Richard Simcott Language Challenge

Check out Richard’s latest Youtube video folks:

(BTW In this video Richard also makes the point that it has taken him 3 months, while having 16 hours of immersion lessons per week, to reach level A1 in Turkish; so I guess that kind of gives the lie to any nutty idea that one could go from beginner to C1 in the same time…)

It’s amazing just how every thread must have a Benny-twist to it… :slight_smile:

It is definitely of interest to hear that Richard takes 3 months to achieve A1 in Turkish, although he may be too modest.

“It’s amazing just how every thread must have a Benny-twist to it… :)”

…and it’s amazing that you have to jump in every time and wag the finger! Nobody mentioned the Irish Conman except you!

Jay, great post and great video. I often feel that humility and modesty is what truly separates the achievers from the wannabies. I’ll surely follow Richard on this project, I hope it’ll be an Asian language. I also suspect that Richard might be a bit too modest regarding his progress in Turkish. He was referring to his work, is he also in the interpreter/tranlation/language learning industry?

Nobody mentioned him by name, that’s true. But are you going to say that he wasn’t referenced? Wow, you must have either a real strong dislike for me or a serious mental condition to spin things like that, Friedemann.

@Friedemann “the Irish Conman” HAHA!

I remember when I first saw his run-down of the 16 or so languages he is comfortable speaking and him talking about how he learned some of them for personal/environmental(in the surroundings sense of the word and learning one for his wife, I think?) reasons and many others for work - sounded very similar to Steve’s story. It seems like this new one is more for the hell of it (kind of like that week for Icelandic), so I’m curious to see where it’ll end up in relation to the ones where he had a purpose for learning them. He sure seems to like a challenge though…

I agree with Friedemann, that folks who are genuinely very high achievers (in any field, not just in foreign languages) often do have a kind of quietness and modesty about them. At any rate this has always tended to be my experience of such people.

I think the reason why Friedemann is unhappy with Benny, is because Benny was recently quite nasty and abusive to him. Friedemann had actually given him a friendly invitation to go and visit him where he lives and works in mainland China - but alas he also made the cardinal mistake of being gently critical about Benny’s use of Chinese tones (or something of that kind.)

I still remember vividly watching Richard’s “16 language” video and how I was in complete awe of his achievements. I just watched the third installment of the Luca-Steve exchange and Luca definitely has a knack for nailing the sound of a language. His Spanish sounded really great. The only issue I have with this video (and most other polyglot videos) is that they all stay inside the same narrow range of topics.

Yeah, what blew me away was how Richard was switching from one Slavic language to another: Croatian, Czech, Russian, etc…

(I would be extremely happy if I could speak just ONE Slavic language fluently…)


I never criticised his Chinese. On this forum I always said that he makes good progress, but will of course not reach C1. In my email exchange and on his forum I told him in a very civil tone that I thought he was a great motivator but kind of ruining it for himself by putting out these unrealistic claims, that’s all. In return I was accused of “mental masturbation”.

I saw the topic of this thread as a more general contribution to the the question of what can be achieved in a certain amount of time, regardless of what any specific protagonist claims. I also think we should try to make people like Richard more known on the web and I hope his challenge will help him in that regard.

One big happy family here at Lingq. ^^

@ Friedmann: I easily agree, people such as Richard Simcott ought to be more known for their achievements, and their realistic attitude.

…And I find it especially annoying when people chuck around terms like “mental masturbation”, (terms that actually have a specific meaning in formal/predicate logic) in order to refute points of debate, when they have no idea what it means, and when it doesn’t apply to the particular point you are addressing. I find myself biting my tounge, and affirming that you can’t debate with fools : /

Edit: On the idea of Richard being too modest about his Turkish level, my guess is that he may well be a very comfortable A2, or whatever, but that someone else may be able to understand and produce at roughly an A2 level, but with much more stress and effort. Just my few pence opinion.

the thing is, if he is really going to use only pimsleur then I just can’t see any challenge at all… it doesn’t matter he is an experienced learner, pimsleur will not get him far

Richard is a highly successful learner polyglot so his methods work for him.

I watched Richard’s video when he announced he was on an A1 level and… yes, I guess he was actually more on an A2 level, but just being modest. I’ve been studying Turkish philology (almost 9 hours a week + my own study at home) for six months and I have pretty much comparison to what other students achieve in that period of time. I’ll probably be blown away by his next video, but it keeps me motivated to study hard to try to keep him company :wink:

Yes Dan a happy sometimes squabbling family ,which is just fine.
To some extent we are all exhibitionists in what we wear, in things we create,
and in activities like singing dancing writing arguing and language learning .
Worse than hearing criticisms or counter arguments would be being ignored.
So let the sparks fly I say.

I still think A2 in 3 months is an impressive achievement, and more than most Britons reach in any language, after a lifetime.

Richard is both an excellent language learner and a very friendly person. It is a pleasure to talk to people like him, not because you feel like you have to agree with them all the time but because you know you can have an exchange of thoughts which will always leave you with a more profound knowledge of whatever it is you are talking about once the discussion is over. Disagreeing is not a bad thing, rudeness and ignorance are.

As for his Turkish, I think he speaks it extremely well already and I read in one of his recent comments that he has made further progress since he posted that video.

I like this unpretentious way of sharing his knowledge and admire his abilities. With regard to this latest challenge, I have voted for Thai. Whatever language he decides to give a try, I’m sure his insights will be of use to all language learners. Besides, it is just a real treat to watch his videos and/or read his blog. A knowledgable and friendly person willing to share what he knows - what more can you ask for?

ad Friedemann: (…) mental masturbation (…)

That is THE ONE THING I don’t like about people running out of arguments: they always and inevitably resort to vulgar language and/or insults.

Edit: Just to be clear, I was referring to Benny and not Friedemann when I was talking about people using vulgar language and/or insults.

@lovelanguagesII “As for his Turkish, I think he speaks it extremely well already and I read in one of his recent comments that he has made further progress since he posted that video.”

No doubt he’s made further progress. He’s using Yeni Hitit, from what I understand (among other things, I’m sure). It’s an excellent, comprehensive course.


@Robert: “…That is THE ONE THING I don’t like about people running out of arguments: they always and inevitably resort to vulgar language and/or insults.”

I agree. But I think it was Friedemann who was very much the victim in this case, because he was very polite and civil to Benny, but unfortunately he got insulted in return. I find this kind of thing quite sad, but it seems to be Benny’s style…

As regards Richard, I would agree that he is probably being unduly modest about his Turkish. I think he said he passed the A1 exam after three months, but I certainly got the impression fom his Youtube video in Turkish that his actual level was rather higher than that.

However I remain very skeptical that any Westerner could go from beginner right up to level C1 in any exotic language within the space of just three months.
(BTW I’m not only thinking of Benny here! There are all too many people out there who will try to tell you that there are magic “hacks” or secrets, or whatever. However in my opinion there is no real substitute for diligent study and lengthy exposure to a language.)