Free language learning mini series – Episode 5 – Love, friendship, languages..and the book
Language Learning Series, Episode 5
David: How are you doing today Luca?
Luca: I’m doing great David, thanks. Thanks for the question.
David: You know something I find interesting? I think that a lot of people that see your internet presence think that you’re this super serious guy, you know. But I want to share with everyone that Luca is not serious at all. Whenever I speak with him I don’t think that we ever have serious conversation except for when we have the mic on. Isn’t that right Luca?
Luca: Well, we did talk about the meaning of life and other things, right, so…
David: I’m not sure about that one.
Luca: I don’t want my audience to think I’m not serious. I mean I’m very serious but, you know you can be serious and at the same time you can enjoy life, you know, throw in jokes and enjoy experiences. And that’s exactly what happened with you and me. You remember that, you know, you see somebody in YouTube and you say “well, he’s a language nerd. He’s just hitting the books all the time,” well, I don’t just hit the books. I hit something else. Like, for example…
David: Okay, let’s keep it going, let’s keep it going.
Luca: Oh, my gosh, No, I hit something else like, for example, I let life hit me in a good sense and I hit life in a good sense, meaning that I try to enjoy life in all its aspects. So, you know, talking about books, I think that books are just, they’re important obviously ‘cause I like reading. I love reading actually. But I think that life in general, you know, the Latins, the Romans used to say that you “non in scholae, sed in vitae discimus,” which means that we don’t learn just in school, we learn in life. That’s exactly what happens, especially as far as language learning is concerned. So, when people think, for example, that you know, were you surprised, for example, when you got to know me? I have a question for you now.
David: Yeah, I think I was. I expected this big language nerd, to be honest, that was not very social and…no I’m joking, I’m joking. I was bit surprised because you’re someone who is so talkative, so relax, you know, have so much fun and jokes. I guess to be honest with you I didn’t know what to expect exactly when we first met in London. But, yeah yeah yeah, I think that the image that we have of people on, let’s say the internet or just people that we see through some sort of media, is often just one side and we have to remember that you’re on the internet giving language advice. It’s not about sharing your life necessarily.
Luca: Yes, that’s absolutely true, but the thing is that, as I’ve said before, the reason why I make YouTube videos is mainly about language learning, but the thing is that I’m interested in so many other things. That’s probably the reason why I improved my languages so much. Actually, I improved my languages indirectly, meaning that I don’t just use language learning material. Actually, if you take a look at my library you will find out that the books that strictly have to do with languages are just a few and the rest are just books about history, philosophy, you know, and everything else. So, I think that by hitting the books and, you know, trying to tackle and to learn from other fields, I learned all the things that I know now. Obviously, not just with books, as I said before, people are also important. I’m a very curious person. So, I think that each and every one of us, even bad people, or people that are considered bad for their strange behavior, they have something to teach us. So, every single time I meet somebody, I make sure that I try to get something out of them, even if it’s a negative experience and I think that this actually paid off in the long run.
David: Absolutely, well, as we know that you’ve been really successful with your language learning, so, I think that this would be the…important for us to talk about some of the things that you are going to be writing about in your book. Because I’m sure that you mention in your book that you use the world and learning as a tool to actually learn language as well. And so, I know that there are lots of people that who have been waiting for this book for a long time. And I know that it has been delayed a few times and, I guess the first question that is important for us to address is “why has it been delayed a number of times?” Let the fans know Luca.
