September 16, 2011

Interview with Luca Lampariello


Dear all,

a few weeks ago my good friend Luca Lampariello was kind enough to do an interview with me on his blog and I am very happy to say, that I can now return the favor and do an interview with him in return. Luca is a friend of mine whom I met about 3 years ago and based on our mutual passion for foreign languages and I think mutual respect as well, we became good friends. He speaks several languages at a C2 level and has been by many people proclaimed to be one of the best polyglots on youtube – a statement to which I subscribe.

I was thinking for a while about the topic, that would suit our interview best, since I didn’t want to talk about motivation or general language learning strategies, but rather something more specific, something that would be interesting and useful at the same time. I know very well, that I have lost the capability to acquire a 95-100% native pronunciation in a foreign language, but I think Luca is one of those people that still can do it and since it is something that interests me very much and something I personally can learn a lot from, I decided to ask Luca questions related mainly to his accent acquisition techniques and native-like pronunciation development.

For any further information about Luca and his projects, feel free to visit his blog with a lot of useful information about acquiring correct pronunciation or language learning in general, or take a look at his youtube channel with language instructional videos or videos of Luca speaking several languages. Enjoy.


Hello Luca, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your language background and life in general?

I am Italian, and I come from Rome. I was born in a monolingual household and Italian was the only language I had been speaking until the age of 13. I lived in Spain for about 6 months and I currently live in France. During all these years, while acquiring a mainly science based education (I hold a degree in Electronic Engineering), I have been developing a huge passion for languages. I have been “breathing" them in for more than 17 years now. Although I spent most of my life in Rome, I have always managed to create an environment around me where I could listen, read, speak and write the languages that I have been learning over the years. Currently, I am a private language tutor here in Paris (I give lessons both on-line and in person) and I am studying at ISIT in order to become a conference interpreter.

Why did you choose to learn foreign languages and what was the first foreign language you’ve learned?

My family has always put culture to the forefront. My house has always been full of books, and this “cultural turmoil” around me fostered an intellectual curiosity that was channeled towards languages at the ripe age of 13. It was mainly thanks to my grandma and later to my aunt that I started learning languages. I remember that well before learning Latin at high school my grandma had me study it in downtime, while on vacation at the beach house. If from one side my grandma created the background, it was my aunt who sparked my interest for languages by giving me my first book in English. I have never stopped learning languages since then. The very first language I came into contact with was English, followed by French. Two years later, I started learning German as a self-taught learner, at the age of 13. After the first difficulties, I came up with the method that I still use for acquiring languages.

How many languages do you speak and what does it mean for you to really speak a language?

As you yourself know, the term “to speak” is rather unclear and vague, but in general I am not the kind of guy who “dabbles” with languages: once I decide that I am going to start a certain language on day X, I never stop actively learning it, until I reach a level where I can keep fluency. I am very demanding of myself when it comes to “level”, and according to my humble opinion, “really speaking a language” means that one is able to enjoy the language in all its aspects, ranging from reading a book without worries to watching a movie and understanding what is going on, to interacting with native speakers. I think that one interesting test one can do to determine where he/she stands in terms of language proficiency (both active and passive) is to take part at a dinner (or lunch) with native speakers. It is a great opportunity to not only interact, but also witness the interaction among native speakers. I often have lunch with my girlfriend’s parents here in France, and I have come to realize what it means to really “breath” a foreign language in all its aspects. The puns, the cultural and historic references. It is amazing to witness how native speakers manipulate their language. In order to fully grasp all these aspects, books are not enough: one needs people, places and situations.

Which one was the most difficult one and why?

