Updated: Aug 21, 2021
According to Wiktionary, a 'hyperpolyglot' is someone who speaks six or more languages fluently. Timothy Doner became an internet sensation when he was named 'the world's youngest hyperpolyglot' - he is no longer the youngest, but he can speak over 20 languages!
Although not many of us will ever need or want to learn more than a couple of foreign languages, we can take inspiration from the skill of people like Doner.
The truth is that nowadays, it is easier than ever to learn a new language; those of us who live in towns and cities can often find ourselves stepping into thriving ethnic communities while staying close to home. Think of Chinatown in New York City, or even that local Lebanese restaurant around the corner that's always full of people.
However, the internet is where we learn the most: with online language courses, a cornucopia of online content in different languages and millions of opportunities, you can be certain that the right combination of resources is available for you.
It might feel like there is just too much choice, so let me share five of my top tips for online language learning to make the most of the internet!
Find yourself a penpal. Websites like Compatipal and PenPal World make it super easy to find a penpal from all over the world. Compatipal even allows you to choose someone based on your interests. You can email them, Skype or (if you're into it) send them old-fashioned letters! #snailmail
Make the most of Youtube. YouTube is a fantastic place for finding all sorts of content for online language learning, from the news to podcasts, documentaries and make-up influencers. If you're more of a Netflix person, change the language of your favourite film, pop on some subtitles and settle in with your favourite snack.
Set SMART goals, and SMART here stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Maybe you need to learn German ahead of a business trip - in that case, there might not be much use in learning German poems by heart (unless you want to impress the boss!). Or perhaps, you want to learn some French ahead of a much-needed holiday - in that case, you are better off focusing on everyday phrases, like 'où est la station de métro?' You can focus your vocabulary learning on specific topics. We like to use Quizlet to help with this.
Plan a virtual trip. Why not have fun with virtual travel? If you love art, you could visit the Louvre from the comfort of your sofa. If you love to cook, you could find a recipe in your target language to savour the flavours of the country. Let me know in the comments what you've planned.
Consider finding a native tutor. There is nothing better than learning a language from a native tutor. You can tailor your course to your needs, make lifelong friends and make as many mistakes as you need to without any embarrassment! Get in touch with us to find out if this is something for you.
What are your top tips for language learning? We'd love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts in the comments!