Polyglot language learning tips (English Listening Practice with subtitles)
November 17, 2019
Hello friends! Welcome back. Have you ever heard of the word polyglot? Friends, a polyglot is somebody who is able to speak several different languages. In this video lesson, we’ll hear from a polyglot. I’ve invited Nikki from “Speak at home tonight” to talk to us a little bit about how she’s able to learn and master several different languages. Nikki is from America, and she uses American accent. This is great listening practice for you to hear both the Australian and American accent talking about language learning tips. Watch the whole video lesson to learn the tips that Nikki shares to help you better master the English language. Friends, pay attention to the word choice Nikki uses to express herself when speaking in English. At the end of video lesson, together we will learn three idioms which came up throughout this conversation. Friends, before we begin this video lesson, I would love to hear from you. Tell me in the comments below this video. How many languages are you able to speak fluently? As many of you already know, I’m able to speak English fluently. English is my native language, but I can also speak Croatian fluently. I have tried to learn other languages, and I can speak a little bit of French, a little bit of German, but at a very basic level. How many languages can you speak? Tell me in the comments. Friends, this video lesson is made possible thanks to our using English TP members. Have you not heard of using English TP? The using English TP classroom is a virtual online classroom and community connecting English learners from around the world and teaching them real English. Through structured weekly lesson sets members are learning English naturally, just as native English speakers do. Through reading and listening tasks they are learning vocabulary and grammar naturally, they learn applied grammar, so that they are able to use it when we have a speaking practice, that being speaking challenges and our group calls. If you’re stuck, frustrated and confused about how you can improve your spoken English, click the link just above here to learn more about the using English TP classroom. Okay, back on topic. Friend, before we hear from Nikki, make sure to turn on subtitles. if you’re struggling to follow this video lesson, you do have a very cool feature here, that CC button. Click that CC button so that you can better follow and better understand this natural conversation. Fantastic, let’s begin, let’s hear from Nikki. Let’s hear the tips she has to share with us today. Nikki, you’re a polyglot. What’s a polyglot? A polyglot is someone who speaks multiple languages, so yes. I’m a polyglot. I’m a big language nerd. Language… How many languages can you speak? I speak seven fluently and a bunch more conversationally, I’m kind of crazy. But I just, I just love languages, and I just like… It’s just so much fun for me to get in there and see like: Ooh, do I understand this, do I know what this is, I just love learning new stuff. Right, seven languages. What do you mean? What seven languages can you speak? So I speak English, I grew up in the U.S., so I grew up speaking English in school, But at home, my parents are from Poland, so we were speaking Polish at home, and, you know, learning English at school and you know, I was always kind of exposed to that and I really liked having like a second language. It was like a little secret, kind of, sometimes, between me and my sister, and I’m just motivated by people. Like, people that I want to communicate with. So I got really interested in German in school. We started studying it and I was like: Man, I want to go to Germany. So I, I studied, I was an exchange student in high school. I spent a year in Germany and it was just like: Wow this is incredible! I love this, like, immersion method. So I decided, I was like: You know what, I want to learn some more. And I was really inspired by someone who spoke four languages and she interviewed for a job in four languages, and I was like: I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to have working knowledge of four languages, and I was like: Let me just get a little crazier. And I learned, I studied Arabic, I speak Egyptian , and modern Standard Arabic Fusa and… And then I also speak Croatian and Serbian and Bosnian, go along with it, and I’m studying French and Spanish right now, and it’s just so much fun. So I try to do kind of immersion at home now and learn as much as I can with, you know, using all the resources we have online. Wow interesting, okay. But when you say immersion at home, so you’re in the U… yeah, sorry I apologize, you’re in the U.S. I get confused… And you’re immersing yourself at home. You can speak English, Polish, German, Arabic, Egyptian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, you learning French and Italian, if I’m not mistaken. And Spanish as well, yeah.OK, you’re