Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

How can you come to learn more than 10 languages? | Vodka Vodcast 002 Part 1


So if you are looking for a language tutor you want to practice your language
skills especially if you don’t live in the country where the language you’re
learning is spoken or if you’re traveling a lot like I am then I
recommend you go down to description below the video and check out a link
there for italki or italki because that is the service I have used an awful
lot over the last few years as many of you know who are regular viewers to the
channel and there you’re going to find tens of thousands of language tutors and
you can have classes with them one-on-one individual classes via Skype
you don’t have to meet them in person and you can do all the payments online
and it’s something that I have used regularly over the last few years to
learn my languages and of course you get a special discount if you go through my
link there is some starter credit of ten dollars towards your first lesson so go
check out the link to italki or italki depending on which way he want to
pronounce it. Всем привет! [“Hi everyone!” in Russian] Salut! [“Hi!” in French] and welcome to this second episode of the
Tsar Experience podcast with me Conor Clyne. I’m delighted to have you back
here today I’m speaking to you from a very very nice park called L’Abbaye de la Cambre in Brussels (Bruxelles) in Belgium and there is a particular reason why I
chose this location to have the second episode of the podcast. Unfortunately you can’t see it if you’re listening to this just in the audio on the podcast version
but if you’re watching this on youtube be able to see this beautiful Park. It’s
one of my favorite places in Brussels I actually come here kind of to take a run
or just to have a stroll it’s right in the city center a little bit of an oasis
of calm here in a big European capital and in today’s episode of the podcast
I’m going to discuss my own language learning journey and how it can inspire
and help you and motivate you to learn lots of languages and this city is
actually important to that story because I actually lived in Brussels for a few
years but to get started into the podcast and to explain my background my
name is Conor Clyne you might be able to detect that that is a
Irish name so I was born in Ireland in Galway on the west coast of Ireland and
you probably if you’re listening to this especially on the podcast
version you will notice that I don’t have a particularly Irish accent when I
speak I’ve lost that I brogue to a certain extent unfortunately
a lot of people find it charming and that’s because I’ve lived in lots of
countries since being born and growing up in in Ireland so you can probably
hear different influences on my in my accent I lived in the US for a while
also in France in Belgium here in Germany in Italy in France if I haven’t said France already the Netherlands was the other one and recently I’m spending
a lot of time is probably a lot of you know and that’s probably why you’re
watching this video I spend a lot of time Eastern Europe so countries like
Ukraine Belarus Romania Moldova and occasionally I’ve been in Poland and in
Russia the Baltic countries: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia so if you were
watching this channel before I started a focus on Eastern Europe you will have
seen that I did a lot of videos about learning languages and being a polyglot
now a polyglot is someone who just makes me someone who speaks lots of languages
it’s not very complicated. It may sound like a very an elitist term but that’s basically what
it describes and I actually started out in Ireland a country which of course is
not known for its linguistic prowess I mean we don’t have a very good
reputation like the same inUnited Kingdom or in America for learning foreign
languages and I was definitely a very good example of because in high school
my three worst subjects my three worst results in my high school final exams
the state exams were actually in the languages although those three languages
I had to learn like English obviously as my native tongue Irish because that’s
the official language of the country of Ireland it’s not English with an Irish
accent it’s completely different language from the Celtic family of
languages and I don’t actually I don’t really think it’s that hard to learn but
it is completely different to English and then I had French that was my like
foreign language in that sense and they were my worst three subjects I really
couldn’t master pronunciation obviously you know English is my native tongue so
that’s not an issue but in French for example I could not get the
pronunciation down at all and I just really struggled vocabulary grammar
terms actually found a really boring when I was a high school like languages
were something that I just felt like not for me they’re from other people at
class seem to get the good results right because at the time
I equated being good student with being a good learner of languages and it’s
only later on that I realized that’s not always the case and in fact it’s
actually maybe never really the case for if you look at people who actually go on
to learn lots of languages first people who were students of languages and
get really good exam you know results in those high school high school exams in
particular so I was there and I just thought languages were not for me they’re my
worst results I was really good at things like physics chemistry
mathematics I got like top grades and all those kind
of things I also accountancy so anything with numbers it seemed like I get a good
result on so I actually then studied law which of course involves language
because gotta speak it you gotta read all the time admittedly it was in English
I did have legal French at university but I really was like the worst student
in the class again student in the class and actually only passed my second year
French exams we had legal French was very specialized I couldn’t even speak
French so learning legal terminology was obviously really really difficult for me
and I remember I was basically just passed out of sympathy because I agreed to
go on a language exchange in my third year spent the entire year in France and
actually learned some French so the teacher was like okay fine I’ll just
give you a passing grade just so just we can go to France and actually learn the
language so I arrived in France to do this university exchange the exchange
program in Europe is called Erasmus and it was definitely a really
transformative year for me because you know I had never lived in a foreign culture
and had to adapt to it so it was really a challenge in the beginning and I could
not and this is I’m not joking I could not order a sandwich on the train from
Paris to the city I was actually spending the year on the exchange program in.
