Alex Rawlings was born in London 32 years ago. He grew up in one of the most multicultural and multilingual cities in the world. When he left home in his childhood, he heard fifty different languages. At his school, almost all of his classmates had at least one parent from another country. According to him, his father was born in the North of England, but his mother was of Greek descent.
“I remember when my mother tried to teach me the language I had learned from my grandmother as a child, I always responded in English. I didn’t speak a word of Greek until I was eight years old, which worried my mother a lot,” Rawlings recalled in an interview. Infobay.
Then, her mother had an idea: move to the Greek city where her family grew up. For the first time, Alex met people who did not understand English. It forced him to make an extra effort to speak the language he had been absorbing for eight years but had always avoided.
In the summer, he started speaking in tongues. When he returned to England to start the new school year, his mother told him that he could not stop speaking Greek all the time and everywhere. He didn’t just absorb Greece during that trip. Being an international tourist destination, it had contact with German, Italian, French and Dutch. At that moment he unconsciously fell in love with languages.
“Languages are not just a game that my mother likes to play with me, but I understand that they are a way to communicate with people around the world and to escape the limitations of our mother tongue and the place where we were born. Put on us.. “So I decided to try to learn all the languages in the world to break down barriers and boundaries and find people who share interests, passions and friendships, even if language separates us.”
Alex is part of a select group: hyperglots, people who speak more than ten languages.. In his case, he passes 16: in addition to his native English, he speaks Greek, German, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Dutch, French, Afrikaans, Portuguese, Italian, Serbian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Yiddish and Zulu.
– How does your head work? Don’t you sometimes feel on the edge of collapse with so much information inside?
-(Laughs) If I feel like I’m on the verge of collapse, I don’t think it’s because of the languages I speak. On the contrary, sometimes I think that speaking multiple languages will save me. See, one thing I’ve noticed in the many languages I’ve learned is that the process becomes easier and easier for me, as I begin to perceive linguistic patterns and commonalities – whether they’re true or not – and help me remember and retain information. New. Learning languages that are not part of your culture helps you see the world differently. It helps to think more flexibly and creatively.
-My mother tongue -English- is a very difficult language when it comes to syntax and grammar. You can’t play with word order as much as in Slavic languages like Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, or Russian or Serbian. English has a large vocabulary that allows you to describe and express many emotions, but always in the same way and in the same order. I feel it when I speak English. I feel very limited in the ways I can express myself. On the other hand, being able to play and rearrange words in a sentence with more freedom in languages like Spanish or Greek, I feel I have more expressive freedom. And that’s noticeable in the cultures of those linguistic communities as well, isn’t it?
– Do we look like we talk?
-I think a lot of philosophy is encoded in the linguistic constructs that every language has. For example, emotion in English is something that comes from someone saying, “I’m too lazy to do that today.” But in that expression English gives a responsibility to your emotions. you are lazy On the other hand, in Spanish you would say: “I’m too lazy to do that today.” Laziness does not come from you, but from the world, so you are not so much to blame for the emotions you feel. In Greek, I would say it very differently. You’ll say ‘βαριέμαι’, which means the thought of doing it ‘bores’ you, and free yourself from guilt for not doing it.
Estela Gled is a reference to multilingualism in Argentina. For more than 50 years he devoted himself to language teaching and directed the Department of Modern Languages at UPA. Today he is a consulting professor in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters and believes there are no secrets to learning a foreign language. It takes time and energy.
“The time depends on the person, the desire or the intention that motivates them to learn and the place where they learn. If you study in a country and learn its social communication language (example: an Argentine speaker studies English in England or Australia), you study English in an educational institution in Argentina. “You’ll reach your goals sooner,” explained Klett. Conversation with Infobay.
According to expert, At least 300 hours of classes at an institution to become fluent in a language that is not your own. Age, motivation, training and frequent reading are factors that stabilize learning.
“The most effective way to learn a language is through sustained contact with the language studied. Textbooks that follow the guidelines of a communicative and functional approach to foreign languages are effective in the hands of a determined teacher and students who are eager to learn,” he noted.
Alex Rawlings works as a freelance journalist and is also a writer and filmmaker. In 2012 he was recognized as the “Most Multilingual Student in the United Kingdom”. As a hyperglot, he invented and applied a learning method — which he describes in his book “Fluency in Any Language” — that promises mastery of a language in three months.
According to him, there are three key points that affect success in language learning. First, motivation. “Why do I want to learn a language” should be. Second, resources. Third, time.
“To someone who doesn’t know me, the list of languages I speak may seem very random, but the truth is that behind every language I’ve managed to learn, there’s a story hidden. There’s a friendship, there’s a trip, there’s a writer or a film director I love, or I’m working in the country. did or lived. Then, you have to look at what resources you have at your disposal. We see a huge inequality in the language market here, as some have many resources (like major European and Asian languages), but others don’t like minority or indigenous languages like South African languages. These days The Africa I saw,” he noted.
Although the most important thing about his method is timing. Or, rather, in the distribution of time. Rawlings recommends setting aside an hour a day to study a language Seven days a week, five or at least three days in the first quarter of learning. He distributes those hours of study into three blocks: 15 minutes in the morning, then half an hour after lunch, and finally, another 15 minutes at night. He believes that repetition and consistency, in a truly impossible project, are the keys to success. At least its success.
He 15/30/15 times, he says, doesn’t feel like a burden to trainees. The first 15 minutes are recommended to review the previous day’s content as the brain is active in the morning. The longest session, a 30-minute session, aims to develop new words, new grammar structures and pronunciation. The last 15-minute session was also aimed at reviewing the afternoon’s learnings. Emphasis on review is establishing concepts and having a sense of progress. According to his theory, breaks help the brain absorb information unconsciously.
-Following that model, how long should it take to become fluent in a new language?
– There is no simple answer here. In principle, I would recommend continuing for three months, but each person learns different languages, something that is not well reflected in a school setting. Many people get disillusioned with classrooms and never commit to learning a foreign language again. The only way to overcome it is to keep an open mind and try again and see what works for you and what doesn’t.
– Can you finish learning a language in no time?
– The truth that all of us who dedicate ourselves to learning languages know is that the learning process never ends. There is always more to learn. You will always make some mistakes. Some words will always escape you. The secret is to enjoy the process, not just the result. But, from the beginning, speak your chosen language as much as you can, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, and then you’ll see how you improve and gain more confidence.
Language can be the most difficult barrier to overcome when meeting a person or exploring a country’s history or approaching a culture. Rawlings defines multilingualism as a passport that opens doors in the great metropolises and most remote cities of the world.
“I can’t imagine my life without speaking multiple languages. Learning languages is a passport that gives you access to places you wouldn’t normally be. If I didn’t speak a language, I think I’d still be in London, staring out the window at the rain, wondering how to pay the mortgage. All my friends will be in English,” he warned.
The British journalist lived in seven countries during his youth: United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Spain and South Africa. He traveled a lot for pleasure and work, being invited to conferences or giving workshops in Argentina and Brazil, like the one he gave during his first visit to Latin America.
“Through languages, I learned that there are many ways to live your life and that there are many things worth achieving than just plodding along in a career you’re not really passionate about,” she reflected. “We only get one life. I believe that in completing mine, I was able to get to know the world, see its corners, understand its beauties and its uniqueness. But the most important thing was that I was able to communicate with people in their language without forcing anyone to speak to me in my language.
“Introvert. Thinker. Problem solver. Evil beer specialist. Prone to fits of apathy. Social media expert. Award-winning food fanatic.”