Luca: That’s a very good question. Now, to be totally frank, and tell the truth, the reason why is that in the course of time, especially in the last two years, I am working more and more in this language coaching thing. Meaning that I have more and more students. More and more people contact me. And the truth is that I really love working and have been, you know, I started traveling more and more. I do have the draft of the book, meaning that…I think I wrote three quarters of it, but the more I talk to people, the more I live, the more I realize how many other things I was missing. And I was thinking “maybe I should wait a little bit more, to add something else and to give a more thorough framework of what it really means to be a polyglot, what it really means to speak a language. And, you know, so on the one hand I’m working more and more, and traveling more and more, and meeting more people. And on the other hand, I think that I really do care about my audience and the people who read a book, and I really want to provide something unique. it’s not just about, okay “get hold of this book, do this, do that,” it’s more about…it’s not only about language material, it’s more about life. It’s about how you can conceive a polyglot lifestyle or just a multilingual lifestyle. And I think that is actually a more important factor than just knowing how to read, how to use books in general. Because I think that in the end, when I I think of it, the reason why I’ve become the person I’ve become now is not just because I’ve learned how to use books and absorb knowledge and the know-how, the so-called “know-how,” from them. It’s more about my way of living in general with people in this global world that has changed dramatically the way I not only, as I’ve said before, absorb languages, but maintain languages. Because people talk about, for example, “what is the best way,” “what is quickest way to learn a language,” but the problem is that once you learn a language, and then you have another one, and you have two, three, four under your belt, the problem is to maintain them and live with them. And that is…that’s the second part of the book, but it’s a very very important part. So, at the beginning, I was more concentrated and focussed on delivering a good product or a good book, something that people can use, they can use guidelines, etc. But I do think in the end when it comes to language learning and language speaking, and living with languages, I think the most important factor is actually the way you live, the way you embrace the world that counts the most. And I want to prove, even if it might sound preposterous, I want to prove that we all learn languages, even, you know foreign languages, in the same way. Even, if we don’t know that. You know, you think, “oh everybody learns differently, everybody’s got different tastes.” If you think of it, each and every one of us, we speak our own language natively, that is our native language. We all have gone though, more or less, the same process. And I want to show that you can do exactly the same with a foreign language. It might sound a little bit strange. Maybe some linguist will say “oh my God, what are you saying?” But I will try to prove these points one by one logically.
David: Okay, so, if possible would you be able to sort of tell us what this book contains, you know? What are some of the things that the listeners can expect from it? Just sort of let them know what it is that they’re going to be getting.
Luca: Well, first of all, I would to, first and foremost, I would like to, as I said before, to prove that there is no, you know, one-fits-all method. Meaning that there is no “the best method” that people are looking for. And I want to prove that there are some sound basic principles that, if you abide by these principles, then no matter what method you use, you are going to be successful. This is the very first thing that I want to address. And then I wanted to show that how people can use technology to make the best out of their language learning, because technology can be a huge advantage but it is also a disadvantage for a few reasons. I was looking for, for example, a couple of days ago I was just looking at the relationship between the attention span and concentration and technology. I just happened to figure out that even if it was in the back of my mind, but I just needed evident proof of that…that in one century ago our attention span was much better because we just had books and we didn’t have any distractions. Well, here the problem is that people will get distracted very easily. When you try to, for example, you start watching a YouTube video, David, has it every happened to you that after a couple of minutes that you wanted to click on something else?
David: Absolutely, all the time. I go into the hopping also.
Luca: That’s called the internet hopping and that’s a huge problem you know. So, people, they have to learn how to use technology because they think that, you know, internet is a treasure trove but it’s a huge land where you can get lost if you don’t know exactly how to use it and where to go. So, I think that the more we, you know, the more we advance, a language teacher or someone who talks about language learning should actually tell people, I think this is THE most valuable piece of advice, how to use the internet, how to stay concentrated, how to make the best out of technology because technology really can be our best friend if you know how to use it. So, on one hand you have, you know, I want to prove that there is no specific method that is better than another. There are…there’s a range of very good methods, efficient methods one can pick up from, but you have to learn how to pick up from, to choose from methods. I want to show that, you know, language learning is a personal road. So, you have to figure out what is best for you. It might sound trite, it might sound trivial but that’s exactly what it is. And the problem is that people don’t know how what the best is for them.
David: Okay, I hear the passion in your voice there as you let the words roll off the tip of your tongue. And, so I guess what I want to address next is sort of what the process has been like for you. You know, we’ve spoken a bit about why the book has been unfortunately delayed and then we’ve spoken a bit about what people can expect in it. And I’m interested, sorry I’m being a bit selfish here what’s the process been like? Has it been difficult? You know, how are you getting your information? What is the source that is inspiring you?
