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Calling out the polygots

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重大雷雨
On 8/27/2019 at 11:13 PM, DavyJonesLocker said:

haircut**,

Ha ha, I remember my first haircut in BeiJing.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it got the job done.

 

On 8/27/2019 at 11:13 PM, DavyJonesLocker said:

Like as these other topics , I firmly believe practically no one passes HSK6 from scratch in one year

 

I do believe it is possible to do if you are learning the HSK test instead of the Chinese language (It would be a 16 hour a day effort from an IQ 130+ individual and would take some luck on the test or a few attempts at it).   I could pass some hsk practice tests when my level was much much lower than it is today (although back then I would still read newspapers etc. and considered myself to have a low level of fluency).

 

I have known more than a few people who did nothing but learn Chinese in China for 2 years and they didn't speak or read very good Chinese.  I still considered them fluent though.

 

 

On 8/28/2019 at 11:49 AM, Lu said:

Well nobody was claiming that, at least not in or after my post. I actually made a point of pointing out his skills were pretty limited per language, while he did speak an impressive array of them.

I come across this type of person often enough that I am not impressed at all, but just get really annoyed by the constant bullshit and big claims along with little ability and narcissistic obsession over the image they try to create for themselves.  I get even more annoyed when I see 2/3 of people are fooled by them.

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Moshen

Thanks to this thread, I spent two hours last night reading a couple of old threads on this forum regarding boastful polyglots. Fascinating stuff to me, especially to see the dynamics of how braggadocio got received here and how the main braggart fought back so ineffectively.

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zorgzikhnit

As a personal friend of people such as Richard Simcott, Tim Keeley, Ellen Jovin, Alex Rawlings, etc., I should mention that yes, perhaps there are those that inflate their ability but there are also many, many more who are legimately fluent in multiple languages, as made clear by their appearances on television in other countries (one of my friends is fluent in Kalmyk as a non-native and got featured in endless blogposts and on TV there as a result), university teaching posts, and prestigious translation / interpretation jobs (such as myself). 

 

Most of these polyglots have a core of languages to which they devote a lot of time and many other smaller ones which are not as strong. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. 

 

And as long as they encourage people to follow their dreams, who cares? There are two types of people, those who open doors and those who close doors. It is far better to always listen to door openers. 

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重大雷雨
8 hours ago, zorgzikhnit said:

Most of these polyglots have a core of languages to which they devote a lot of time and many other smaller ones which are not as strong. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. 

 

There is a tremendous amount wrong with it.  At best, it is dishonest and unethical.   It is an image game where they try to present themselves as experts accomplishing superhuman feats for fame and fortune.  They are simply fooling the majority of people who are too naive to question the promotional machines.

 

The only people who are legitimate spend 10 hours a day at language study... But, maybe if you buy the snake oil the others peddle, you could be a polyglot too!  All while living a normal life and having a job!  And if that is not your thing, you should at least worship the snake oil salesman.

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zorgzikhnit
5 minutes ago, 重大雷雨 said:

There is a tremendous amount wrong with it.  At best, it is dishonest and unethical.   It is an image game where they try to present themselves as experts accomplishing superhuman feats for fame and fortune.  They are simply fooling the majority of people who are too naive to question the promotional machines.

 

The only people who are legitimate spend 10 hours a day at language study... But, maybe if you buy the snake oil the others peddle, you could be a polyglot too!  All while living a normal life and having a job!  And if that is not your thing, you should at least worship the snake oil salesman.

 

There's an awful lot of mind-reading going on here in which you're trying to read into the motives of people you haven't met yet.

 

Some advice within the polyglot community is very good, in particular Olly Richards and Bartosz Czekala do excellent jobs (and they both have language certificates to prove it). Some others I personally have some issues with in terms of their methods put there are many ways to learn languages and it depends on exactly what you want. Steve Kaufmann I like in some respects but I think his e.g. Swedish could use some work but that's okay because he doesn't claim to be C1. 