On the spur of the moment, I would say Chinese. But I would add Russian and Swedish. Every language is a world apart and poses various difficulties depending on our mother tongue. As a “Westerner”, Chinese poses a number of problems: in the first stage of learning, the most obvious are Chinese characters and tones (which are made to be even more difficult by traditional study methods which I find didn’t adapt to the Internet revolution). The worst, though, is yet to come, and one is confronted with serious issues when first venturing into the real language. Chinese, in fact, hides a growing complexity, that unfolds as long as we progress into the language and this becomes evident when it comes to speaking idiomatic Chinese in a live and real context. To make a long story short, we often can’t apply a direct translation from our own language into Chinese (as we normally and unconsciously do with most of European languages). One should learn to express himself all over again, and, if necessary to learn certain expressions by heart.

* The issue of acquiring tones: the majority of the students who are confronted with tones tend to learn them the “traditional way”. They are told there are 4 tones, and they are shown graphics of how the tones are supposed to be pronounced. It seems logical to start this way - one builds the capacity to pronounce a given language  by deciphering the “bricks” that make up words and sentences. Imagine, though, to learn Italian, Spanish or French by starting to learn to utter every single syllable this way. The brain would spend a considerable amount of energy concentrating on the pieces, losing “the bigger picture”, and one would end up pronouncing a sentence robotically, far from the smoothness native speakers speak their language with. Very often, the difference is stressed between “tonal” and “non-tonal” languages, but it is not difficult to prove that the majority of languages (if not all) possess tones. What I suggest to all those who are about to tackle Chinese (and an entire post will be dedicated to this issue on my blog) or any other tonal language is to consider phrases, and try to focus on how the whole sentence sounds, rather than its single constituents. In other words, it is a “top-down” rather than the traditional “bottom up” approach.

As far as Russian is concerned, the main problem I encountered is the memorization of new words and the extremely complex structure: it is not an exaggeration to say that Russian is one of the most complex languages in the world from whatever perspective one might look at it, even from a Slavic language speaker one.

And finally, Swedish is the language that posed the most problems in terms of pronunciation: the way the Swedish language is “sung” is rather elusive and needs special care and attention. I remember I gave little importance to it at the beginning, and this lack of accuracy showed up some years later, when,  thanks to the feedback I got from the Internet, I realized that something was wrong in the way I uttered phrases. Obviously, it is much more challenging to close this gap and that’s the main reason why I’ll never get tired of stressing how important it is to acquire good pronunciation since the very beginning.

In general, if you start learning a new language, do you consider pronunciation to be important?

Yes I do. Pronunciation is an integral part of the language, it plays a huge role in communication, in building an empathy with your interlocutor, as well as creating a virtuous, motivational circle: native speaker’s surprise at your pronunciation is an enormous boost for improving yourself and keep learning the language.

The most critical moment for pronunciation always takes place at the beginning: learning how to “listen to” the sounds and reproduce them correctly and gradually is key to a good pronunciation. “A good start is half the battle” – they say.

Do you consciously concentrate and learn how to pronounce new sounds, especially vowels, or do you do it by feel?

Until a few years ago, I used to rely exclusively on my ears. I have always stressed the importance of creating a link between the sound and the corresponding word. I find it very useful to read and listen, especially at the beginning. Once this link is established, I only need to hear the sound, without having to read the text. Starting to produce those sounds myself “closes the circle”, thus providing the last piece of information I need in order to finally “hear” what I  wasn't able to hear before by simply listening.

Recently, however, I started to approach pronunciation and intonation more methodically. The language which I paid more attention to in terms of pronunciation is Chinese. It was the first time that I worked on pronunciation in a conscious, pragmatic way, and that's where the idea of my "Phonetic Analysis" came from, which I am now applying to Japanese.

Do you relate the sounds of a new language that you study to sounds you already know or try to develop a completely new sound register for it?

I think that, one way or another, we can always start from a point of reference, something we already know. What I try to do when I tackle new sounds is not taking anything for granted, and ask for native speakers' advice as soon as possible. Being given feedback is always important. However, as you learn more languages you build an even bigger repertoire of sounds, and everything becomes easier.

How do you go about learning vowels that do not exist in any of the languages you already know?

I have always approached the study of vowels “the traditional way”: by listening and repeating, possibly asking to a native speaker for feedback and correction. This “static” aspect of vowels, though, has never posed big problems.