Luca: The main source is my life. I just forgot to mention that, you know, that we discussed the first part of the book, meaning I told you about, you know, I want to prove that there is no one best method, etc., etc. But, the second part of the book hinges upon basically my life and my experience. And it was not that difficult to write that part because I was just letting my…I was naked, meaning I was showing what my life is to show that you can do the same. So, it was not…the part of writing it down is not complicated in itself because, you know, I have so much passion. Language learning, I get carried away when I talk about language learning and that happened when I wrote the book as well. You know, this idea of sharing my thoughts, my experience with other people is exhilarating. So, it didn’t take that much time. The problem is the requirement thing and also the requirement editing, and then you know to get feedback from other people. And then you have to decide, what language…I’m writing it in English but do you want it to be in other languages as well. Then, you want it to be read out loud. There are so many things, you know, that some people get back to you with feedback. Then, you have to think “is that feedback good?” “Is that feeback, you know, not that good?” They have to change it. You know, the process in itself, the process of writing it down is not the problem. It’s what comes after that it takes a long time. It takes a lot of energy. We always talk about time, but I think one other problem is the energy that you invest in this kind of project and sometimes I feel a little bit overwhelmed especially when I have like ten students a day. And then at the end of the day I have to work on the book or I HAD to work on the book and that kind of takes a lot of energy.
David: Okay, now, I have a very big question now for you Luca.
Luca: Oh my God, I’m scared.
David: When will this book be available?
Luca: That’s a good question. Now, I don’t want to make any false claims or promises because this is quite an important point. I can tell you with with a certain degree of, you know, certainty that the book will come out by the end of 2014. I don’t know….
David: Whoa, whoa…hold on, wait wait wait. Let’s slow down, let’s slow down. I think that my heart just sank when I heard that. So are you saying then that I can expect it, umm…you know I’m on the side of the listener here. I’m a public servant. So, what I’m thinking now is when you say that it will come out by the end of 2014, what, at the point of recording this we’re at the beginning of 2014, so are we expecting this before summer? After summer….?
Luca: (Laughter…) Well…
David: It’s serious matter Luca! (laughter…) This is a serious matter.
Luca: This is a serious matter. Well, I truly hope that it will come out by the end of the summer and not, by the end of 2014.
David: Okay! Fantastic! And that really does answer the question, and I have a question for you Luca. Are you planning on recording an audio book by any chance?
Luca: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that I wanted to address, because as you know I like pronunciation, intonation, is the fact that the book has to be audio as well. First because, you know, I think it’s more interesting. I might read it myself in Italian, the Italian version. I will let somebody else read the English version, etc., maybe American English in English. But I think to read it would be great. It’s a plus because, you know, I think that books are great when you read them but they also live in your head if you listen to them and especially because there are some chapters that can be explained just by talking, you know. It’s just about something that you read, you know, sounds live in your head and I think that it definitely has to be an audio book as well.
David: Okay, so the next thing that we’re going to be talking about in relation to the book that Mr. Lampariello’s writing, is that you’ve mentioned that the second part of the book is all about your life. And I want to say that I think your life is really interesting. I remember when I came to Rome and I remember sitting at a table with you and just asking you question after question after question and you had all these interesting stories and it’s exciting that these stories are going to make their…they’re gong to make their way into the book. I thought it would be interesting for us to maybe share some of these stories that you have in your…in your journey as a language learner. And I know that’s something that a lot of people, you know, think about if not daydream about, even if they don’t want to admit it out loud, and that is the possibility of encountering romance through a different language, for example. I know that you speak French and Spanish, you know, like romantic languages, so I’m curious, you know. And I also know that you went to Barcelona for your Erasmus, and I’m in Barcelona right now and I know there are beautiful girls everywhere. And I’m curious, tell me a story about some romance that you have found through languages. And I’m thinking of a particular story here and if I can you know, lead you. I remember you telling me about letters you used to write in Spanish and you know how you didn’t forget some things ever because of a certain message that a certain lady was telling you. Does that make…does that ring a bell Luca?
Luca: Yeah, it does ring a bell. Well, there are a lot of stories to tell because all sorts of things happen when you speak a language and when you speak a language well it, and when I say it opens…it opens all doors in everything in life. I recall, I remember two episodes in particular. The first one was in 2004. I was with my cousin Giorgio. We were in Berlin, and I remember that I was in a bar, and we were sitting on a couch. In front of us there were two girls, who were sitting just maybe two meters from us. And there was a girl who kept looking at me and I just turned to Giorgio and said “I think that girls is looking at me” or something. And then, we were actually with another friend, he was an American guy. We…he was not a friend, actually he was a guy we met in the hostel and this guy just went talking to this girl and I said “okay, that’s it, okay it’s over,” because the guy just starting talking to her instead of her friend. And then I just interject and say “can I talk to you as well?” and then all of a sudden it was kind of, you know these magical moments when turn of the story when all of a sudden you find yourself talking directly to her. And I talked directly to her in German. She said “Wie kannst du so gut Deutsch?” How can you speak German so well? That was like ten years ago. And that thing impressed her so much that we found ourselves on the couch, on the same couch where I was sitting with my cousin Giorgio.
