Prof Arguelles - 50 languages!

Both rather excellent choices Chris.

In my case, since I’m already studying one Romance, one Slavic and one Germanic, I think I might as well keep it going until I’ve mastered them all. I’m currently doing French/German/Russian, and my next targets (a couple years from now) will be Italian/Norwegian/Czech. The only thing in the way is the fact that I wanted to get Latin and Ancient Greek too, and specially Latin might be more useful to know before I plunge into the other Romance languages.

There’s an interesting thread over at HTAL in which Professor Arguelles suggests an optimum order to learn the languages in each series.

Sounds like a good plan.

I know the thread which you mean but I’ll have to disagree with it. It’s not the idea of there being an optimal order that I disagree with but I couldn’t follow it personally. The man hasn’t even studied Yiddish (which is not always so transparent for German speaker as one might think). Since I was personally most interested in Yiddish and Dutch early on, there was no use going with any other Germanic language until my thirst was quenched. (In my personal case, Yiddish was one of my native languages which I lost at a young age, so you can perhaps imagine the desire I have to learn it well).

But, having said that, if he had a Jewish languages track in addition to his Western and Eastern tracks, Yiddish would be one of the first learned. Important languages there: Yiddish, Modern Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, Medieval Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Judeo-Arabic. All on my list…naturally… hahaha

He has given an explanation for not having studied Yiddish. As best I can recall, he mentioned working in a hospital when he was younger and using his German to converse with a mentally ill patient who had reverted to only speaking Yiddish. He claimed the transparency was high enough that he could understand and communicate adequately enough with him. I believe this was also the reason he didn’t do a video on Yiddish during the German language series he made. It’s interesting you say otherwise; I have very little familiarity with Yiddish, but romanised transcriptions seem to give the impression that is very similar, but perhaps not quite as similar as to be mutally intelligible. Are there many Hebrew words in Modern Yiddish?

For interest’s sake:

German languages sequence thread:



I pray to God to let me stick to just three or four foreign languages at most…no wanna be no more Jack of all trades master of none!!! Please God take the curse away of being attracted to so many languages! Let me at least master something!! Amen. Thank you, see u in heaven, bye for now… :slight_smile:

Chris, I have indeed heard that explanation but it doesn’t really match my experience of the language. The conversations he had must have been extremely simplistic.

Surely, at the everyday level, they can be largely mutually intelligible. Although, there can be some things which make it quite difficult. At other levels, literary for example - which the professor would be interested in, there are many more difficulties.

Everyday spoken Yiddish has a good number of Slavic and Hebrew words. I would guess that it’s something like 5% for each of them. Might not seem like much but we all know what 5% missing can do to comprehension. Going from Dutch to Yiddish, I find that these are the most difficult words to pick up and learn. In literature, the Slavic component will stay around the same but the Hebrew component can go up to anywhere near 50%. This all depends on authors, topics and other factors.

It’s certainly a language worth studying for someone who’s got a thing for the Germanic languages. The Slavic and Hebrew influence is an interesting change to the usual French/Latin and English influence in the other Germanic languages.

Even the great Kató Lomb in her book “polyglot” recognized that at a level of “native” speaker she had only 4 foreing languages apart from her native one. Then I repeat and insist once again: Please God to let me stick to just 3 foreign languages at most…no wanna be no more Jack of all trades master of none!!! Please God take the curse away of being attracted to so many languages! Let me at least master something!! Amen, thank you, see u in heaven, bye for now… :slight_smile:

Interesting, thanks. I agree the unusual influences make an interesting object of study for those interested in the Germanic languages. Probably rather like Maltese for those into Semitic languages (which apparently borrows a hefty 50% of Italian words, plus many more from English).

AI3, I’ve not found it to be a curse. Also, Prof. Arguelles has certainly mastered several languages. Others are very advanced and many after that. ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ doesn’t apply to this man. Only those of mediocre interest and ambition…

Well, I’m also a big fan of the Semitic languages, Chris… :slight_smile:

Imyirtseshem, you are talking about Prof. Argüelles, I’m talking about ME, a simple mortal and a peasant of foreign languages, a humble average learner, I don’t know if the term “mediocre” would fit to average learners, but anyway, thank you I love you blessings, kisses etc. etc.

You are inferring that those interested in more than 3 or 4 languages never master anything. I refuted that. I’ve got no problem with what your goals are.

Sorry pal, but I was talking about me all the way long. That’s my personal prayer. If u or someone else misunderstood I’m really sorry; that won’t change my love for u. Hugs 'n kisses. :slight_smile:

You sure don’t have the love for languages. :smiley:

Make no mistake. Precisely because I have the love for languages I prefer to treat them with respect and adjust my learning according to my actual possibilities. In the future…who knows. Everyone has its own way to go, and just because it is not the same of this or that, doesn’t mean that it is disrespectful or lacking of love for what you do.
Again and still :slight_smile:

@Al3 :“Even the great Kató Lomb…”

Even the great Kato Lomb said : “Language is the only thing worth knowing even poorly” :). To each his own.

I completely agree Aineko, that’s the true and nothing but the true. At least two or three at a master level, and whatever even poorly… that’s all I’m asking for. I repeat… that’s MY goal and I respect other’s.

Hey guys, thank you for such an interesting debate, but for now… over and out, I’m off to sleep, bye for now, good night :-*

I want to master around 10 languages. Another few dozen at a good level would be ok too. Another dozen to just read. Perfect! :smiley:

@IMY - You plan a lot further ahead in life than most of us do!!

Doesn’t this come down yet again to a personal definition of what is fluency or mastery of a given language.

For example, you hear many polyglots talking fluently about language learning but not chatting about football or rugby. I am guessing that maybe they could not. Does that mean that they are not fluent? I would be very surprised if Prof Arguelles could talk about everything in all of his languages (football, rugby, martial arts …), but I don’t believe that is a necessary criteria for fluency. This is where, at the risk of being burnt alive, I have sympathy for Bennys viewpoint, you become fluent in the areas that interest you. Philosophy for some, bar chat for others. Both are equally valid in my view …