I find the “dynamic” aspect of vowels to be the most difficult to both understand and produce. Without going to much into detail (which you can find on my blog and on a series of videos I published on the Internet), a “vocal shift” happens in every language,  something which is never taken into account in language courses or by teachers. The main reason of for this omission is probably the fact that the dynamics of a sentence is a rather complex matter not only to understand, but also to represent and, finally, to reproduce. Many deem it as “a waste of time”. When one starts learning, say, Italian, they are said that there are 5 vowels, but it is never stressed that every vowel is “sung” in a different way according to its position within the word and the sentence. This “vowel shift” is the main concept for grasping the intonation of every language. I take care of this aspect since the very beginning with the “Phonetic Analysis” mentioned earlier. It is often stressed how important it is to listen, but I think that one should learn how to do that. It is an important starting point, from which one can absorb the way a give language sounds.

If you find a new sound that you didn’t hear before, do you immediately recognize it, or does it happen often that some sounds have to be introduced to you as completely new, because you didn't notice them before?

I don't necessarily recognize a sound straight away. I can spot it as a new sound, of course, but it doesn't bother me that much if I can’t "hear" it. What I try to do is reproducing it in order to "close the circle". This recognition has its foundation in the mirror neurons, which is the main reason why the listening procedure consists of numerous steps: listening, listening again, and then repeating, and listening once again, according to a feedback scheme.

If you try to reproduce a new sound, do you consciously try finding the correct position of the tongue/vocal chords or do it by feel and concentrate purely on the sound itself?

To be honest, I never focused on vocal chords or the position of my tongue when uttering a sound. As I said before, I find the sound-word association to be much more efficient, both in retaining the word and the way it is pronounced. That is why I tend to always listen AND read a text at the same time. I focus exclusively on sounds only at a later stage, when the mind “sees” the image of the letter whenever it hears a given sound. I think that one of the secrets to acquiring good pronunciation is not to be in a rush to understand everything immediately, but to let the brain absorb sounds and words as long as we venture into “the language maze”.

Doesn’t the visual image of the letter in your mind interfere with a sound from a language you already know?

No, it generally doesn’t. This is probably due to the fact that I always try to learn one language at a time, and treat them as stand-alone entities. When I “think” and read “in” a given language, it seems like the brain uses only the area where that language is stored, and this prevents interference with other languages. This doesn’t mean that I never experience interference between languages, but this doesn’t seem to involve the sound-word link that I develop by listening and reading at the same time.

Can you hear all the new sounds immediately?

I “do” hear them, that is, my brain realizes that it is being confronted with a new sound, but it takes time to fully grasp the complexity of the sound itself. By “fully grasp” I mean that one also needs to be able to produce a given sound in order to fully understand how and why it sounds that way. For some sounds this “realization” might take a long time.

What makes a sound difficult for you? Is it the fact that it is so distant that you maybe even didn’t notice that it is different or is it the fact that you need a lot of “new movement” of your speech organs?

From my personal experience, I find certain consonants or clusters of consonants difficult when you need to use the tongue or the facial muscles (and the teeth) in a way you have never done before, so it mainly relies on using new organs (structures), so to say. As for the vowels, once again, it is the “new” usage of certain structures such as the glottis that makes things hard  (the Arabic “ain” or the german “glottis stroke” come to mind).

How about correction? Do you rely on yourself or others to correct your pronunciation?

Being corrected is a key factor for acquiring a native-like accent. The 4 main pillars my strategy hinges on are: flexibility, attention, curiosity and a big smile. In order to speak like a native speaker one not only needs to distinguish the sounds, but also to be flexible too. You should always wonder if what you produce with your mouth does actually corresponds to what you hear. That’s why it is important to be curious and flexible, other than reacting positively to possible criticism and/or judgment on the part of a native speaker. Asking somebody to evaluate our intonation and pronunciation can lead to disappointment if we set the bar too high. When we hear something we didn’t expect to hear, the best thing is always to consider the feedback extremely valuable, and a starting point for improvement. Positive mentality is key not only to acquiring a good accent in a language, but also to improving the way we lead our life in general. It is always great to react with a big, radiant smile... and move on.

