New polyglot video by Richard Simcott

Here is Richard in action with a Norwegian friend:

(Speaking English, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Spanish, Norwegian…)

Thanks for posting this!

I don’t hear any trace of Norwegian in Cristina’s languages, not even her Swedish sounds Norwegian (however, a bit “foreign”).

You’re welcome, Jeff :wink:

I always find Richard very inspirational - he’s an amazing linguist, and he seems to be a genuinely nice guy too. (And yes, Cristina is also very impressive!)

I think she is really inspirational. Her native like accent in all of her languages is impressive and also her effortless transition from one language to the next. She even sounds good in German too, a country where she never lived and from what I gather did not really spend much effort learning. Pretty amazing that.

It’s obvious that she has some knack for accents. Most people I’ve met haven’t even had a remotely convincing accent in their only foreign language (usually English).

J’ai compris seulement ce qu’ils ont dit en français. Oui, c’est vrai qu’on a peu d’occasion de pratiquer français en dehors des pays francophones. C’est une bonne idée de regarder des films sous-titrés. C’est ce que je fait ou je voudrais continuer à faire afin d’améliorer mon chinois.

I understood only what they said in French, a little bit in English ( becaude of Richard’s British accent).

That video is tempting enough to make me want to reconsider my status of ‘I’ve given up on languages for the time being.’ It is wonderful to see and hear such talented people.

Both have of course great accents and are accomplished language learners but I am really tired of polyglot videos like that because it is only about showcasing their language abilities and not actually about using the language. Why did they not discuss gardening or the cost of living in Oslo or the London Olympics? These same old worn out dialogues about language learning say not necessarily much about how well these polyglots really speak. Language is all about words and the great variety of situations we can find us in.

Richard and the Norwegian lady are of course nice and pleasant people and inspiring language lovers but I have had enough of these show-off dialogues. Put the topics center stage and not the vehicle (the language), that is what we do in all our daily life conversations.

I can see your point, Friedemann. But as far as “showing off” goes, I guess they would have been doing that even more if they had been (for example) talking over the finer points of the Euro-crisis in French or German, etc. :wink:

Apropos the Euro-crisis, is anyone taking bets on how long the Euro is going to survive, I wonder? I hear there has been a recent opinion poll in Germany showing that a majority of people want their old national currency back! (Not that they were, of course, asked about losing it in the first place…)

Friedemann, you took the words out of my mouth and wrote what I didn’t dare to write. I appreciate a lot those multi (hyper) language learners, who are very inspiring to a lot of language learners (including me). Esp. Richard Simcott seems to be a nice and highly skilled guy. But, meanwhile, I’m a little fed up with those videos where they are exclusively talking about how they learned all those languages (and how good they are in it) and repeating this in every single language. Sometimes one may come to the conclusion, that the so-called hyperglots only learn the few words and sentences they need for this specific topic, and this in 20, 30 or more different languages. It’s just like Friedemann said, they are talking about the tool and how they got it, but they don’t really use it.
I’d - for example, love to hear something about history, foreign cultures, science, daily life etc.

I have no doubt that these polyglots can easily talk about a wide variety of subjects. I have spoken with Luca and Richard and their ability in these languages is genuine and not limited to talking about language learning. Most people are interested in hearing them talk about language learning and are much less interested in their views on economics and politics.

On the other hand I can understand that there are people who are tired of these kinds of videos. However, they need not watch them.

I share the same opinion as Friedemann and il melomane70 on this subject. To a certain extend, I am, also, wondering if they aren’t looking for some kind of acknowledgment on their accomplishments by the language community. I means, most of those videos aren’t really helping people to learn language except they might be a source of motivation for some. I good video to explain how someone learn a language should be script or at least the person need to organize his thoughts before making the video in my opinion.

I would prefer to see those highly talented language learners make videos at different steps while they are learning a new language (ex. them making mistakes and all that good stuffs) or practicing their skills with natives speakers they don’t know and without knowing the subject beforehand (some do by the way).

But again, who am I to criticize or to tell them to stop making those videos if they enjoy making them. I’m just not going to watch their videos and if they make something I find interesting, I might watch it.

(edit: steve wrote my idea on my last paragraph before me)

As I watch very few things on youtube, I am spared the ennui some of you are so clearly having to bear. How nice, something else that is good today!