I had the point I had to grunt because yeah I just didn’t even though I tried
to say like can I have whenever a sandwich please and the guy didn’t
understand me this is the bottom line so I had to point at it and grunt that’s how
terrible my level of French was and remember I’ve had this for five years in
high school followed by two years in University
where I’m suppose we learn Legal French to be a lawyer in French and I
cannot even order a sandwich so any notion that you have that people who learn
lots of languages in general are talented or have some special like gene
for learning languages well I don’t believe it exists but if it does I
certainly wasn’t blessed with it because I started out in the bottom the worst
student and during that year in France I mean has basically spent the first I
would say month to two months completely mute I couldn’t partake in any of the
conversations everyone else was having around me because yeah I just didn’t
understand anything and I couldn’t say anything over extremely basic so my
friend I had a friend who’s with me there are several friends with me but
one in particularly he actually interpreted for me a lot so I didn’t end
up completely left out but obviously he couldn’t do that I couldn’t do simultaneous
interpretation for me every everyday 24 hours a day so basically I was very
isolated because I couldn’t communicate with people of course some people were
other foreign students spoke English but in this region of France people did not
speak very much English I did have other English speakers on we’re staying in
these dorms in these residences not really dorms they were like because we
had our own rooms but we were saying this residence and there were of course
other foreign students on my floor so I was able to communicate with them using
English when I first first arrived but over the year basically I managed to
adopt and survive and I got to a really basic level in French and I became a lot
more confident but it still wasn’t very good right and this is after living in
the country for one year well this stage maybe about 10 months the academic year
and I even went to the south of France. I had gone on a little bit of a traveling trip and I
arrived back in France on my own I said okay now I’m gonna spend the summer here
and I think I have enough French to at least be able to communicate on a very
basic level of people like high beginner probably was my level at the time maybe
low intermediate just about that and a chance occurrence then
happened I was in Cannes which is very famous for the Film Festival in the
South of France I went there in a trip on a day trip and there was a guy who
was sitting with a girl we’re sitting on a terrace beautiful days the
South of France you can imagine the seaside Cannes and he was there and he was
ordering in French talking in some language I think I mean I figured out it
was German from listening to it with the girl he was with
and then he he turned to me and he said yeah
hello are you British and yeah he had a slight accent German accent in English
when he when he addressed me and we started to chat and he was telling me
that he had actually just come from Spain that morning where he spoke in
Spanish and then he was going to Italy in the evening where he’s gonna speak in
Italian and he was speaking to his girlfriend in German and he was ordering
in French and speaking English to me so I was like man that’s like five
languages and he said yeah I’m a polyglot actually so I’m just someone
who speaks lots of language in it he was explaining to me that he had played
table tennis at a high level when he was younger and he also had the matches the
tournaments in the different countries around Europe so he was really
fascinated by languages because when he would go and play he would you know
encounter the different people who speak the different languages across Europe as
he went to play in the tournaments for the German national team if I remember
correctly so he was like you know comes constantly moving around throughout
Europe and he had a need and a motivation and but I was just completely
taken aback because I’d never met anyone who spoke more than maybe two or three
languages and this guy’s spoke five right I think it means but more than that maybe
six and I never even heard of this word polyglot and understood what it meant
but I mean basically just means someone who speaks lots of languages I do have an
article on my website that I’m going to link in the description below this and
YouTube and also put in the show notes to the podcast where I actually go into
depth to what you know how many languages is someone a polyglot the
different types of categories and all that kind of nerdy stuff so if you
really want to geek out on this then you can go check that out. I’m going to link it
below in the show notes and in the in the description in YouTube here and so
I said him like well do you spend all your time studying because like to speak
that number of languages is like insane for me and he was like actually no I’m
