Discussion with Richard Simcott

Tomorrow I am having the first of my discussions with Richard Simcott, the excellent British polyglot, on youtube. I hope to discuss, in a few languages and over the next little while, ??some of the following points. This list is not complete and is based on requests that I have received.

  • Successful language learning, is it mostly a matter of talent?
  • What can a teacher do? What is most important in the role of a teacher?
  • How best to bring up bilingual or multilingual children.
  • How important is travel to language learning?
  • How many languages can we learn at one time?
Please let me know if there is anything special you would like us to discuss.

14 thoughts on “Discussion with Richard Simcott

  1. I would particularly interested to know what importance he places on depth and range of vocabulary and what specific work he does to achieve this. Vocabulary seems to be the ultimate challenge (at least for me), as it takes the longest to develop. Looking forward to the chat!

  2. Hello! I hope me and many people would be also very intrested to know what memorization methods/techniques you are using in your study in order to memorize new foreign words.That question worries me because it’s very hard to keep in your mind lots of words of several target languages (i learn 4 languages), it requires regulary to repeat old/new words, and sometimes i seem that maybe success of a language learning depends very much on aptitude/talent for memorization by nature. Perhaps I’m wrong.Thanks a lot!Warm Regards

  3. I’d love to hear about attrition: what happens with those languages that sit on the shelf in your brain for a while and get dusty, whether you think we really forget or whether knowledge just goes dormant, how to maintain or reawaken…any thoughts about this topic.

  4. Hola Steve. ??Podr??an hablar sobre lenguaje y cultura?, ??y, si efectivamente, aprender un idioma es aprender una manera distinta de ver el mundo? ??Por tanto si sabe 11 idiomas, entonces 11 maneras diferentes de percibir o entender el mundo?

  5. Learning grammar puts off many, especially adults. So, my friend I teach, nay facilitate, learning of conversational English through situational dialogues and also asking students to ‘ape’ us. For example, the word ‘do’ is introduced through a lesson ‘What all we can do with do’. I would like to know whether the way we are imparting is effective.

  6. Vocabulary came up in my discussion with Richard,which we should be uploading today, having resolved some technical difficulties.

  7. Attrition was also dealt with, Heather.Mois??s, tratar?? de hablar de la cultura en la pr??xima entrevista! Para mi no es una cuesti??n 11 maneras diferentes de percibir el mundo, sino de una percepci??n mas ancha, mas inclusiva, del mundo.

  8. Rajan N.S. Dialogues are great, as long as they engage the interest of the learners, in my view. I find that people learn better from examples than from theory or explanations.

  9. Hello steve! I think that talent is very important. Very often (almost always) talented people reply that they don’t have a talent. But I think that they do it because they just don’t want to look arrogant. Different people have different abilities, in my point of view the most important thing is a good memory. Good memory doesn’t mean some extra abilities like for example??? Daniel Tammet has. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIRo2HMWuiM&feature=relmfu Just brain of some people perceive and process information much more better than others. Actually "remembering" something is an unconscious process which just happen in our brain. The only thing which we can do to help our??? brain, is to repeat as much as we can. But some people need much more (or less) repetition to learn something. And it is not only about a languages, i noticed, that people who learn faster in languages, learn faster in any other fields. For example sport, or dancing.?????? ???? ?????????????? ???? ???????? ????????? ?????????????????? ???? ???????? ???????????????? ??????. ?????? ?????????? ???????? ?? ?????? ???????????? ????????????????????????? ???? ?????? ????????????????????. ???? ?????? ???? ?????????? ??????????????.

  10. There may be differences in talent, in people’s ability to learn languages. It is , for most people, leaving aside Daniel Tammet etc.,not an important factor compared to motivation and the time spent learning. Why do most Swedes speak a foreign language? Talent?

  11. Concerning Swedes, not only Swedes speak English well, but all Scandinavians. Yes, it is an interesting fact, and just recently i watched one Podcast, where this question was raised. And Swedes themselves answer that they are very small nation, and nobody will learn their language, so they have to learn foreign languages, primarily English of course. This is also true for the rest of Scandinavian countries. And it is obvious, that they don’t have any special gene, nation can’t have such a specific "special gene". But my point was, that despite the fact that language learning doesn’t need some very specific talent, nevertheless the variability in human abilities are very large. And the most significant advantage is a good memory. Good (or bad) memory is just a property of your brain. You can’t train memory, you can’t improve your memory. And if you can spend 1 hour a day, instead of 2 for learning language, and have the same result, in my opinion it is a big advantage.

  12. Concerning Swedes, not only Swedes speak English well, but all Scandinavians. Yes, it is an interesting fact, and just recently i watched one Podcast, where this question was raised. And Swedes themselves answer that they are very small nation, and nobody will learn their language, so they have to learn foreign languages, primarily English of course. This is also true for the rest of Scandinavian countries. And it is obvious, that they don’t have any special gene, nation can’t have such a specific "special gene". But my point was, that despite the fact that language learning doesn’t need some very specific talent, nevertheless the variability in human abilities are very large. And the most significant advantage is a good memory. Good (or bad) memory is just a property of your brain. You can’t train memory, you can’t improve your memory. And if you can spend 1 hour a day, instead of 2 for learning language, and have the same result, in my opinion it is a big advantage.

  13. Among my acquaintance here in Poland, general opinion is that people in Scandinavian countries speak such good English (specifically English; I don’t know about other languages) because TV programming from the US/UK is subtitled, not dubbed, and even children’s programs are broadcast in English above a certain age. If the TV consumption is anything like in other nations, that could amount to many hours of listening practice per week, without even going out of your way.I also assume social norms and expectations may play a certain role. If everyone does it, it’s just what you do; it doesn’t seem unusual to speak a second language well, but might rather seem unusual not to.And of course, English would be especially easy for Scandanavians, coming from the same language group. Again, I don’t know anything about how commonly other languages are learned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s