglots like Steve and Moses when he has not proven himself? Why should people even seek his assistance when just education is practical only to a select few? Why is it that he says only field linguists can learn 90% of the worlds languages, yet he’s offering his services to the average person? I messaged him genuine, sincere, apologetic, and talking from one scholar to another(giving him the benefit of the doubt that he ACTUALLY IS a scholar) and his reply was…

“You got blocked Troll.”

I just wanted to share this information with you all because I think it just shows the kind of person Clugston really is, it shows that he is seriously misguided in his views, and is very uneducated. I gave him the opportunity to explain himself to one of his critics in a professional and academic manner, and his reply is “You got blocked Troll.” Honestly, this guy is not even worth wasting time with.

I think he may have a genuine personality disorder: Odd paranoid aggression and narcissistic delusions, then again, I have no credentials in psychopathology : )
But yes, certainly a conflicted message from the start.

Even I make the bed before switching on the webcam.

I find it quite amusing how he hurls dumb insults at all members of this forum, because he still doesn’t seem to grasp the arguments of his “opponents”. In his last comment on the youtube video, he even has invited odiernod and martialartsdude to fight him. :smiley:

Sebastian is right. I just checked the comments box at Clugston’s video: a homophobe calling himself “Czech Experiment” (possibly a sock-puppet of Benny Lewes) posted the following comment:

QUOTE: Chris, just to inform you that there is a “Clugston attacks Steve Kaufmann” topic on the Lingq “private g*yclub” forum. They never ever let me comment there. They just have censored that “Imyirtseshem” character too. Can "slidplayaone - Paul Copareli" who whines about censorship over there explain me why is that so?

Maybe you should try once. There are also guys over there like “martialartsdude”, “Chris” and “odiernod” who believe that they are better martial artists than you. (rofl) UNQUOTE

Clugston’s reply:

QUOTE: @TheCzechExperiment Steve’s sycophants: like Zombies. They try to troll here thinking they can do as they please. IT’s a good thing they never tried Academia they prove time and again they have not the right stuff for it. As for the hobby martial idiots–what flight are they on? Tell them I am ready for them anytime the little boys want to get their asses beat, filmed and put on YT. I may make a point by point vid of how faulty their specious non sequitur arguments are. UNQUOTE.

“Specious non-sequitur arguments” :smiley:

The guy really is too entertaining to be true, isn’t he? :smiley:

@Rank: You may know TheCzechExperiment under his name “Igor the Macedonian”.

What is funny is how one of his followers is asking why don’t I(Paul Copareli) put some input in, yet he’s blocked me from commenting because I rose questions about his credentials and methods which he doens’t want to answer because he knows he is a fake.

I find it amazingly interesting that Mr. Clugston can’t seem to separate learning methods of undocumented languages from languages like German. Why? Because his arguments only work if he bunches all languages together in vague category and ignore the fact that “documentation” exists in the first place to save you all of the extra discovery work that others already did in the first place. If every physicist had to re derive the laws of physics through experimentation, we’d still be back in the iron age.

And why does Mr. Clugston assume that I am to go to him for this “beat down” he’s talking about? Is he paying for this plane ticket of mine? It’s such a lame and easy argument to hide behind: “No one will take my fight challenges because they are too scared” when in reality he puts the onus on his opponents to pay for the transportation to go out to fight him, which no one is going to do because he isn’t a big enough deal in the martial arts world to waste the time an money on. I could say likewise that he is too scared to fly to Milwaukee to fight me.

Its also worth to note, Mr. CzechExperiment, that Imyirtseshem edited the contents of his own posts, nobody censored him.

Odiernod, you are twice the size and half the age of Clugston - I have no doubt you would put him in hospital in under 30 seconds!

Haha, well we’ll never know, because I doubt he’s willing to fly out here to fight me “As for the snake-oil salesman hack martial artist, what flight is he on? Tell him I am ready for him anytime the washed up old geezer wants to get his ass beat, filmed and put on YT.” lol