In its simplest form, a polyglot is someone who can speak several languages. They exist in all places across the world and in some cultures, it is a norm to understand and speak multiple languages. A standard polyglot speaks up to four different languages.
Many of us are born into speaking only one language. When we see a polyglot, we often think they are special and belong to a rare race. But that is not always the case. Although some are naturally skilled in mastering languages quickly, some learn the art mastering language on their own.
In the modern world, boundaries are considered to be a thing of the past. Globalization is the newest trend and polyglots are leading the way. With the internet making it easier for people to cross boundaries and learn about a lot of things from different countries like their culture and way of life, the urge to learn the language they speak becomes more interesting.
If you are not naturally skilled in mastering different languages, here are some tips to help you;
1. Make Reading The Same Book in Multiple Languages a Habit
This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your reading skills in multiple languages. Rather than read a variety of books in a variety of languages, think of one book or book series you were quite familiar with growing up. This may be one you’ve already read several times in the past or one that was a staple to your childhood. There are some books that you can purchase with English on odd pages and a second language on even pages. That allows you to translate both languages line-by-line and easily decipher how sentences and grammar are structured. Alternatively, you could read a page in your target language and simply refer to the English side when you want to double-check your comprehension from time to time.
2. Be Ready To Be Very Stupid During the Learning Process
When you learn any language for the first time, you have to feel like a child who can’t communicate fully in the early stages and this can be very frustrating. Now imagine finally reaching fluency and being so proud of yourself after all your hard work… and then suddenly being right back at square one again when you start the next language. It could be quite frustrating.
As you continue to learn the languages, don’t expect people to be giving you any medals. Even if you were to speak dozens of languages, it isn’t that impressive to listeners as you stumble your way through the latest one. This challenge is what makes it all the more fun!
3. Learning Similar Languages is The Best Way to go
The order in which you learn the languages of choice makes it easier for you. You will help yourself better by learning languages that belong to the same family. For example, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish are Latin languages. Learning them one after the other would reduce your workload.
By focusing on the same language family, it means you will have a huge amount of grammar and vocabulary already learned if you go to another language in the same family. Languages within a family are very different and unique, but it is “easier” to learn several of them and this is a “shortcut” that experts polyglots like have employed. But be sure to learn them one after the other. There should be no rushing to the next language if you don’t have a firm grasp of the previous one.
4. Work With a Language Coach
Learning multiple languages can easily become overwhelming and scary for someone going at it alone. Getting a coach is an effective way to develop strategies to manage your time and amp up your productivity. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see what exactly is keeping us from maximizing our true potential. A language coach is trained to help you see what you’re not seeing and ask you some thought-provoking questions to reflect on. Specifically, a language coach can help you process where you’re getting stuck and brainstorm ways to overcome any internal or external barriers to your learning.
There is no single go-to formula for how to become a polyglot. When working with a language coach, you can create solutions that are tailor-made to your values and needs. Coaching can help you awaken your inner genius and discover ways to master your time and energy. Plus, it helps to have someone who can hold you accountable and motivate you every step of the way!
Now, there are some benefits attached to being a polyglot. Here are some of them;
1. It Aids Business Owners in Expanding Their Businesses
These days, the internet has become the hub of businesses and access to global customers is reachable. To be able to communicate with customers who speak different languages, you must learn their language, too. Finding contractors and suppliers from a different country where costs are less expensive will also be easier if you speak their language.
There will be less miscommunication if you both speak the same language so you can establish a better working relationship. This is where the knowledge and use of an additional language is very helpful in business expansion. The more language you know, the more customers and potential business partners you can communicate with.
2. It Opens Doors of Different Job Opportunities
For some people, finding a job can be difficult. Not because they are lacking in experience or educational background, but because there are just no more job opportunities in their home countries. If you speak a different language other than your dialect, finding a job would not limit you to your home country.
Learning other languages can open up many job opportunities for you in other countries. The world will be your hunting ground to find that dream job. Your chances for better job opportunities increase because you now have no limit to where you can look for a job. Not to mention that speaking more than one language is a skill highly valued by employers.
3. Good Brain Exercise
The brain, like our body, needs a consistent and good exercise. For the brain, learning a new language is like a good exercise. It has a lot of benefits for your brain and it’s functions like improved multitasking capabilities, longer attention span and it can even delay the onset of dementia.
Cognitive abilities in areas like reading and verbal fluency also improve significantly. You can reap all these benefits no matter what age you start learning a new language so, and there is no age limit to start learning a new language. The more languages you learn, the more exercise and benefits your brain will have.
There is no downside to being a polyglot or to learning a new language or languages. And with the continued globalization of the world, it is always beneficial to think ahead and be on top of it all. If you want to explore the world, learning new languages will help you immeasurably in achieving that goal.