Has Luca become like Benny?

Luca has made a video where he tries to speak Polish after only 4 weeks of studying (Luca Lampariello's first attempt at Polish after 4 weeks - YouTube), and from what I can make out he knows quite a bit already, but it would be great if a native speaker of Polish could let us know more about his currently level.

What I find interesting is that Luca has mentioned in the past that he prefers learning the language for months before starting to speak, but now he is posting a video after having learned for only four weeks. Has he gotten influenced by Benny’s “Speak from day one” method? Is Luca trying to copy Benny’s success or what do you think? It would be great if a native Polish speaker checks out the video and article and tell us what’s going on!

The closer in similarity a second language is to one that you already speak, the better it is to speak early. Benny really developed his “speak early” mantra learning Portuguese and Italian, after knowing French and Spanish. In this case, you already have massive exposure to a similar language, and its easy to pick up socially speaking. Luca already speaks Russian, so Polish is probably easier for him, and it’s good to start speaking early (in my opinion).

I’m taking classes with Luca and he encourages me to speak. In fact he has some techniques you can use to speak better.

I can’t remember Luca ever said he preferred to speak later than sooner, but if that was the case that must have been years ago, his techniques evolve and I’d say he now sees that speaking as soon as you can is a good thing to do. Anyway I saw in one of his videos that he said that you should start talking to yourself from day 1, and that does seems to be the same thing as trying to speak with a native as soon as you can.

I too admire Luca, I already did before taking classes with him but since I’ve gotten to know him better I’ve realised he’s not only a good teacher but also an excellent person, just like you thought he would be just by watching his videos. I learn lots of interesting things in every class, he is a gift!

Regarding the comparison with Benny, I think that just by watching Luca’s videos you can see that behind him there’s lots of hard work involved. You can use some shortcuts and you can improve your techniques to do “quality studying”, that’s what he teaches in his classes, but for sure you’ll have to work to excel in a language (just like Luca does). I don’t see Benny saying that :stuck_out_tongue:

Is Luca like Benny?

No. Luca is the real deal.

(You could say that “Lucadom” is what Benny aspires to.)

I believe that Luca is not only an extremely efficient language learner, but also a very nice person. His advice is definitely worth listening to. Unlike Berta I have not taken lessons from him, but I would imagine that this is a valuable thing to do.

That said, I think that language learning is a personal experience, a personal road. We all chart our own course based on our interests, time available, and personal inclinations. I prefer to spend my early learning time trying to make sense out of the language through massive input, thereby acquiring new words.I do not find speaking at an early stage, i.e. before I have sufficient vocabulary, to be a pleasant or meaningful activity. I am also unable to maintain any significant amount of talking to myself. This may be through lack of discipline on my part, but this is how I prefer to spend my time.

However, I think each person needs to decided individually when to start speaking. I have not seen any evidence that this decision has much impact on ultimate success.

Hi everyone!
My name is Piotr, and I’m Polish native speaker. I can tell you that Luka was using a lot of Russian words in his Polish. Of course there are many similar words so there is no problem to understand what he was saying. I can see that Luca is undarstanding what his teacher was telling about. I guess that pretty soon he will be fluent in Polish, but we’ll see.
Pozdrawiam z Warszawy!

who is luca and who is benny?

@Roz: “…who is luca and who is benny?”

Luca Lampariello is an Italian dreamboat (and genuinely nice guy) who has a proven excellent level of fluency in at least 8 languages.

Benny Lewis is an Irish guy who runs a travel blog mostly aimed at teenagers.

It wasn’t my intention to troll, I have just seen some development from Luca and a few things have made me think that he might be doing a few things differently now, like for example when he was learning Chinese, he didn’t show us any progress until after about a year when he already spoke really well, but now all out of a sudden, he posts a one month update video just like the ones that Benny usually makes (though the skill difference between them is very apparent).

