Lýdia Machová on giving a TED talk and learning languages
October 24, 2019 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Lýdia Machová talks about her experience doing a TED talk. And here's the TED talk in question, on learning languages.
posted by nangar (4 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Her secret is to make learning fun.

If watching fun foreign language media was all it took, we'd have millions of American teenagers with no Japanese heritage who speak fluent Japanese. This video really minimizes the consistent, time consuming work it takes to become and to stay fluent in multiple languages. And the fact that it varies by language. Picking up Harry Potter in Chinese is an entirely different situation from picking up Harry Potter in Spanish or Latin or another language that uses the Roman alphabet.

Thank you for posting this, though, nangar. I appreciate seeing language learning posts on the Blue.
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:00 PM on October 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

That's pretty impressive. Her talk makes it look easy, but then you learn how she had an impossibly short prep time, and then difficulties with the mic. She has the True Grit (and I'm guessing that is a big part of her ability to learn.)
posted by Bee'sWing at 2:57 PM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I find myself simultaneously quite happy to see someone distill what I spend a large chunk of my time at work doing into a short and engaging video and quite ticked off at the same time because it just ain't that simple.
posted by Gotanda at 1:04 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Of course it's an immense task to learn a language. That's part of her point - the people who stick with it are the ones who find it fun (or necessary). You do the hard work, because it's your hobby and you get fun/satisfaction from it.

Hang out on Polyglot forums online, and you'll find people discussing the hundreds of different courses and strategies and methods that various people use, trying to hyperoptimise their learning and cram as much progress into as short a time as possible. But when you get down to it, it's just a matter of practice, getting your hours in, and finding the ways that suit you to keep your motivation up so you can keep putting in more hours. The only magic bullet is time.

It's a bit of a running joke that the polyglot community are not experts in learning to speak many languages, but experts in learning to read Harry Potter/The Little Prince in many languages. After reaching a solid conversational level progress hits a plateau, and the hobby language learner (including myself) starts itching for a new, more motivating challenge... reaches B1-B2 level or so, and moves on to a shiny new language. Every 2 years sounds about right.
posted by Glier's Goetta at 8:44 AM on October 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

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