just kind of like motivated I’m really curious because I get to use them a lot
and I want to be able to speak in French in France and you know in Italian in
Italy so you know I read about the grammar and I studied it a little bit
but actually I just kind of talked to people a lot and I read a lot in the
different languages I watched the TV because here at the time in Germany I
guess you had a lot of foreign TV stations so I can kind of watch the news
or watch a documentary in French and it’s pretty easy for me so I found this
like amazing I was like man this is like really just something that astounds me
because you know growing up in Ireland where people spoke English and Irish maybe one
other foreign language this was like something I never encountered even on my
year as an exchange student so I came back from that you know meeting and I
was I was working for the summer in Nice and yeah I was really made me a lot more
curious about the other languages that we hear because we were very close to
Italy so there a lot of Italians were coming into the restaurant I worked as a
waiter for the summer to get some money to go travelling at the end. I went
around Corsica which is really beautiful Island see if we get the chance to go
there and I took that trip and I learned a lot of French of course over the summer
because I was having to deal with you know the public I was waiter so I had
to of course serve people and wait the tables and talk to the customers and and
I started getting exposed to Italian I’d take a little trip there so I was really
like curious about Italian and having met this guy who’s a polyglot it really
kind of made me think right over the last year I didn’t really have language
classes very much I did have them a little bit in university and you know I sucked at
them I did the exams I think I failed them all so again another another example
where I sucked as a student and I started to think well well this guy
wasn’t taking exams right I mean he was just learning because he was really
excited and you know he enjoyed it and he was like reading lots in the
different languages watching TV and just talking to people so it seemed like he
was a master all these languages and you know the people who were getting the high
grades in the class they think they would do well in that
exam and they would be able to speak to people obviously better than me outside
but they weren’t people were like speaking four or five six languages so
this guy’s on to something and after I spent that summer I did
improve because I also had a lot of contact with the language at travel
around Corsica on my own for the week and I had a great time there
and I did you know really talk to a lot of people and also my at my job as a waiter
that had happened so I came back to finish my law studies in Ireland and I
started to get really curious about finding some sort of alternative method
I remember I went to the local bookshop and they had you know the kind of
classical language books there and none of them really inspired me because it
seemed like it was good just gonna learn lots of grammar and vocabulary and it
was the same old same old I’ve been seeing in class and now I still can’t
pronounce things properly this isn’t gonna help me be any different right in
terms of a learning experience and there was one course that kind of caught my
eye because the cover to it had these words like something like no
memorization no homework I think there were the two things that caught my eye
and they really appealed to me because having followed … that
kind of like rigid classroom regime at school that had been absolutely ineffective to
teach me languages so I was I am willing to try anything else at this stage but
it was actually course from Michel Thomas I like I’ll link to this below as
well of course in the description to the YouTube video and you show notes to the
podcast so you can go take a look. Michel Thomas was originally from he was from
modern-day Poland he may have been born in Lodz and he had grown up in Germany a
little bit and Breslau at the time I think that’s Wroclaw today if I’m not
mistaken in Poland and then he he had this incredible life story you know during
second world war he was Jewish and he was living in France and of course you
had the Nazi Germany invaded France and I’m yeah the Vichy government the puppet
government in the part that he was and he had all these he even you know he was
interrogated and he had to pretend that he didn’t understand German even though of
course he spoke fluent German to avoid being executed by the Nazi
regime pro-nazi regime where he was and after the
war he had even testified at the trial of a leading Nazi so he had this
incredible life story and then afterwards he had opened a language
school in California in LA and became this big celebrity teacher to a lot of
stars so we had this course and it seemed very different and I remember he
had this kind of crackling voice on the old recording and it was kind of
imperfect but it really helped me get the basics down in terms of learning how
