The Internet Polyglot Phenomenon

Posted on | December 15, 2012 | 5 Comments

There are the polyglots who speak multiple languages. There are the language learners who try to become them. Then there are those who just love watching people talking about language learning.

There is nothing inherently wrong about people making videos on the Internet speaking multiple languages trying to help and motivate other language learners. What I observe in reality is that people, including my past-self, tend to indulge in watching these individuals, and we would be doing nothing but to watch them and talk about them online, engaging in those never-ending discussions on “what is the best way to learn languages” and  “who speaks how many languages fluently”.

In recent months, the Internet polyglots like to get together and conduct lengthy interviews and discussions together on language learning. A typical conclusion that comes out of these discussions would be: “There is just no best way. Follow your intuition and pick the best approach that suits you.” Now, thanks for the advice!

Pause for a moment and ask yourself how much time you have spent on watching and listening to all these multilingual medleys of monologues, dialogues, interviews, discussions, and hangouts. How about the time you have spent on ‘discussing’ language learning in the forums? Compare this with the amount of time you have actually spent on working on the languages. Now can you see why you are making slow progress?

Do you just want to talk about learning languages, or are you willing to put in some real effort to learn them?


5 Responses to “The Internet Polyglot Phenomenon”

  1. Paul
    December 18th, 2012 @ 8:03 am


    That’s very good point. I spend probably more time learning how to learn, than actually learning.

  2. Alicia
    June 2nd, 2013 @ 12:23 am

    Have you heard of Timothy Doner? He’s a teenager polyglot who can speak 23 language so far. I say so far since I’m sure he’s learning more languages. He’s such an inspiration. I can only speak 3, but I want to learn more.

  3. Zach C.
    September 8th, 2013 @ 3:53 am

    I’ve found myself doing the exact same thing. Not just in language learning but other things I’ve wanted to learn or do. I guess it’s a natural thing to want to keep learning. At least for me.

    If only we spent all that time into actually learning the language(s). We would all be hyperpolyglots by now!


  4. Petra
    November 8th, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

    Very good point, some people should stop wasting time and start learning more efficiently.

  5. Hayley
    March 17th, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

    I totally agree with these points! There’s a definite line that divides the doers and the dreamers. I learned early on that the more time you waste “learning” is time that can be better spent learning by DOING.

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