What was the most difficult vowel that you encountered and why?

Again, I don’t recall having problems with reproducing vowels statically, but I did find some problems in figuring out the right configuration of tones when uttering a sentence. I have never formally learned Arabic, but I did try to utter the vowel “ain” a couple of times, and the result was not very pleasing. I think that I’ll give it my full attention if I decide to learn Arabic one day.

How about consonants?

Consonants are mechanical sounds by nature: intonation mainly relies on vowels. This simplifies things, because consonants do not “shift” in a sentence, they are always produced the same way. I learn them according to the aforementioned “feedback scheme”: I listen and repeat, I record my own voice and ask for a native speaker’s advice. And then I repeat again.

In general, I find consonants easier than vowels. There are obviously exceptions. A glaring example of how the sheer mechanical production of a consonant can be complicated is the “r”. It varies wildly from language to language. It posed some problems with Dutch. I finally realized the difference between the Dutch “r” and American “r” after posting my Dutch video in Youtube. Before then, I thought it was basically the same sound, while in fact it is slightly different, and the difference lies on a somewhat different position of the tongue. It is the demonstration that one can always improve, even after getting the sound wrong for years. The key word here is without a doubt flexibility.

What was the most difficult consonant that you encountered? Why?

I remember trying to pronounce the Czech “Ř” while on the car with Richard. I tried to copy his Czech R, but I found it rather difficult. Then he patiently explained to me how to put my tongue and how to use my teeth and I felt like I was improving. I think my brain “heard”, or “saw” the sound, but I also feel like the only way to fully grasp it is to try… and try again. As of now, I am not sure at all that I picked up the sound right, but I am “on the right track” and I hope to get a convincing Czech R if I was to learn this beautiful language in the future. Needless to say, it always takes time for the brain to absorb, understand and reproduce a sound due to their phonetic complexity.

You often talk about “sentence accent”, it is a complicated issue, but could you in general describe what it is, why it is important and how you learn it?

It is indeed a complex issue to deal with and describe, but it is fascinating and it is worth going into details. In the last year I have been wondering why it is so difficult for an adult to sound like a native speaker in a foreign language. I wondered what happens in our brain that impairs the quality of our oral production and if there is a way to “soften” this problem, if not to solve it.

Almost each and everyone of us knows the concept of “stress” within a word. The sentence accent is a less studied and known aspect of a language, and it is often only discussed in very specific academic publications. Every sentence has sentence accent, that means that the voice “falls” on one or more important words, that is why it is called “stress”: some words are the pillars a sentence hinges on and they condition they way all the vowels are “sung”.

To make a long story short, every language has its “musicality”: the voice raises, falls, stops. All this relies on vowels, which are pronounced with different heights (tones) and lengths (short or long vowels). As said before, tones can be applied to non tonal languages. Let’s consider the following sentence in Italian:

Mā          chě         stāi         fācěndó?
But          what        are you     doing?
What on hearth are you doing?

It seems that adamantly concentrating on the single syllables is folly: the system is too complex to be efficiently acquired on conscious way. In this regard, the “Phonetic Analysis” offers the main guidelines on how to understand how a sentence sounds. I use special markers to identify the main blocks within a speech, and I use other markers within the block to explain how to “sing” the block itself.

It is much easier to do it than to explain it, and it is a very pragmatic way to roughly represent how a sentence sounds. The first step towards reproducing a sentence is to figure out how it is produced.

In other words, through this “analysis” one becomes aware of what it means to “sing” a sentence correctly. It is an important starting point, to which I add a lot of listening at a lager stage: quantity + quality is always guarantee for success.