crazy. I know I’m crazy, but it was like I realized that my brain just sorted languages in its head in a way that just was easy to me. And I love, I love being able to, kind of, connect the dots between different languages. Sometimes they share some similarities, sometimes they don’t at all. So it’s really fun to, you know… Doing lots of things now with Instagram and Facebook. I love watching like live Instastories, or, you know, see what people are doing in Spain. I love, I love watching, you know, I barely speak Italian, I’m learning it, but I love watching people doing Instastories because it, because it’s like real-world vocab and then with that I like to watch, you know, TV shows and movies with subtitles and sometimes I challenge myself and put like an Italian movie with German subtitles… Just that’s, you know, a little polyglot style stuff, just to really challenge myself, because it’s fun. I’m fascinated, so okay. I can speak English fluently, that is my first language, and Croatian as well. As you know, I live in Croatia, so kind of need the language. Oh, yeah, big time. But I’m living here, and I’ve also used the immersion technique, but you… Have you ever lived in an Arabic-speaking country, maybe we can talk a little bit… Have you lived in an Arabic speaking country? Yes, I did. I, I studied Arabic in Cairo in Egypt, so I lived there for six months. I wish I could have stayed even longer because I absolutely loved it. And there is nothing more humbling than learning another language and trying to actually use it in the country or with people who are native speakers, so even, you know, now that I’m back in the US, I still like to Skype with friends You know, video chat with friends that live abroad or who speak Arabic or another language, so I can practice with them and they can correct me. But I mean, I remember all the time, you know, sometimes you have a great day because the person in the market understood you, sometimes you feel a little bit embarrassed because you’re trying to say something, you made a mistake, but it doesn’t matter, because I feel like when you make the mistakes, you always remember them a lot more. Like, the awkward moments of, you know, someone’s like: What is she saying? I could understand this, this happens to me on a… well actually not so much today, but before… I still have this situation occasionally, but it’s… I think it’s a part of learning a language, any language. Definitely, you have to be okay with trying and maybe embarrassing yourself, because that’s the biggest thing I found with… You know, a lot of people like to learn languages at home like with Duolingo or using apps or, you know, with different kind of resources, where they’re reading and listening, but the speaking practice is the thing that gets them. So, a lot of times, I like people to listen to podcasts or watch videos and keep listening and like, repeating them. So you hear it again, and then, like, try to say exactly what they’re saying until you memorize it. You know, your mouth… Just, especially with languages like Arabic that are so different than English, you have to get used to using those muscles and saying like ah and rrhh. And just, you know, it’s, it’s different. And same with someone learning English from another language. It’s like your throat has to get used to using different muscles. I remember, I started… Maybe I haven’t told you this before, but I actually enrolled in beginners course of Chinese. So it was a standard Mandarin if I’m… Maybe I’m mistaken, but I’m pretty sure it was Mandarin, and then, the first thing we had to do was the sounds. So Chinese is a very phonetic language, and I remember… And unfortunately, I didn’t stick to it. I gave up because of… I had too many commitments happening at that time. But we were doing phonetic exercises like po bo and this… Before we even started learning: How are you? My name is Adriana. So I’m used to learning a language. At least when I learnt Italian or French… I can also understand… I have an intermediate level of French. I started back in high school, but with these sounds I’m like: when do we get to learn like – I’m Adriana? I just wanna say “I’m Adriana” in Chinese! But the sounds… I couldn’t say – I’m Adriana – because the sounds are completely different. And how do you practice these sounds? For me.. I was frustrated. I was frustrated and very… A lot of my listeners, students are listening to this at the moment. You know English is the type of language were it’s written one way, and it’s in another way. How do you stay motivated with so many languages happening in your head? Yeah, it’s sometimes… I mean, I know it can get confusing, but I’m mostly motivated by people that I want to talk to or communicate with. Like, I learned Croatian because my husband Tomislav is Croatian. He’s from Zagreb, we lived there for a few years together and my mother-in-law, she doesn’t speak English, and she’s the sweetest in