The Benny bashing on here makes me sick. He is a dedicated and intelligent man who works very hard to achieve his aims. The extent to which he achieves them is less relevant than the effort that goes into the attempt. If you read his blog you will see that he is in fact very interesting, articulate and perceptive. He writes very well and has a lot to say.
Many people misinterpret his ‘fluent in 3 months’ mantra as junk which is intended to pander to the selfish and lazy instant success consumer culture that infests every corner of the internet (see rosetta stone and ‘get ripped in 5 seconds’ ads). Of course for many people on here who regard themselves as hard working language learners it can be frustrating and even insulting to see someone who, seemingly, reduces language learning to a ‘get rich quick’ equivalent for languages. But I honestly don’t think Benny does that. Rosetta stone ads that convince people they can learn a language in a matter of days do that. Benny claims that if you do literally nothing else for 3 months but learn a language then you can become fluent in it in that space of time. If anyone here thinks that is easy I invite you to try it.
Incidentally I am not a huge fan of Benny’s overly sentimental rhetoric that he has a habit of spewing out over facebook, but he is trying to encourage people to learn languages, and facebook is afterall the home of sentiment which is often so overbearing it would turn a dead man’s stomach.

I stand by my original point though. This Benny bashing is self righteous and ill founded. He does no one any harm, and he encourages people to learn languages. That is a good thing.

ad Bonnenouvellejonny: (…) This Benny bashing is self righteous and ill founded. (…)

I think Benny is an excellent language learner who has achieved some amazing results. I really liked his last video where he speaks in Arabic and I also thought he did a great job with Mandarin. There will always be people who judge his linguistic abilities differently but personally I truly admire his enthusiasm and perseverance.

What I don’t understand and what I really dislike about him is his rude way of responding to any comment he considers to be “inappropriate”. Unless you roll out the red carpet for him to walk on he seems to consider you an enemy. He would probably immediately block me from his site for this comment or call me arrogant, stupid, brainless, whatever.

I have read postings where he offended people who actually congratulated him on his achievements. True, he has also been attacked by people who were extremely rude to him. Maybe that made him lash out even at people who like what he is doing.

I hold no grudge whatsoever against him and I do go to his site and read his articles because I find them interesting. But I regularly am put off by the aggressive tone in his responses to other posters.

I am convinced he does a lot of good for people who are intimidated by the mere thought of learning a foreign language and I honestly think he is very good at what he does. He just doesn’t seem to be a very polite person.

Maybe my impression of him is wrong. If I were to meet him (maybe he’ll come to the polyglot conference in Budapest) I would certainly try to talk to him because I think he has a lot to say. I just wish he’d be more relaxed and not as aggressive as he sometimes appears in his posts.

But again, he is excellent at learning languages and I applaud him for his achievements.

@Robert: “…what I really dislike about him is his rude way of responding to any comment he considers to be “inappropriate”. Unless you roll out the red carpet for him to walk on he seems to consider you an enemy.”

Yes - that is the crux of the matter.

The nice thing about LingQ’s forum is that people (generally speaking) enjoy freedom of speech. One can express tough and harsh criticisms of Benny - but his followers are also equally free to come here and support him.

The contrast between Steve and Benny is sort of comical to me, both have endearing qualities, but have very different ways of learning languages. Basically Steve has said many times it just comes down to personal taste and in his opinion gaining a high level of fluency in a very short period of time is very unlikely.

I guess the bottom line is, what do you mean by fluency? Like anything you get out of it what you put into it, and I agree if someone went to the country and studied and spoke/practiced A LOT you could be decently conversational in 3 months (depending how close the language was to yours and your natural ability, sorry but we’re not all created equal in every way) and if you worked a lot on your syntax you could be fairly fluent, but still make plenty of grammar errors and no way would you be confused for a native, unless you have insanely talented mimicking skills, and you would only be able to do it for a very short period of time under the right circumstances.

I think Benny would get a lot less heat if he changed the name of his site to conversational in 3 months and wasn’t so sensitive, like someone mentioned above if anyone disagrees with him on his site, he gets all bent out of shape. The thing I like about Lucas is his humility, he seems like a genuinely nice guy and from what I’ve heard from others, speaks the languages he claims to know quite well, and is willing to talk via skype no problem showcasing his skills or lack of them, showing he’s the real deal.

