I’ve wanted to be a polyglot since I was a kid and I blame Lara Croft (the movies and the games). I was head over heels in love with her. Having her level of erudition and speaking so many languages was so attractive to me. But how do you achieve that? I’ve done the research and most polyglots have the same advice, which is practice, passion, and consistency. I think there’s a lot more to it than that.
Let’s get past the vague, but inspirational buzz words that inspire you to reach a goal and get to the technicalities. That practice and consistency is best applied with an understanding language partner, reliable study material, and an accurate understanding of cultural context. I studied Japanese for four years (on and off, so I wasn’t that good at all) with very few of those things, so when I finally had the opportunity to live in Japan for a month, it was truly a month of ignorance and embarrassment. This killed my confidence and I dropped studying languages period for a while. I’m glad I’m back into it now, but I’ll never forget that. As for the passion, that gets more personal. I still have Lara Croft goals to meet, but ultimately knowledge is power to me. I want the privileges that comes with this knowledge and connect with people who remind me I know nothing about the world. I feel like I need that kind of experience as an artist and as a person overall. Gotta keep that American ego in check, right?
Currently, I’m doing my best to learn, Korean/Hangul, Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, French, and Ancient Greek was something I stumbled upon during my mystic studies, but I’m falling in love with it.
What languages are you learning? Do you think I’m taking on too much at once? You’re probably right, but challenging feats like these are fun for me. I’ve been doing well to practice one language for an hour or more every day. I really love it.