the world so I was like, okay, I can’t only hug her, I have to learn how to say something too, and like explain how I’m feeling. So that was my big motivation with learning Croatian. It’s like, it’s always about people that I want to talk with or talk to, you know. I want to be able to express myself and you know, sound smart in another language and everything. And it can get confusing sometimes to have a lot of languages in your head, sometimes… Sometimes with… When you’re speaking one European language and you, you can get confused with another. I know, I was speaking Croatian the other day, and then I threw in the German verb to be, sein, in there, and I was like: Where’s this coming from, like what? And it was just like in there, and I’m like okay, okay… So it’s really fun when I get to speak with someone who also speaks a few languages in case I, you know, throw a word in there. They’ll notice and be like: That was German. Sometimes I’m a victim of this, because sometimes I use the English word, but I add the Croatian padez. I love that. I love that so much. But this especially happens to me when I’m tired. I don’t know if it’s… You have the same, maybe, experience. But you know if I’m… So, I’m speaking Croatian with my husband, because I work online all day using the English language. But I still at the end of the day live here, and I have to… I have to do everyday tasks in Croatian. Then I get tired and then like oh, you know like play instead of I’m playing I say in Croatian: I’m playati My god, that is so cute. I love that. Do you get this, like mental fatigue. Oh absolutely. Absolutely, it’s funny cuz I know as a kid, you know, we spoke Polish at home. When I went to school I didn’t know the words for a lot of things in English, so I would just say the Polish word and americanize it, so you know, kapcze, or slippers, and I’d be like yeah: They’re my kapchies. These are my kapchies. You know, I love… I don’t know if you’ve ever read Audrey Hepburn’s biography. I don’t know if you have, it’s really interesting because she was a polyglot and she… what’s interesting is, you know, when you’re tired, you speak your native language. So people who, you know, grow up with a few languages. It’s like sometimes… They say it’s the num… the language you count with. You know, like, if you just have to count something quickly, that’s your like native language, and what’s fascinating to me with Audrey Hepburn is that she didn’t really have a mother tongue because of World War Two and her growing up and moving around a lot, so she… That’s why her accent in English is so interesting because when she was tired, she didn’t really have something that, like, really came out. It was like, a little bit of French, a little bit of English, a little bit of German, a little bit of everything. So that’s interesting to me because I can definitely see that I have multiple kind of mother tongues with growing up with Polish and English, but I still find that, like, when I’m counting quickly, I’ll go to English, you know. What about when you’re angry, do you get angry in English or Polish? Oh, I love getting angry in German especially. In Croatian, too, you know. There are so many good Croatian, like, curse words. I mean, I feel like I can really just… We’re not going to that, but I think they’ve mastered swearing. Oh, yeah, oh yeah big time. I love, you know, you can just keep adding on a few more adjectives, and it’s just like perfect. They are so creative. That’s a whole different topic… Oh, no, that’s, like, crazy, and I love, I love, especially with the Croatian curse words, like, you cannot translate them. I mean you can, but they just sound horrible and insane. And it sounds okay in the Croatian language, but if you translate it, it’s like: Whaat? Oh my gosh. I, you know, I’m a language nerd. I have to tell you my favorite phrase ever. It just relates to so many languages and like, you know, a lot of times when you’re learning something new, you have to remember: If you translate word-for-word you will sound just like a nerd. You can’t translate word-for-word, it doesn’t work. It’s like you gotta find the nuances and whatever it is. Oh, interesting. What about… I had this one interesting experience, maybe. I can see you’ve traveled a lot, but we also said… Like, for example, I use some English words, and then I just croationize them. And I’m sure some other people from different languages, they also do that, they try their word in their native language. But say, Croatian is a Slavic language. So it’s very similar to… It has some base roots from Russian language, Ukranian, so we can understand a little bit, but not really everything. But I had this interesting experience in Bratislava, I think it was Bratislava. So, I was ordering chicken, but they don’t say chicken like how we say… They say it in Croatia, but it’s actually a rude male part, and I was like: What are you saying? Have you had this experience before?