BTW since this is a open forum and we are free to express opinions, sorry to say Steve, but I disagree with your statement that there is no proof in speaking earlier to how well you perform. How could it not help you with your syntax shadowing words and getting your tongue used to the weird sounding language and trying to mimic and pronounce the words? Of course this won’t help with your input ability but if you start right away, you’ll be A LOT further down the road with being comprehensible and more confident with the language than if you are just trying to start speaking after 6 months or more. It helped me with German, phonetically trying to pronounce the words, practice makes perfect(or much better) IMO. I’m also surprised there isn’t more emphasis on writing, a lot of writing to natives is an incredible way to improve grammar and get your brain thinking in the language.

ocean, I think that the main point is how we like to learn. I simply prefer not to speak at the beginning. I doubt that it hampers my language learning. Others prefer to speak, to imitate, shadow etc. at the beginning. I doubt that it gives them an advantage in the long run, since it is time taken away from input based activities that increase their understanding of the language. But that is just my experience.

For a defence of not speaking at the beginning, please read

The Silent Period Hypothesis

Taeko Tomioka

SANNO Junior College

Abstract: Based on the observations of child language, quite a few Second Language teachers and methodologists hypothesize that in the initial phase of language learning, students should not be required to respond in a target language but should concentrate on comprehension. The purpose of this paper is to search through the literature concerning those methodologies and to consider the possibility of introducing them into the classroom.


Thanks for the link, it was an interesting read. I totally agree with you, “in the long run”. I wonder why teachers today don’t implement this strategy? They made a lot of valid points. Not sure what Lucas is doing, but whatever it is, its working very well for him. On the other hand, with someone like Benny, going to the country, if nobody speaks english/irish you need to speak a little quicker than 3 months or when ever you feel ready(because you might run into some problems). ;p. It would be interesting to read one of Ashers books. As far as I’m concerned, speaking isn’t important at all for me right now. I’d like to go to Europe one day. I agree the most important thing to do is to get comprehensible input, then lots of writing and then try some speaking. I really do think a lot of writing is important, wish there was something out there to back me up, but if someone corrects your writing/grammar, I believe its less insulting and intrusive than correcting someone speaking. And its there in black and white for you to see, some times verbal corrections I think go in one ear and out the next.

""I really do think a lot of writing is important, wish there was something out there to back me up, but if someone corrects your writing/grammar, I believe its less insulting and intrusive than correcting someone speaking. And its there in black and white for you to see, some times verbal corrections I think go in one ear and out the next. “”

I agree with this, and why worry if there’s anything out there to back you up?

ad blueocean: I consider writing to be extremely important. I even copy entire books by hand. I do so to improve my understanding of how a language works. Besides, it helps to remember words. It is great to do your own writing, but especially at a beginner or intermediate stage I like copying books. Of course, I only choose books I’m interested in. Most of the time it is biographies which contain a fair amount of indirect and direct speech as well as descriptive language. I remember words much better when I read and/or write them than by just listening to them. Listening is great to get used to the sounds of a language but to really get a feeling for the language as a whole I need a lot of reading and writing. But that’s just my personal approach.

I really would like to know what is the problem if Luca decided to record a video showing his progress?

Definitely I think very offensive comparing a very sucessful polyglot like Luca with a, I don’t know maybe a traveller like Benny.

What’s the point?

Lucas is free to learn and to show your progress and I felt very motivated with the Luca videos, like I feel very interested in travel when I’m watching the Benny videos.

but compare Luca with Benny sounded like a Joke for my ears.

I don’t think Luca made this video with Benny in mind. Fundamentally his method hasn’t changed. He used Assimil as a learning material doing back and forth translations as usual. When you come to think of it, Luca’s method has always been about speaking from day 1, but not necessarily with real people.

Honestly with so many languages under his belt and given his high level of proficiency in almost every of them, I don’t see why he would want to change his habits and borrow methods from (I don’t want to bash but there is no denying here) less successful polyglots. Polish is a particular case since Russian gives him a good head start and he also has a good friend he can already practice with.

I think he just wanted to have fun with a new language :slight_smile: