First of all, many among you might ask –what is a polyglot? And even those who know the definition are not sure how many languages does it take to speak to call yourself a polyglot. Google translate says it’s ‘a person who knows and is able to use several languages’. So several would be more than two, right?
I often describe myself as a polyglot wannabe even though I’m fluent in 5 languages already. One being my mother tongue-Serbian, English that I speak since I was 8 (not very fluently back then but still) and French, Italian and Spanish that I have been learning over the last 12 years. At the moment I am learning Greek, actively, Portuguese (I’m able to understand it not yet speak it) and I have been learning Hungarian for 2 years, I can understand a lot I just don’t speak it- it’s damn hard.
Why I don’t call myself a polyglot since I am apparently? Well the thing is that I’ve met people who speak 10/15/20 languages, people with real talent you might say. But in our community we call it practice and will power, not talent. The community of which I’m talking about is the language enthusiasts’ community that gathers once or twice a year in different cities across the world for polyglot gatherings or polyglot conferences. Those are the biggest two events for polyglots but there are many smaller ones. The people that share the same passion for languages get together and attend lectures on how to facilitate the language learning process or how to transfer your knowledge onto others. But most of us just come to meet amazing people from all around the globe with same interests and hobbies. Because for us learning languages is a hobby.
So what does it take to be a polyglot? It takes passion for languages, it takes willingness to put in time for learning them, it takes wanting to speak them as soon as possible, not being ashamed if your accent or grammar are not perfect. It takes curiosity to meet new people and explore new cultures.
How can you become a polyglot? Find time for your hobby today! Don’t postpone it anymore; I’m sure all of us can find at least 15-30 minutes for something we like doing. Learning a foreign language is not so difficult to incorporate in your daily routine. Going to work? Put Spanish audio lessons on your phone and listen to them. Chilling out with a movie? Put Italian subtitles. No time for audio lessons or a movie? Put your phone or facebook in Portuguese. Put the French radio on while having breakfast. We all have excuses why we are not learning the language we love right now, we all have plans to start next month or next summer. Find the time today! Make it a habit. Make it fun and creative. So that the process itself brings you pleasure. Listen to your favorite Greek songs, find the lyrics and write down the words. Eavesdrop some random Hungarian people on the train.
If you want to learn more about methods I use specifically join my class, I’ll be happy to share my tricks with you.