to open conversations and I was really hooked on this I think I bought it in
several language and I had it in like German Spanish Italian French and
Italian I think at the time so I bought them … I may have may have bought in
the space of a few months actually bought them in all of them even though I
wasn’t learning all the languages I was just like so excited and I was motivated to
learn Italian because I had had this great trip to Italy and I was really like yeah
I want to live in Italy for at least one year of my life I was not sure how I was going to
do it at the time but I was really determined to at least start on that path
so I bought the about the course and I listened to it and I remember my family
some of the family members making fun of me because I was like listening is when it
was dark and repeating the sentences and building up the structures and that not
memorizing and doing anything or being in a classroom environment right it took
the traditional learning approach and they were kind of making fun of me for
doing this kind of crazy thing like it seemed the insane to them and then I think
it was like the following year I went to study in the Netherlands and I invited
an Italian girl out on a date and yeah it was kind of funny I had had a
20-minute conversation only in Italian and remember I just taken the
Michel Thomas like 8-hour course up until now like the audio course and
that’s all the Italian I had right and it was exhausting but I lasted 20
minutes in Italian and I later dated this girl we went out to get her for a
couple of years so then I would see my Italian improved dramatically afterwards
because I had an Italian girlfriend and that’s again part of the philosophy
I guess to learning languages I had high motivation and a lot of exposure to
language when you have obviously a relationship and an intimate relationship with
someone but that just shows like this allowed me to have a
20-minute conversation remember when I was telling you about French and my
experience out of five years at school in two years University I couldn’t order
a sandwich on the first day never mind have a 20-minute conversation I was
living in France in that Erasmus year and it was months before I had a 20-minute
conversation with anyone and to have a one-on-one in Italian was like obviously
as I said tiring it wasn’t very easy I was struggling in parts but I got through
it and it obviously had made a good impression right because I ended up in a
relationship as a result so this really for me man I could never go back to like
traditional language learning after that so I continued I obviously learned
Italian I actually lived in Italy I achieved my goal I went to study at
Johns Hopkins University SAIS which is their School of Advanced International
Studies and they actually had a campus in Bologna in Italy so I actually went
for the first year there and studied in Italy got to live had probably the best
year of my life definitely my university life it was just amazing living in
northern Italy eating just incredible food the vibe at the time … university
it’s a university city Bologna and it was just amazing and I got pretty like
really good Italian obviously having lived there and having had this base
that I had learned from Michel Thomas also have a relationship with an Italian
and I spent the summer in Sardinia if I remember correctly which another great
thing beautiful island if you ever get the chance you should definitely go
there and spend some time it’s really one of my favorite places in Italy
during the summer just amazing beaches and so I had this phenomenal experience
and at this stage speak ok French I speak ok Italian pretty good Italian I
took the exams as part of my masters and passed them and both of those languages
so I was like officially competent finally so we have three languages at
this stage and when I was there in Washington I started to do things like
you know there was an Hispanic neighborhood basically one street away
from where I lived and I actually would go there and I started learning Spanish
using Michel Thomas had some classes also at university I’d joined the class
but I didn’t need it for credit or anything was just something to you know
was on offer so take advantage and just you know use
that to improve another language at the same time and I used to go like really
regularly like every second day to the Hispanic neighborhood so these people
were immigrants originally from Central America and primarily from El Salvador
and I would just speak in Spanish of the conversation and I didn’t speak very
good Spanish but I just just went a did it right and some people were like
because my Spanish was obviously very basic they didn’t really want entertain
me but I would say about 80% of them of the people in the neighborhood were just
we’re happy to speak to me they were either neutral or really happy to
speak to me in Spanish because they could see someone who wasn’t a native
Spanish speaker opening up you know making an effort to learn their language