 

The vast majority of people in the polyglot community are just explorers who learn for their own sake, not for any promise of financial reward or fame. And the community is extremely welcoming without a hint of bitterness in it (although sometimes a few trolls get in), despite the political disagreements (or perhaps because of them). 

 

You have this image of the polygot community of an organized scam team but most of them don't even touch YouTube at all and are primarily active on social media or keep to themselves.

 

Lastly there's confirmation bias at work where you simply filter out the existence of any highly successful polyglots at all or counterexamples that would disprove your image of the polyglot community being a horrible scam cabal, including some of the best-known ones out there (like the names I mentioned above). 

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DavyJonesLocker

For those polygots who do promote themselves or a product I can't understand what they don't take language exams, all within the same year. It's seems like a dead simple way of silencing the critics. 🤔

 

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Shelley
6 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

For those polygots who do promote themselves or a product I can't understand what they don't take language exams, all within the same year. It's seems like a dead simple way of silencing the critics. 🤔

 

 

You would think so, wouldn't you. Must be a reason why they don't. Wonder what that is?

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Moshen
Quote

Must be a reason why they don't. Wonder what that is?

 

At the risk of saying the obvious, I'd guess that they want to reserve to themselves the right to define what is fluency and what is mastery.  In the forum thread from years ago that I read the other night, it seemed that Benny Lewis wanted to define fluency as being able to get by in speaking a language - that is, to be understood.  This is a hugely low bar, as it doesn't include being able to understand native-language content through listening or reading, much less being able to write the language.

 

No reputable language-learning organization defines fluency or mastery in that way, so therefore they don't want to take any set exam.

 

There's also a personality dimension in this.  Introverts are more likely to define language mastery in terms of understanding what they hear and read, rather than being able to chitchat in the language... since chitchat is not something we enjoy even in our native language.  Benny Lewis is clearly a raging extrovert and isn't learning languages in order to be able to sit quietly with poetry or novels - or even movies - in the new language.

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Shelley

@Moshen Thanks for your reply but it was really more of rhetorical question, the answer being quite obvious in my opinion.

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zorgzikhnit
13 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

For those polygots who do promote themselves or a product I can't understand what they don't take language exams, all within the same year. It's seems like a dead simple way of silencing the critics. 🤔

 

In a sense you are completely correct. Mr. Czekala (mentioned above, you can visit his website at universeofmemory.com) not only has the certificates but actively trains others to acquire them as well. I believe he has gotten people from A0 German to B1 German over the course of half a year, certificate and all (given that he's a teacher). I know Richard Simcott, Ellen Jovin, Alex Rawlings and myself all have degrees from institutions that amount to the same.

 

But sometimes even when my skills are called into question (and I'm okay with that as long as it is done politely), sometimes it isn't done so politely and even when I bring evidence to the contrary in forms of my work experience / certificates / etc., what I get is vicious name-calling because while some skepticism is healthy, there is another type of skepticism that genuinely arises from jealousy and to pretend as though such doesn't exist is silly. 

 

But yes I do wish that there were slightly more verifiable proofs (I've evolved on this), although it isn't possible for all languages (e.g. indigenous languages of certain regions of the world or some Creoles). 

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重大雷雨
On 8/31/2019 at 11:14 AM, zorgzikhnit said:

In a sense you are completely correct. Mr. Czekala (mentioned above, you can visit his website at universeofmemory.com) not only has the certificates but actively trains others to acquire them as well. I believe he has gotten people from A0 German to B1 German over the course of half a year, certificate and all (given that he's a teacher). I know Richard Simcott, Ellen Jovin, Alex Rawlings and myself all have degrees from institutions that amount to the same.

 

But sometimes even when my skills are called into question (and I'm okay with that as long as it is done politely), sometimes it isn't done so politely and even when I bring evidence to the contrary in forms of my work experience / certificates / etc., what I get is vicious name-calling because while some skepticism is healthy, there is another type of skepticism that genuinely arises from jealousy and to pretend as though such doesn't exist is silly. 