David: Whoa, whoa…it’s getting warm…
Luca: And then we talked all night. I remember that we talked all night. We talked until five o’clock in the morning then we went out and I hugged her, ‘cause I didn’t want to do anything, I just hugged her and she kissed me. Then I came back to Rome and then we exchanged letters for, for a long time, and it was really romantic, you know. Then she came to Rome. So, the fact that I could…if I had spoken English with her it would not have been the same thing. Obviously English is a great language, it helps us to communicate with other people who don’t share…we have nothing like, for example, if we don’t have another language in common or I don’t speak their language, etc., English is great, but it’s not as great as when you speak to a person in their own language. It just “pierces their soul”, in a way. Something similar happened when I was in Rome. I got to know a girl, Spanish girl. She was there with a friend of hers because the Pope had just died. There were Catholic girls coming to Rome to, you know, to…there’s a lot people who come to Rome when the Pope dies. And they were talking. We were sitting on the square. You remember David when we were sitting on the square Santa Maria in Trastevere? In Rome people actually sit around squares, like they drink or they just have conversation and the weather is almost always lovely here, for example in February it’s like 25 degrees outside, so people tend to stay outside, and this is our way of living the Roman nights. And what happened is that she was talking to a guy and I heard them speak Spanish, and I just started talking for…I don’t remember exactly how we started talking but we did start talking. And the moment we started talking and they heard me speak Spanish they asked me all sorts of questions about how I had learned Spanish. And they got more and more interested in the way I learned the language and we were sharing things, we talking about Rome. You know, one beautiful thing that happens when you speak a language and you go around with a foreigner in your own city is that you see the city with their perspective. You share their way of seeing the city. So, you’re looking at your own city from a different point of view, which is amazing! You’re sharing stories, you’re sharing your own life, the life that you had in the city where you live, but in another kind of mindset and that helped a lot because she, I still remember that she told me in Spanish “me he fijado en ti” and I didn’t know this expression. “Fijarse en alguien” means “I realized that you were there.” And then, when she came back to Rome we kissed and it was very beautiful, you know. It was incredibly beautiful and I was very very happy. And this is one other story that I clearly remember because we’re exchanging a lot of emails, 2004, and letters, I learned a lot of expressions and feelings, and we were sharing dreams and stuff and it was really amazing and my Spanish, my Spanish at the time was good, then by talking to her and by sharing stories and dreams and experiences and even sadness as well as happiness, my Spanish took off because emotions are what really make us human in a way, and what makes our language learning take off because language learning is not just words, it’s not just a network. It’s a network that you embellish and you make it more alive with emotions.
David: Wow, fantastic! That’s really inspiring. So all you language learners out there hoping to find yourself some romance, Luca is saying that you can do it. Okay, so, something else that I think is very important and is something that we all experience as language learners, and that is the friendship, sort of the friendships that become accessible to us and the friends we’re able to make and the experiences we can share with people because after all the most popular reason to learn a language is to communicate with other people, right? And some people like to read, but most of us want to really speak to other people. And I’m curious, you know, can you maybe share us, give us some insights into the friendship that you have made throughout your history as a language learner.
Luca: Yes, of course. One other thing that really completes our language learning journey, so to say, makes it great, is friendship obviously. I still remember vividly when I was sitting around the same square where we were sitting David, without our friends, when we were there. And it was more or less the same spot and I remember I was sitting with my friends and all of a sudden on the square, especially when the weather is beautiful, there’s a lot of people. So up the stairs there were, I think there were three or four people, and all of a sudden I actually heard a very loud burp. I said “what is that?” and I just turned and said spontaneously “oh that’s one loud burp!” And she, it was a girl actually, so, and she told me “Oh are you American. Where do you come from? You come from Illinois?” I said “Nah I don’t come from Illinois. I come from Rome.” “Seriously, you’re kidding?” That was like her reaction and we started talking and actually what happened is that I made friends with one of my best best friends whose name is Garrett. Garrett from Philadelphia, calls it Philly, you know, Philly. This is just one example of when we go out we never know whom we’re going to bump into. Sometimes people just pass by that maybe they could be our lover. They could be our best friend. We don’t know that. So I believe that every…I try to get every chance I get to get to know people. And the thing is to take every chance I get to get to know people. That’s the reason why I turned and said “that’s one loud burp” because I knew that was some kind of ice breaker. It actually worked and what happened, the beautiful consequence of that is that I met my, one of my best friends ever. If I hadn’t said anything, if I just kept talking with my friends, that would not have happened. This happened quite a few times, where I met other people, or other very interesting people. I just got to know ‘em not just because I speak languages, but also because I say something that is some kind of ice breaker, and obviously in that sense, my accent or maybe my pronunciation does work because the reaction that I get is exhilarating, it’s always fantastic! You know, you get all these, you grab people’s attention immediately because they want to know what you to do that. Maybe you lived in the United States or maybe you lived in France or whatever. And they ask you questions about you and you have to be curious about people as well so. You get back to people and the you just say “well, can you give me your number? Can you give me your Facebook?” And then you just start seeing them and then, you know, friendship can thrive, and I think each and every one of us, I said that before, has something interesting to give us as well as to tell us. So, whether it is bad or good. I always try to, you know, to hang around with people who make me feel good and people who know a lot about life and know about things in general because they complete me and they make me better.
David: Okay, so what we are going to be doing now is answering some of the questions that have come in by email about Luca and his book. And so I’m not sure when you are going to be listening to this exactly, but what we did was we sent out a message, Luca sent out a message to all of you lovely ladies and gentlemen on the Polyglot Dream mailing list and we invited you to ask us some questions about what the book is actually going to contain. We picked some of the best questions. We can’t answer all of them unfortunately. I think there was more than 50 or 60 messages that came through. But I picked out a few. So, the first question comes from Dillon. I know Dillon, and Dillon wrote “Hey Luca. David tweeted me to let me know you guys were going to do this podcast. Very excited about the book and the podcast. One question I have is “Is anyone else involved in the book or is this strictly Luca Lampariello written? Obviously, I’m sure other polyglots have inspired certain ideas but I was just curious if anyone was helping you write it. Congratulations on all your success. I still remember the first time I saw a poor quality video of an Italian speaking eight languages. Time sure flies.” That was from Dillon. I think that was great. Yeah, so what do have to say to this Luca?
Luca: Well, I’m going to write the book, but I have to say that all of you, you included David, gave me ideas about how to refine it. For example, when I started writing the book a couple of years ago, and time does fly indeed, I think that, you know, on the one hand I’m happy that the book is coming out now because I think I have more knowledge and experience, especially in these last two years. And I think the book is going to be more thorough and I have to thank everybody because even if I am the person who is writing the book physically I think that the book is a result of each and every one of the people that I interacted with both on the internet and in real life. And I have to say that some polyglots inspire me and kind of changed my perspective on some issues but also the common person who’s not directly a polyglot, they always have really good advice. For example, if I make a video they always have something smart to say. Obviously on YouTube you have kind of everything, but, you know, I selected, a lot of times I selected, some very good comments or questions and I thought about it and then I think that, you know, the book is a result of that. The book is a result of human interaction. And so, to answer the question, I would say that the book has been written by everybody, not just me. I’m the one who’s executing and carrying out this thing, but I think that everything is in this book and, you know, polyglots too, in a way, they have indirectly helped me to write the book as well because I think that, you know, maybe two years ago was my perspective. I was thinking that this was the perfect way to learn a language, my way, the best way, and then I figured out that actually this is not true so I tried to integrate all the experiences and other people’s experiences, as well, into the book. And that’s why I have to thank everybody for helping me directly and indirectly.
David: Okay, so I have to dig a little deeper. Luca can you tell me maybe three people who have really influenced your view on language learning over the years? Three people, three people…
Luca: Just three!
David: Just three; top three, if I can say that.
Luca: Well, the first one maybe a lot of people would expect. That is Richard Simcott. For those who don’t know Richard Simcott, He is a really good friend of mine. First and foremost I would say that, obviously he’s a polyglot, he speaks a lot of languages, but first and foremost he has become a very very good friend of mine and his way of living has allowed me to understand a lot of the things about the real polyglot’s in the real world and why they can speak and maintain a lot of languages. A lot of people ask about speaking, learning a language, but actually maintaining a language is also an integral part of a polyglot’s life. So, I would say that Richard is an inspiring person and, indirectly, by observing how he acts, how he lives, how he interacts with people, he gave me a lot of ideas about what it really means to be a polyglot, to learn and maintain languages.
Another person who inspired me and helped me to integrate my language learning vision is also Steve Kaufman. Steve Kaufman is a Canadian guy. A lot of people know Steve Kaufman. I differ in many things but, fundamentally we, you know, you can take a lesson from what he does. For example, he’s been learning languages…he’s kind of different because he doesn’t have the way of a polyglot. He himself said that’s not his main activity, but even if he, you know, doesn’t breath languages like Richard, in a way he inspires a lot of people because he has sound advice. Some of the things he’s said, for example, I ponder them, I thought about them, then I, you know, drew a lesson from them. So, this is another person who helped me to integrate my vision of language learning.
And the third person is Amir Batkevic who is also a very good dear friend of mine. He is also a polyglot, a person who speaks a lot of languages. Pretty young, he’s like 22.., no 24, if I still remember his age correctly. And he inspired me because he has a way of seeing languages, a very positive way of seeing languages. He does what he likes, for example, he learned a lot of his languages and perfected them by listening to basically soccer interviews. So, He does what he likes and he learned so fast that we started to interact and to do a language exchange, his Russian for my Italian and then other languages. He is one of the people who contributed the most because by talking to him, like on Skype, simple conversations, I actually figured out how to learn faster just by having very simple conversations through Skype. So, on the one hand he’s an inspiring figure. Then I also met him. He’s a fantastic guy. He tends to laugh all the time, throwing jokes here and there. I met him in Russia. I also met him in Budapest for his polyglot conference. But, he’s another inspiring figure because even if he’s younger than me he has a lot to contribute. He’s extremely smart. I really drew the lesson that human interaction can do wonders when it comes to language learning even if he lives in Kazakhstan, which is a far country, and we have like this five hour time difference, but by just interacting with him once a week, my Russian skyrocketed. Compared with, if you consider that we didn’t spend that much time talking and speaking in Russian. Just once a week, forty-five minutes because it was an exchange. So, this is another inspiring figure that really helped me understand that it’s not just about the method that you use and in the so-called “self-learning” but it’s also about valuable human interaction with a friendly person who corrects you in a certain way and gives you incredible feedback. And this is the other lesson that I drew from this other person, from Amir.
David: Okay, so, great answer there. Three great inspirational people. Thank you Dillon for that question. So, Richard Simcott, we have Amir, and the other person was Steven Kaufman. It’s the Kaufman of lingq.
So, next question. The next message goes like this, “Thank you Luca. I have really been enjoying your miniseries with David and it is just full of golden nuggets on how to approach my language learning. So, thank you much for doing this and for the accompanying transcripts. (I’m happy you mentioned that, that’s been a lot of work.) I’m very keen to read your book when it’s published too. One thing I would be particularly keen to know is the extent to which you’re use mnemonics in your language learning and whether this is covered in any depth in your book. If so, do you adapt your techniques depending upon the languages and if so, do you give clues about these within the book?
Luca: Okay, so, to answer the question, yes obviously, but they’re not like specific methods that I use and that are detached from my way of learning languages. It’s all integrated and I’m going to show how I use space-time repetition, but it’s all integrated in the method that I use in so far as language learning is concerned. Theres a lot to say about memory techniques in general, but I want to show you that for the sake of absorbing languages and using them in the real world, you don’t have to use certain techniques like, for example, say the techniques that people use when they work as conference interpreters. For example, conference interpreters, they have to have a good working memory. They have to remember a speech and analyze it and debunk it. This is not the main goal. There are great techniques to learn how to remember numbers, how to remember words or faces. But this is not just about words. This is how you connect words and how you build a network. So, you build a network and then words fall into place and this is all part of memory technique. So, it’s an integrated way. It’s an holistic process where you use memory techniques without even knowing that. Obviously, I’m going to show why things work in a certain way and why they’re so effective, but I would say I’m going to briefly talk about memory techniques in general but, I’m going to show how these memory techniques are directly integrated into a way of working and how they turn out to be efficient in the long run as well as in the short run, if you use them in the right way, if you know how to integrate in your language learning path.