where they could probably empathize with that because they had come to America and
not speaking English and they had to struggle and learn it themselves so they
obviously respected that and by god this guy is in the same position as us trying to learn our language and I remember I used to go to a taco stand every
Sunday the same one one of these small vans and I would like hang around and chat to
the people there for like 10 15 minutes and they were really delighted because I
was probably when a few people came by and actually bought a taco and spoke in
Spanish as a non-native speaker and I also had a cafe my favorite cafe right
near my university and some of the people worked there were El Salvadoran
as well and there was some there was a french-speaking guy from West Africa and
then there were some Swahili speaking guys and even taught me some Swahili so
I used to speak every day like French and Spanish and so it was a bit like
having a language class but you know it was no extra effort and what was really
important was like I actually liked the people genuinely who I was chatting to
every day in Spanish and French in this week and I hadn’t really learned so they
just teach me so in terms of when we talk mainly in English but even if I had
to do in every everything in English I would have spoken to those people and
formed that friendship and relationship with them but here I was doing it in
French and Spanish so like my French got really really good not because I was
taking classes not because I was studying grammar it’s because you know
everyday based I was going this cafe and maybe
the guy was working there every second is every second day I basically chatted
for like half an hour in French I was like I’m in a French class and same for
Spanish I got up to a decent level I didn’t get a remember they tested me in
Spanish from you know obviously I start beginners and it’s a little bit of
overlap of course with Italian and French cuz they’re from the same family
of languages the romance family so it wasn’t like it was completely foreign to
me in that sense so I did have a little bit of a head start but you know it’s
funny because they tested me at the school right so it’s students do I know
the grammar and all this stuff and they didn’t pass me anything just about how
many people below the passing passing rate after you know two semesters of the
language upto proficiency level which was very high very high standard to have
reached anyways but I found it interesting because the people that they
were passing in the exam had learned all these grammar rules and you know the
vocab in reality you don’t need when they’re
communicating 99% of the time but when they would come to me the cafe they
would struggle to have a natural conversation with the real native
speakers and for me it was like well the goal of learning the language is
actually to communicate with people right so they’ve been good students
and had passed the exam but they can’t have a conversation and actually or really
engage in the subject matters that they really want to talk about naturally so
they may pass the exam but are they going to continue to maintain the
language are they going to improve it’s very unlikely right because without that
motivation that curiosity and those real genuine relationships in the languages
it’s just like it’s too much work right I’m not gonna be studying grammar if you
don’t have the exam any more because that’s the thing they have a goal pass
the exam it’s useful for my career I have to pass one language in order to
get my final diploma while I didn’t have that pressure I was like I think this
kicks ass right I mean this is this excites me that’s like challenge of like
starting from position of a five-year-old in terms of my ability in the
language and I’m gradually increasing and you know that progress is addictive and
you know I’m talking to people you know learning about that culture at the same
time now I want to go visit their country so the whole thing was really
exciting so this is the end of the first part of this two-part episode of the
podcast. It was actually so long that I decided to split it into
two parts now that we’re doing the editing as you see I’m no longer in
Brussels I’m actually in Odessa, Odessa on the Black Sea in Ukraine just
standing at the entrance to Park Shevchenko you can see the statue of Taras
Shevchenko there if you’re watching it on YouTube if you’re listening to it well
you just have to imagine where I am you should go below to the description
of this video or the show notes if you’re listening to this and there I
have a free video course for you guys three part video course completely free
you just sign up by email and then you get that for completely free for you
which will help you 3 my secrets for learning languages and then at the end
of that there’s the chance to join my premium course Language Up Your Life so
until the second part of this episode next week до свидания! [“Goodbye” in Russian] from Odessa Ukraine!

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