Insights on Quick Language Learning Techniques

Can you imagine learning a foreign language in ten days? This short youtube video claims that the Pimsleur approach will do just that!

Richard Simcott is a hyperpolyglot and no stranger to language learning. He’s used many methods and learned languages in a variety of contexts. The video below expresses his thoughts on the matter by using videos from other polyglots on youtube as evidence:

Anthony is a British man who lives in Prague and speaks fluent Czech. His video, Become a Polyglot in Minutes not Years, includes some very well thought out observations about mastering languages, and just about anything else:

Take THAT Mr. Pimsleur! Get ready to give people their money back! Language mastery takes time, just like every other skill. Sorry folks. There’s just no getting around it.

I think the problem is one of semantics. What does it mean to speak a language? What does it mean to master a language? I have the Pimsleur Danish and the Pimsleur Swiss-German courses and I don’t speak either of those languages. I do, however, have a good idea about how they sound and how to put together basic phrases in an intelligible way. For some people, that’s speaking a language.

Some people are surprised when I say that I would like to spend some more time in Brazil to really polish up my Portuguese. I studied Portuguese in college and speak it, write it, read it and understand it quite fluently. To many, I’ve mastered it. I don’t know the word for spine though, as in the spine of a book. I just looked it up. It’s lombada.

I think that it’s safe to say that anyone promising mastery of a language in a short amount of time is exaggerating and probably trying to sell you something. I also think it’s safe to say that you can learn a language much faster than most of us have in school and that language learning is a worthwhile endeavor.