David: So now, I’m moving on to the next question and it starts like this, “Ciao Luca. First of all, I have to thank you for being such an inspiration and a big help for so many language learners. I only wish I would have had your videos already when I was in school. What I would like to know about your book is will it contain information about how to pick up a language again which you learned at school?”
Luca: So, actually I thought about it, then I thought that, you know, that it was not the first idea that came into my mind when I wanted to write the book, but I would say that this can be inserted in the “strictly for nerds” part. Actually, this is not a strictly…it doesn’t belong to the category…to the strictly for nerds category, which is going to be kind of funny. But, I would say that this is actually a question that I got asked quite often because as you know very well, David, because you told me about your frustration when you were learning German, I think at school, a lot of people try to learn a language at school fail and they were frustrated and they just jumped to the conclusion that it’s impossible to learn a language because if you can’t learn it in this kind of environment that’s supposed to help you learn, in general, then you can’t do it by yourself. And, I think I’ll include something: and you can obviously start again. I personally don’t like starting things again. Meaning that when I start doing something I just set up a date. I just say, well this is day X I’m gonna start doing it. But, obviously it can be inserted, it’s like started all over again. You got some big memories about something, but you can revive them or you can start all over again. So, this is a session that I can obviously include in the last part of the book or like in the appendix or in the specific session. This is how you, see David, the way the book is being shaped. Not only by me but by ideas thrown at me by my listeners.
David: Okay, fantastic. Okay, so, I’m going to be cheeky and throw in the last question here because we can’t get through all of the questions and we are a bit restricted by time. And, what I really want to know Luca is who is this book for? And, the reason I’m asking this is because, you know, there are all different types of language learners. We have those who are just getting started in languages who, you know, can’t say very much. We have intermediate learners, those who are familiar with some of the language learning techniques out there and they’ve achieved some success. And, we have, you know, more advanced learners who maybe have already learned one or two languages and they have figured out how they have learned, or at least they feel they have and maybe they’re looking for other ideas. So, you know, is there something in this for everyone or is it for a particular type of learner?
Luca: This is absolutely for everyone. I am trying to show the different phases of language learning in general so you can actually so “oh, I find myself there,” and “I can do that,” and my point is that I don’t want to talk about only my method obviously. I’m going to talk about my method. If somebody wants to use it, they find it great, that’s wonderful, because I always say that you have to do…you don’t have to tell people what to do. They want to do it their own way, but they also can take valuable advice. But, this is for everybody. I’m going to talk about some basic principles everybody has to stick to if they want to learn a language well, no matter method they use. This is quite important. And then, it’s for everybody because it’s not just a story about…it’s not just about my method, it’s about my way of living and how people can live in a certain way. And the first part of the book is going to be about basic principles, methods, how you can develop your skills in all the four areas of language learning, but it’s also a personal story. It’s also a story of a human being. The second part of the book is going to be my life. People ask me quite often, for example, how is it possible to maintain languages. This is one of the questions I got asked recently and in order to explain that the best way would be just to show a normal day of my life. Not a normal day…whether it is normal or not…it always involves languages in some way because it’s my way of living. When you can use languages, when you can get to the level where you can actually use languages, effortlessly, you don’t think about it, you just use them, then it’s more…it’s easier to maintain them. And, I want to show, I want to show that being a polyglot is more a way of living than having the perfect method that you yourself…you found that you think is perfect for you. It’s about developing your skills through things that you like doing and having an efficient method and that you like and abiding by certain cognitive principles. But then the second part I call the expansion after the so-called epiphany, like after something clicks in your brain, it’s all about the way you live. That’s what really counts in a polyglot’s life or a multilingual life. It’s how you live that makes a huge difference in the long run. And I want to show this through…by telling a couple of interesting stories or experiences that happened in my life.
David: So, that was a great answer Luca. I hope that if you were wondering if this book is going to be for you that we have cleared everything up today. And, it has been great. We’ve done five recordings for this miniseries and this is the last one and we’re coming to a close. And I just want to say a big thank you to all of you who signed up to the Polyglot Dream mailing list and who have been giving us feedback for all of this great content. It’s been really helpful in getting to know what language learners struggle with so we can help you achieve your goals as language learners. Thank you once more.
Luca: Thank you.