@il melomane70: “…Sometimes one may come to the conclusion, that the so-called hyperglots only learn the few words and sentences they need for this specific topic, and this in 20, 30 or more different languages.”

Y’know, I can see where you guys are coming from here.

But when one starts to question whether guys like Richard actually CAN talk about other things…I don’t know…that’s a pretty tough line to take, isn’t it?

I suppose we shouldn’t discount the possibility entirely, because it is good and healthy to be skeptical about things. (But still, it does seem to me to be a little bit mean-spirited in Richard’s case…)

As Steve pointed out, in some of their past videos Richard and Luca (for example) have talked with him in several languages about a wider range of topics.

ad Jay B: First of all, thanks for your kind words in the other thread. I really appreciate it.

As for the topic at hand, I must say I don’t feel like making any more videos because I don’t know what else to say about language learning for the time being. Maybe I’ll get some new insights in future and then I’d be talking about it again.

I would love to talk about different subjects in the languages I know. When I asked people who criticized others for always talking about language learning in the HTLAL forum to contact me and talk about any subject they want (with or without preparation, I don’t really care, as long as they are fair enough not to choose a topic which requires a lot of technical vocabulary they themselves might study beforehand ;-), I got zero responses.

So, if anyone here is interested in talking to me in any language I have studied so far and is willing to accept my greatly varying levels of proficiency, I’d love to hear from them. I find videos where I can see how much people have learnt and/or struggle with a language a very valuable source of inspiration and motivation.

I’m also more than willing to talk to anybody studying German as a foreign language.

Swedish: Richard has noticed that it’s possible to use Swedish/Danish in Norway and still be understood. Cristina says that all Norwegians probably understand Swedish, everyone the same age as she (or older) have watched a lot of Swedish TV and understand EVERYTHING. Norwegians don’t speak Swedish, they don’t learn it (other than reading ten pages of Swedish in school). That’s it. Maybe they read occasionally in Swedish, but it’s extremely rare for Norwegians to do any formal study of the language.

Norwegian: Cristina thanks Richard for visiting her, and jokes about her husband going mad from hearing them switch languages back and forth.

Languages is what interests me, so the day Richard, Luca et al. are doing videos on the financial crisis, I’ll watch something else. :slight_smile:

Let me say again that this is not about discrediting Richard, Cristina, Luca and others They are inspirational role models. But these types of videos rarely do the languages any justice, I think. Even if one stays on language learning there are much more topics one could discuss in more detail and in a way that sounds less stiff and recycled. Furthermore, I have to agree with our friend Benny here, languages are only a tool to facilitate communication between people. I live abroad and it is only in the rarest of cases that I use my foreign languages to discuss language learning with people of other languages. One of the surest indicators that one is half decent in another language when using it with a native is that the topic of language learning never comes up in that conversation. Much of the Youtube polyglot scene is about genuine love for languages but I suspect that a there is also a good portion of vanity involved.

I am not sure one really needs a specific list of topics in order to have an interesting conversation. My experience is that if I meet an interesting person one question leads to another. In such a Youtube setting my only rule would be to stay clear of language learning and to keep it spontaneous. I am sure I would not run out of interesting things to discuss. There are so many interesting people here on the Lingq forum and If I were to meet them I am sure just getting to know them could be a very interesting conversation.

@Friedemann: “…I have to agree with our friend Benny here, languages are only a tool to facilitate communication between people.”

Well, a language can also be a medium for storing the entirely private thoughts and observations of an individual (as in a diary).

And does literature have no intrinsic value? (Would a poem, for example, be pointless and/or worthless if it were never read by anyone other than the person who wrote it?)

I don’t know…


written language, I would say is also a means to communicate, the author and the reader in a way communicate by exchanging thoughts. I would think that most people write diaries mostly for recording thoughts and much less in order to demonstrate to themselves or others their command of that language.

I agree with Friedemann’s first two posts. They could easily talk about something more interesting, for example, if they were speaking French, they could talk about the book “Candide”, or any other book for that matter. Also, the “Euro Crisis” is pretty interesting and will affect English, French, German, Spanish etc speakers.

I’ve not watched the video, and I’m not getting at either of them, of course.

I would be interested to talk to you, I’ll send you an email:)