Oh yes,oh yes, and I, I, I don’t even want to get
too vulgar, but honestly, I’ll give you a real experience. My very first day, I… I was really fascinated by Arabic when I was growing up. I just thought it’s such a beautiful language, so many people speak it, it’s so cool, I’d love to learn it. So my first day of Arabic class, I went to class, and I wanted to learn how to introduce myself, and I go by Nikki, my full name is Nicole. Nikki does not mean something good in Arabic. It is a very rude, very rude curse word. So the first part of it is a very rude curse word. And I don’t even want to tell you because it’s pretty bad and the I part at the end means it’s happening to me. So, something bad to me. So that’s why first day of Arabic my professor told me, and I was like, so proud, I was like: Yeah, Is mi, like my name is… But no, can’t say that. Is mi Nicole. Because, Yeah, the NIK part, it’s to F. So it was pretty awkward. I was like okay. This is not gonna… Not gonna be good. But I think this is also culture, so it’s always important… Like with immersion, being culturally sensitive because… Say, I’m from Australia, you’re from the US. Okay, so we both speak English, we can understand each other, but, you know, you probably do stuff differently in the US, like we do in Australia. And even though we have the same language, but interaction is always different between culture. How… This is really important, or? Oh, definitely, definitely. I’d say so. I mean, you always want to be kind of sensitive to who you’re talking to. We have, you know, with the internet we’re talking to people all over the world every day. I have students from everywhere and it’s really fun to kind of, you know, find out what are the best, you know, topics, to bond with someone. What kind of common things do we have and what differences do we have. So it’s, it’s definitely important, you want to be sensitive to whoever you’re talking to, from different countries especially, and I find a lot now, you know, I teach, I teach a lot of German and there are people who want to learn German from South America, from Europe, from the Middle East, from China from all over the world and everyone learns differently from… Especially from their native tongue and it’s fun for me to speak a lot of languages, so I can kind of put myself in the student’s place and where they’re coming from instead of… Like, a lot of students in the US, I went to school here, so I know how teachers teach here, and I know how teachers teach in Europe. So I’m familiar with both methods. So I think it’s fun for me to be able to, like, put myself in the shoes of a student and like see: Okay, this is why I’m confused, because I learned it this way, or like it’s fun to connect. Especially like, I have a Croatian student learning German and I love being able to, you know, he also speaks English, so we can use all three languages and be like: See, this is like this in English and this in Croatian, yay. Love the connections. You’ve listened to the natural conversation between Nikki and me. Let’s go through three common idioms which came up in our natural conversation. First idiom which came up was: learning by rote. Friends, this is a common idiom we use in the English language when we say that somebody is learning simply by memorizing, so if somebody is learning by rote, they’re not putting much thought into what they’re learning. They are simply trying to remember, they are trying to memorize exactly what is being written or that fact. An example of this in a sentence could be: If you learn English grammar by rote, you’ll never really be able to use and apply English grammar correctly. The second idiom which came up in the conversation was: Just around the corner. Friends, this is a very common idiom we use in the English language, When we would like to say that something will happen very, very soon. An example of this in a sentence could be: I’m so excited, summer’s just around the corner. Finally, the last idiom which came up in the conversation was: To have deep pockets. Friends, if somebody has deep pockets, it doesn’t mean that they can put a lot of things in their pockets. This is an idiom we use in the English language to say that somebody has a lot of money. So if you would like to say that somebody has a lot of money, they’re very rich, we can use the idiom to have deep pockets. The example of this in a sentence could be: She always wanted to marry someone with deep pockets. A special thanks to Nikki for taking the time to speak to us about learning and mastering several different languages. If you would like to connect with Nikki, you’ll find all of her links in the description below this video and you can subscribe to her YouTube channel where she shares many more great tips to help you master several different languages. Remember friends, in order for you to be improving your English, you have to be using your English. You need structured practice, you need support and guidance and a community to help you stay motivated on your English learning journey. Join us in the using EnglishTP classroom to get structured lessons, weekly lesson sets, to get support in our online community, and to get the speaking practice you deserve to improve your spoken English. Friends, if you loved this video lesson, make sure to watch this video lesson here. We can learn more about the using English TP classroom or you can watch this playlist here where you’ll find many great other video lessons you can use to learn real English, to learn English naturally. Don’t forget to hit subscribe and share this video with a friend learning English. Thanks for being here and see you next time. Bye for now!