On a final note, I’d like to add that I don’t like selling miracles. It is a fact that most of the learners don’t reach a native-like pronunciation. But this doesn’t mean that it is not feasible. It only needs a lucky mix of ingredients, such attention, concentration, patience. And above all, faith. You have to believe in something if you want to reach it. An old Japanese saying goes: “A thousand mile track always starts by a first step”.

24 comments:

  1. Hi Vladimir and Luca,

    Thanks a lot to both of you for performing this interview, which I find very informative. As insiders of polyglottery we know that polyglottery has to do with a lot of dedication, enthousiasm, hard work and good learning techniques, but in such an interview these are explained in detail, which makes it an interesting lecture.

    I see that Luca enjoys the privilege of using his foriegn languages with native speakers, whereas in 90 % I speak my foreign languages with other non-native speakers, but even under these circumstances I have quite a good pronounciation. The most difficult languages I studied were Russian and Ancient Greek and I abandoned both of them. The most difficult letter to pronounce is for me the soft "d" in Danish.

    I printed out this whole interview and I will reread it several times and put it in my file about polyglots and their stories.

    By the way, Vladimir, this interesting interview has convinced me to subscribe to your blog! Fasulye

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  2. Fasulye,

    thank you very much for the nice words. I'm glad you liked the interview and very happy that you decided to subscribe!:)

    Out of curiosity, why was the soft Danish 'd' difficult?

    When I think about it, for me the most difficult consonant to learn was probably the Mandarin 'j' (especially followed by the -ia final) and the Mandarin 'r'. Since my native language has a relatively large consonant register, I usually have smaller problems with consonants. On the other hand, I have much bigger problems with vowels mainly those that I never heard before. The Italian 'o' for instance (as the first one in 'voglio') has been and still is a problem for me. I had serious difficulties with a whole number of vowels in Mandarin and Taiwanese.

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  3. We both have to thank Richard that he posted the link to your interview with Luca on Twitter! :)

    The Danish soft "d" is a very special consonant because it is pronounced exactly between an English "th" and a normal "l".

    I also know that many learners of Dutch have difficulties in pronouncing the Dutch diphtong "ui" which I can pronounce perfectly. But it's a very uncommon diphtong and it has to be pronounced as a German "öü" in one letter.

    Fasulye

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  4. Excelent! And I can identify with Luca, I´ve been learning the Arabic language since 2008 (both Standard and Libanese Arabic) and I have to say that I could pronounce the letter "ain" after one year practicing a lot! Is a tough one! Thanks for sharing this!

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  5. It seems the more the poly glotts start to analyze themselves the more they go towards a dilettante linguistics' description. to correct a few things: yes consonants do shift: there are phonological rules that are at work in every language: e.g., German [d] can be initial or medial but it is realized as [t] in final position in Spanish [r] is initial and can be final; however it is realized as [ɹ] elsewhere. Also Spanish does not have a true [b] or a [v] it is realized as a [β]. Also all stops are fronted in Spanish (these phonological rules will help your production as will understand Tone Sandhi in Mandarin). When Luca is talking about looking at 'singing' nature or the language or the tone of the phrase--he is merely looking at Suprasegmental aspects that are contained in prosody. These aspects are all a science. Several courses at a university will help those interested in more than the hackneyed, imprecise ways of discussing these features: Articulatory Phonetics, Acoustic Phonetics, Phonological Analysis, and Morpho Syntactical Description.
    The approach he is starting to go towards is what Field Linguists have made a science and have been using for over 150 years.
    Hope this has enlightened the subject.
    Regards,
    Christophe Clugston

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    1. Christophe Clugston,
      You and your reply are probably the reason the majority of language learners fail when trying to learn a new language. Your condescending tones are the hallmark of someone who wraps themselves in the cloak of being a linguist. You just jumped on a perfectly great interview which was obviously done for the benefit of laymen and analyzed it from the point of view which most people don't really care about. Your scientific crap = The exact reason so many students fail when trying to acquire language. Just relax. Learn to understand things for what they are. If they are beneath you, then simply let the rest of us wallow in our own ignorance and you can continue to look down on us from your linguistically superior position.

