Polyglot Education Ideas

Guest   Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:47 am GMT
Recently I read that some people would like to have at least one "polyglot"
school in the United States. The late Michel Thomas wanted to have such a school, but no one knew what "polyglot" meant-or so the story goes.

I wonder if there would be enough people to fill such schools. How many budding polyglots are there?

Most polyglots I know (small sample) had some formal training early on, then just kept learning. No schools were needed after the first languages, they were able to learn on their own-whether with self-learning materials, or by deconstructing the language or some combination with classes, but not "hard" learning. These are just my impressions. If you have other experiences, then feel free to share them here.
Xie   Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:53 am GMT
Are you referring to a *famous* forum out there?

I might not have a chance to receive "formal training" - and nothing more than ordinary, "auxiliary" classes - but as I see it, I might just need to learn and maintain all the languages I have, and add only when I'm ready, and I don't even *need* formal training. All I've got to do is to discover different kinds and more efficient ways of swimming, rather than having to learn how to swim again.
Guest   Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:57 am GMT
I think all they need is to send their children to tutors. Many children take music/sports lessons when young, why do parents never substitute them for language lessons?
Guest   Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:20 am GMT
Some parents do just that, they send their children to the local French school, the Chinese school or the asian culture center. I saw a new business just a few minutes from my home that looks like a language school for young children. I need to drop in there and see what languages they offer.

We talked about people (and children in particular) losing their languages, so I wonder how this early education will work. Mandarin is or recently WAS the language to learn. I hear Vietnamese may become popular, but how worthwhile is it to learn the basics and never go beyond a low intermediate level?

I'm impressed with middle-class Mexicans who opt for the tutors, so their children learn at least French and English as foreign languages. I think French and Spanish are good starter languages (in the US, at least), because there are almost always speakers of Spanish in any given city and French schools (because French kids get educated overseas too) in most larger American cities.

I think Mr. Thomas had the idea for adults, although he demostrated his technique (method?) in California with elementary students as well.

(I'm not pushing Michel Thomas. I'm okay with the languages he offered, but there were only a few of the basic IE languages widely available until recently. I read that Mandarin is or will be offered soon.)
Domine   Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:06 pm GMT
Am I considered a polyglot??? I know English & Spanish extremely well. On the contrary, I know Italian intermediately. I'm currently learning Arabic and Greek. Suffice to say I've found out by having a vivacious tutor, organized schedule, online (messenger) buddies and a handy language book one can learn languages somewhat effortlessly. By the way I'm a Calfornian with a mexican background.

This is how I grade my intelligibilty of the languages I know:
English - 90%-100% = native tongue
Spanish - 80%-90% =native tongue
Italian - 60-70% = learned tongue
Arabic - 10% - 20% = learning tongue
Greek - 30% - 40% = learning tongue
guest   Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:33 pm GMT
<<Am I considered a polyglot??? >>

I would call you a manytongue, uh...I mean, a polyglot
Guest   Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:50 pm GMT
I don't think 'real' polyglots exist. To speak 7 languages with native fluency would be 30000x7 words. 210000 words in total - impossible.
Guest   Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:50 am GMT
Not necessarily . If you speak Italian and Spanish, you don't need 30 000 and 30 000 words separately because many of them are the same or only slightly different.
Guest   Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:06 am GMT
One more thing, where did you read that 30 000 words are need to speak with native fluency? I think that number is hardly achieved by most of natives. 5000 words is a more realistic number.
Guest   Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:31 am GMT
То be fluent you shhould be able to read a complex adult novel and only rarely have to resort to a dictionary. 5000 words is nowhere near enough.
Guest   Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:54 am GMT
Even native speakers don't understand many words in novels.
Guest   Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:13 am GMT
Оk, maybe not understand literature on the 'highest level', but definitely should be able to understand any contemporary 'best-seller' type novel. Any native speaker can understand this, and should only very rarely not understand a word, and usually be able to work it out from the context at that.
Guest   Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:11 pm GMT
<<If you speak Italian and Spanish, you don't need 30 000 and 30 000 words separately because many of them are the same or only slightly different. >>

Haha, in your dreams! (i.e. you WISH!)
Guest   Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:19 pm GMT
"Any native speaker can understand this" I bet you that every book with more than 300 pages has a good amount of words whose meaning is unknown for many native speakers. Native speakers need much less than 30 000 words in every circumstance of their whole life (unless they are intellectuals).
Guest   Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:03 pm GMT
If you don't know that much vocabulary, you should read a children's novel. There probably won't be too many words a native speaker wouldn't know in one, if any at all.