Do you have what it takes to become a polyglot? What is a polyglot, you may ask? As defined by dictionaries and polyglot standards, polyglots are people who know or are able to utilize at least four languages. So you might think that polyglots were probably just born with a natural ability to soak up the different languages.
Or they’re probably just enlightened prodigies who seem to be good at everything (a la Filipino patriot and all-around genius Dr. José Rizal). But the truth is, anyone can be a polyglot! Even you. Read on to find out what you need to know to become a master of the world languages of your choosing.
Yes, it’s true that polyglots are usually very good at learning languages by themselves, without teachers. This talent is often attributed to a special quality, but truthfully all it comes down to is one specific quality – self-discipline. Learning new languages solo with zero knowledge takes a lot of time and dedication.
If you’re doing so by yourself, you need to be extremely motivated to learn that language or be well-disciplined. Unfortunately, most people without proper motivation or goal-setting capabilities find learning languages difficult and often give up after several days or weeks. There is, however, another simple solution to lacking motivation: systematic learning.
If you create a plan for your language learning, all you need to do is follow its simple steps, day by day, week by week, and so on. Asking yourself, “Do I feel like learning today?” over and over again won’t be an issue. Anyone can be a polyglot if they find the right learning methods and create a realistic learning plan.
Develop a routine
You can start by setting a specific time each day to start your language learning session. Such “sessions” don’t even have to be full-on textbook-at-the-ready study periods all the time. Vary your language learning activity per day but try regularizing the time of your learning sessions.
Such activities can be as cunningly simple as reading a chapter of a novel that you’ve previously read in English in your target language. Additionally, please do note that it is best to learn new languages one by one, not simultaneously.
Confidently think in ideas, not words
Don’t focus too much on vocabulary or verb tenses just yet. Some people have discovered that they can learn a language quicker if they focus on ideas they want to convey in their target language instead of words they want to say in their target language.
For example, during a trip to the Philippines, you would definitely want to ask where the best beaches are or what food to eat. Don’t hesitate to express yourself in your target language, no matter how “simple” you sound.
You don’t have to be so technical or worried about what foreign words you have in your vocabulary. Confidence is key, so you won’t have to feel the need to avail of professional English to Filipino language translation in the Philippines.
Practice “surround sound” learning. Make sure to bombard your senses and surround yourself with all things related to your target language and their related culture. Watch films and TV shows in your target language. Listen to music and podcasts in your target language.
You can even use an app that can help you browse the Internet in your target language of choice. Also, practicing speaking and communicating in your target language every day is a must. Getting a buddy to talk to regarding your language learning journey will also help you in your immersive language learning experience.
The four pillars of learning a language are having a system, quantity, frequency, and fun. Learning anything will never be easy unless you have fun with it! Make a language quiz game with your friends using flashcards. Try language learning with Netflix. Watch your favorite English-language show dubbed in Spanish, for example.
Act out scenes from your favorite film or TV show in the target language of your choice. Fun, creative activities will hook you in and help with memory retention. Don’t take your language learning journey too seriously.
Never compare yourself with others
Keep in mind that there is no one great method to language learning. Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. As some polyglots say, “language learning is a marathon, not a sprint.” Moreover, different languages can require different levels of research and study.
Languages can be learned, yes. But to fully master languages like a polyglot, one needs discipline, structure, and the willpower to persevere through all types of typical challenges when learning something for the first time. Remember, to become something, you must first become nothing. So never be afraid to make mistakes.
Instead, just enjoy the process of learning languages and have a good, consistent system in place for your learning, and you’ll become a polyglot before you know it!