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    2. Mr. Christophe,

      You do have a point when you point the existence of scientific terminology previously stablished in the linguistic field that could enrich Luca's empirical views.

      However, I also (firmly) believe that Luca's empirical views, technically imprecise or not, are waaay more useful than a linguist opinion (yours included) when it comes to real language learning, simply because most linguists are not polyglots, and he is, undoubtely. He is just trying to explain a process he knows by heart, and most linguists go into academical carreers without ever achieving his proficiency, or having a clue about how language learning is in real life, or having the humblenesse to recognize their limitations.

      Also, I understand that your post is only aimed to enlighten the subject, pointing slight imperfections, and that's fine.

      But, since you mean to enlighten other people, please pay better attention to your ortography and/or you typing, considering that it's not "poly glotts" (???), but "polyglots". I hope this has enlightened you.

      Best regards,

      Gerd

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  6. Dear Christophe,

    thank you for your comment and for sharing your observations and the correct terminology.

    I took some linguistic courses at our Chinese department, but I would never say I am an expert in linguistics (or at least I hope I never said that) or in anything similar and in the articles I write, I try to point this out here and there.

    Although I can't speak for Luca, I think this wasn't his intention either, nor was his intention to make his own terminology become a widely accepted standard.

    I don't think anyone would argue that a 'singing nature of a language' is a more accurate term than 'Suprasegmental aspects that are contained in prosody' but as far as I know, the readers of this particular interview were mostly ordinary language learners or language enthusiasts and maybe the majority of these people doesn't know what suprasegmental aspects in prosody are and neither do I and I don’t really mind because as I said I’m not a linguist and in general invest my energy elsewhere.

    I know what you mean when you say ‚go towards dilettante linguistics while analyzing oneself‘, but I don’t think strict terminology was that necessary in this interview. It would’ve been more professional if we‘d provided the readers with accurate linguistic terms in brackets or provided additional explanations in footnotes, but it was just a fun interview, that was mostly aimed at people who like to read about general learning strategies and just overall opinions on language related subjects without going into too much detail.

    I think Luca is intelligent enough to know that he is not inventing the wheel all over again in what he does and that there are linguistic terms that have been around for a long time with people who devote serious amounts of their lives researching them.

    Vladimir

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    1. I agree with Vladimir very much. I think that the science of linguistics could have this body of accumulated observation and analysis that Luca commented on during his interview, yet the access to it is not readily available until hard-core polyglots and serious language learners bring their own talents to the fore and create great forums like this. Luca and Vladimir or Mike Campbell among others really share vibrant enthusiasm for success with all of their published blogs, vlogs, etc. and they all really teach us to ascend constantly either in just one language or many. This entails a considerable amount of work just to create media and video content that shares best-practice knowledge (and this can work hand-in hand with academic university departments or similar organizations which decode language acquisition practice and theory as well). Thanks to all, Daniel

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    2. Thank you for the nice comment Daniel.

      All the best.

      Vladimir

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  7. Again amateurs hate the professionals. Please inform me when any of you completes work in Field Linguistics in any realm and tell me how being a dilettante has functioned. Hating those with credentials is the hallmark of the amateur: it do you all well to read the book The Cult of the Amateur (about the Internet). BTW trying to be prescriptive is another amateur move--being able to be accurate in descriptive sciences carries much more weight.

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  8. Christophe Clugston.. The biggest fake of them all.. definitely a few fries short of a happy meal.
    This guy trolls around every single Youtube video, Polyglot site, language forum and talks shit and puts everybody down.
    Never encouraging and has never proved his "expertise" with any evidence of his own. He merely copy and pastes from online sources to troll.
    Not to mention he can't speak any other language other than English..

    Oh and his Martial Arts... thats just laughable.

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  9. Nice to see no name cowards writing ad hominen attacks. I invite you to come to where I live and talk to me in person--oh that's not going to happen because you are a coward and have no evidence. Please tell me when any of the U Tube gurus can learn to take my challenge to learn an unscripted language.SO far, Moses, Kaufman and Benny have refused out of sheer pants wetting fear.