 

But yes I do wish that there were slightly more verifiable proofs (I've evolved on this), although it isn't possible for all languages (e.g. indigenous languages of certain regions of the world or some Creoles). 

TLDR; "Ya'all jus jealus"

 

The people who take issue with the "polyglots"  most often are people who have actually attained a high level  of competency in one or more foreign language.    It's like saying a professional athlete is jealous of the  45 year old accountant "athlete" who is a "good golfer and a good tennis player and a good bowler and crossfitter and  a karate expert and runs real good too";  In reality, the professional athlete has no respect for the accountant who is going through a mid life crisis and desperately trying to convince people he is worth something by claiming he is a multi sport athlete (Of course this "athlete" also posts relentlessly on Instagram and will offer to charge you for coaching or "nutrition advice" any chance he gets).

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zorgzikhnit
48 minutes ago, 重大雷雨 said:

TLDR; "Ya'all jus jealus"

 

This is not what I said. To summarize the main points of what you quoted:

 

- There is an issue with people in the polyglot community not verifying their skills with certificatees. 

- But there are also others that do verify their skills (I mentioned names above).

- There is a good reason to be skeptical of polyglots who do not verify their skills or believe it isn't important.

- But if in the event that they do have the certificates, experience, etc., their experience and proficiency / fluency with the language should be regarded as legimiate.

- I myself have certificates in some of these languages.

- Sometimes when people call my skills into question, I bring up my certifications (sometimes even with scans) and instead of saying, "okay, you're right, I'm sorry", they say "you're still fake", and far worse. 

 

Also be careful with generalizing because I myself have seen the work of the language experts who focus on just one language (All Japanese All the Time, Matt vs. Japan, Luke Truman, Ari in Beijing [the last two are actually personal friends of mine]). Their attitude towards the polyglot community isn't "fake fake fake" the way you think but RATHER "I admire many polyglots for what they do, but part of me wishes that they would focus more on depth rather than breadth". Luke and Ari have actually interviewed many polyglots on their channels despite going on record that they would rather focus on quality over quantity. You make it want to seem as though anyone who speaks a language would automatically dismiss the polyglot community the way you do and this is demonstrably false, and I have spoken with hundreds if not thousands of language learners of all levels all over the world since 2014 and well before that. 

 

Now I'd like to pose a question for you. If I were to tell you that I have B2 / C1 in multiple languages (5-6), and have the certificates for such, would you believe me? Because I do, (I'll name the languages if you want) and if the credentials exist and you deny them, the metaphor you describe breaks down. Instead, you're closer to an anti-vaxxer or a climate change denier, someone who refuses to accept verifiable proof.

 

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suMMit

One thing i like about polyglots is that a lot of them strike me as risk takers. They inspire/encourage me (as someone who can be introverted) to get out and practice with native speakers. Otherwise I can easily have a tendency to spend too much time 'studying'

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Jon Long

Some polyglots are actually polyglots, like Steve Kaufmann. His Chinese is just as good as mine (I'm from China). He's bilingual in both English and French, and knows a impressive list of other languages to various degrees of fluency, mostly B2+. I met him in person last week at LangFest Montreal and heard his talk.

 

There are real polyglots around, that's for sure. Very few of them actually show up on YouTube though.

 

I myself speak Chinese (native), English (C2, IELTS 8.5), Korean (B2/C1), French (B1/B2), Japanese (A1), Russian (A1). I thought I was a "polyglot" until I met those real polyglots at these gatherings... T.T

 

The next Polyglot Conference is Fukuoka, Japan, which I'm going.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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重大雷雨
20 hours ago, zorgzikhnit said:

This is not what I said. To summarize the main points of what you quoted:

...That is what I am heard from you any way you phrase it.

 

How many C2 do you have?  In how many languages have you been paid for professional translation services?  All while living a normal life, having a normal job, friends and interests outside of language learning?