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  10. Luca may very well one day influence academics and linguists will be studying and analyzing his techniques. An academic background can be great but it also can be useless or even dangerous. Witness Ben Bernanke snuff the life out of the US economy with his academic theories. Luca brings so much joy to language learning and his personal results are impressive.

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  11. Do you want to bet money? If not then you have no faith in your words or him.

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  12. I love when Clugston calls people cowards because they wouldn't catch a flight and say it to his face. Clugston, people barely want to watch/hear you on YouTube for free, why would anyone pay money to see you in person. You keep calling the YouTube polyglots "linguaphiles." I think that would apply to you too because as a "linguist" (which I highly doubt you are) you have an appreciation of languages like these guys do (though you have yet to prove you speak any other language).

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  13. Yesterday Christophe said to me

    "I am a professional Academic linguist, professional certified language teacher, have attended the world's hardest language school and learned languages in a variety of manners. I speak 5 languages at a pretty high level and more at a lesser level."

    So I asked him to provide more information since this was pretty vague stuff he's claiming. He never answered me on anything he's claiming, but instead accuses me of being a liar when I gave him my credentials and asks where have I been published. He just some big egomaniac that really has nothing to back up his claims.

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  14. Christophe, all you would have to do in order for people to take you seriously is post ONE, just ONE video on your channel speaking more than one language.. Not fluently but just conversational. Just this alone would make people respect the things you say.

    BUT.... you can't. you never will. You only speak English. You are living in a dream world and have severe mental issues. The internet knows you are a troll already.

    You can stop the act now little boy, no one is listening any more.

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  15. For those cowards with no names and for the dilettantes you can see how I've become the game changers by interviewing real linguists who use methods none of you know about and go further, faster, and profoundly than any of your amateur heroes.

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  16. Clugston Tell me what university you went to. Tell me Who invented "The german volume method" That you claim is a secret method That was developed during soviet Times in eastern europe.how Come only you Know about this method?. You should atleast give me a name since you care so much about credentials. And your martial-arts...Who thaught you these arts like viking destruction art and roman gladiator fighting That you claim to have knowledge in?how Come only you Know them? If you give me an answer That you can back up with reliable facts l Will respect you. But If you can not you are a man with no credentials and a liar.

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  17. This guy Christopher Clodsome is a fighter, not a linguist... he might've been given the title at a boxing ring or something, he doesn't even know Thai despite having lived in the country for several years, his English is good (yeah, he lived in Californina while a teenager), he knows French (it's his native tongue, but not that perfect as it should be), Spanisn (yeah, only slang, that's what a linguist learns after living for several years in a country), appart from that some Italian and some German. He also claims to be an expert in isolating languages and to speak a near native Khmer, c'mon, what a joke!!! He's a clown! Luca keep up the good work encourgaing all of us.

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  18. Notice how the same person decrying ad-hominem attacks jumps straight to calling people cowards. Same with frequently referring to others as amateurs.

    Why not directly debate people's ideas instead of demanding that they kowtow to authority?

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  19. Great post. I've really enjoyed it.Flexibility, memory and a good 'ear' are a must in learning languages. Patience, tenancy, never fading motivation, having fun and also some kind of necessity or need to acquire the language are important to some extend.


    Thank you Luca and Vladimir. Keep rocking the world of languages.

    PS. If one day you desire to learn Chech let me m know. I would love to help you with it

    Lucie the Czech native speaker. LOL

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    1. Hi Lucia,

      thank you for your post. I agree with what you say. A good reason to learn a given language is very important too, especially with very difficult languages, because it gives you a reason to keep learning even when you're not very motivated anymore.

      A este som sa chcel opytat.. len ci som pochopil spravne, koho z nas dvoch chces ucit cesky? Lebo.. ja som Slovak, cesky viem a Luca sa uz tiez nieco naucil:)

      Maj sa krasne,

      Vlado

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