 

I am not naive enough to buy the bullshit.

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zorgzikhnit
10 minutes ago, 重大雷雨 said:

How many C2 do you have?  In how many languages have you been paid for professional translation services?  All while living a normal life, having a normal job, friends and interests outside of language learning?

 

I am not naive enough to buy the bullshit.

 

Native: English, Biblical Hebrew (that Yeshiva education did a real number on me X( ) 

C1: Certified in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian.

B2: Certified in Hebrew and Yiddish (but my Yiddish is likely higher than that now). 

Have also gotten paid translation jobs from Tok Pisin and Greenlandic to English in addition to all of the above listed, including for EU institutions. 

 

And language-related stuff, including teaching, is the bulk of my income-earning and I'm developing a game while I recover from some health issues. 

 

On 8/30/2019 at 11:34 PM, DavyJonesLocker said:

For those polygots who do promote themselves or a product I can't understand what they don't take language exams, all within the same year. It's seems like a dead simple way of silencing the critics. 🤔

 

Now let's see if it is a way of silencing the critics. I certainly hope so. 

12 hours ago, Jon Long said:

The next Polyglot Conference is Fukuoka, Japan, which I'm going.  I'll let you know how it goes.

 

Can't come but my friend Kevin (native Mandarin and Shanghaiese speaker) is presenting on the Uyghur language. Enjoy!

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Jon Long
33 minutes ago, zorgzikhnit said:

my friend Kevin (native Mandarin and Shanghaiese speaker) is presenting on the Uyghur language.

 

Yeah Kevin Sun... I met him at Bratislava and LangFest, he aced all the competitions.

Wow this Chinese forum is really well-built! This forum could be packaged and either sold or made available open-source and used for other topics.

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murrayjames
On 8/30/2019 at 9:15 PM, zorgzikhnit said:

As a personal friend of people such as Richard Simcott, Tim Keeley, Ellen Jovin, Alex Rawlings, etc., I should mention that yes, perhaps there are those that inflate their ability but there are also many, many more who are legimately fluent in multiple languages, as made clear by their appearances on television in other countries (one of my friends is fluent in Kalmyk as a non-native and got featured in endless blogposts and on TV there as a result), university teaching posts, and prestigious translation / interpretation jobs (such as myself). 

 

Most of these polyglots have a core of languages to which they devote a lot of time and many other smaller ones which are not as strong. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. 

 

My objection is not directed toward you and your personal polyglot friends. If you know many languages, that is indeed impressive. My objection is directed toward non-polyglots who baldly overinflate their abilities in multiple languages for professional gain, e.g., to hawk a subpar language-learning method.

 

On 8/30/2019 at 9:15 PM, zorgzikhnit said:

And as long as they encourage people to follow their dreams, who cares? There are two types of people, those who open doors and those who close doors. It is far better to always listen to door openers. 

 

Of course encouraging people to follow their dreams is a good thing, no one here is objecting to that.

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重大雷雨
On 9/2/2019 at 3:24 PM, zorgzikhnit said:

Native: English, Biblical Hebrew (that Yeshiva education did a real number on me X( ) 

C1: Certified in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian.

B2: Certified in Hebrew and Yiddish (but my Yiddish is likely higher than that now). 

Have also gotten paid translation jobs from Tok Pisin and Greenlandic to English in addition to all of the above listed, including for EU institutions. 

 

And language-related stuff, including teaching, is the bulk of my income-earning and I'm developing a game while I recover from some health issues. 

 

You have dedicated your life to language study and it looks like it will take you another 5 - 10  years before you are unquestionably a polyglot.  That is the dedication it takes.

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Jan Finster
On 9/2/2019 at 10:42 AM, Jon Long said:

There are real polyglots around, that's for sure. Very few of them actually show up on YouTube though.

 

This is definitely true. I know someone, who is a simultaneous translator for the EU. He speaks 15 languages. Of course he is not on Youtube. Why should he? 

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