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Moses McCormick’s admirable achievement

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 5348 days ago

173 posts - 235 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Spanish, Norwegian, Mandarin, French

 Message 169 of 221
08 July 2011 at 8:17am | IP Logged 
The real question is, is Moses an established polyglot and the answer to me is Yes. His
speaking isn't perfect in some languages particularly the rarer ones, but he's proven
himself in Japanese and Mandarin(at least what from what I know) to be able to
communicate at a respectable level.
4 persons have voted this message useful

Czech Republic
Joined 4507 days ago

54 posts - 111 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, English

 Message 171 of 221
04 May 2012 at 5:26pm | IP Logged 
I mean nobody's forcing anybody to achieve fluency or even proficiency in the language they're studying. Let's say a person A starts learning Korean and quits after three months because it didn't click, then he starts learning Twi and becomes fluent in a few years. Then he starts learning Italian, but quits again. And so can Moses speak 50+ languages even though he's learned only a few of them thoroughly. It depends if you concentrate on the quality or the quantity. But going C2 in 3 languages and B1 in 20 languages are both achievements themselves. The only thing that's not to be admired is to learn "Where is the toilet?" in Turkish and claim fluency afterwards. Or to speak several languages and add up some extra one they have no clue about (I speak Tlingit, Manx Gaelic, Tatar, Shona, Mango dialect of Chinese etc.) just to look cooler. The reasone why most of us don't like the language SNOWBALLS is because they draw too much attention to themselves and that's only because laymen can't tell if we speak it or not. If I'd drop some random zhi zhi zhong chi chu shu qi sounds, people would think I spoke Chinese unless someone would have exposed me. I just don't hate anyone even though I don't like everyone of the YT polyglots (Considering Clugston ain't a polyglot)
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Poland users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5046 days ago

1116 posts - 1367 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, English, Japanese, Korean, French, Mandarin, Italian, Vietnamese
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swedish
Studies: Danish, Dari, Kirundi

 Message 172 of 221
11 May 2012 at 5:09pm | IP Logged 
Midnight wrote:
Mango dialect of Chinese

Strangely there actually is something like this
Mango Dialect

Edited by clumsy on 11 May 2012 at 5:10pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5129 days ago

186 posts - 452 votes 
Speaks: German*, English

 Message 173 of 221
28 May 2012 at 4:29am | IP Logged 
Moses has always been one of my favourites, if just to see him rambling along. His pros and cons as a language person have already been dealt with in this thread, so I want to add some other points as to why I am fond of his channel.

Language-related I am impressed with his beautiful and neat handwriting that tends to border on calligraphy when he turns to exotic scripts. Likewise he has a gentle, pleasant voice and a special gift for accents. Apart from making the usual beginner mistakes he seems to hit the basic sound of any language quite easily and almost instantly. Can't vouch for this, that's just my impression. I once found myself listening to one of his Spanish readings with delight for several times, only later I noticed that with some words he put the stress on the wrong syllables.

His occasional videos on ethnic and social issues are quality content, because they are first-hand and authentic, and provoke similar videos by other youtubers. Easy to understand that he is nevertheless reluctant to go public with this more personal stuff, but it works well and thanks to people like him such sensitive issues become more directly accessible globally now, freed from the anonymity of TV and press coverage.

Most recently he is on a "level up" spree, meaning he goes to shops and Asian restaurants, striking up conversations with random people working or hanging around at those places. Many of them are obviously immigrants and often shy or reticent, and more than a bit wary of getting into closer contact with unpredictable strangers. Then comes Moses, without warning talking to them in their own language(s), or at least making the attempt, just a few words but persistently, and see what happens! People who you thought to be cold or uncommunicative suddenly warm up, sometimes changing into different persons altogether, and some ten or fifteen minutes later appear almost unhappy to let him go.

I find this quite sensational. People on the forums mock his limited vocabulary, but he can do with a few words what others can't do with thousands. To me Moses is a great communicator from which I can only learn in this respect. No doubt many of us have had their share of bitter life experience and as a result have become cynical or uptight, or overly cautious. Moses makes us see things from a different perspective - the people we encounter in our daily lives, whoever they appear to be on the outside, may be even more sensitive and cautious than ourselves, for good reason maybe, we don't know them, and the best we can do is to open up to them and not take ourselves too seriously. This is easier said than done. But I have often observed that learning and practising languages opens hidden doors, and Moses has successfully done that.
22 persons have voted this message useful

Pro Member
Joined 4240 days ago

65 posts - 78 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian, Modern Hebrew, French
Personal Language Map

 Message 174 of 221
21 December 2012 at 7:30pm | IP Logged 
hrhenry wrote:
ChiaBrain wrote:
There's a lot to be said for breadth of study.

Why should I waste so much time becoming natively fluent in just one extra language
I can spend that time sampling a wide variety of them and learn about the nature of
language itself?!?!?

My goal (outside of my job's linguistic requirements) is to become fluent enough in a
language that I can have a meaningful conversation with a variety of people about a
variety of topics. I also want to be able to easily read good literature in the

But I'm discovering that occasional excursions into other languages are healthy, if
nothing else than for a break in monotony. I don't have to become fluent in everything
I'm exposed to.


Some excellent points about language learning! I have personally been struggling with
the notion of fluency and knowing when I have become acceptably fluent. I like the idea
of "fluent enough to have a meaningful conversation" which then opens it up for a wide
range of how we define fluency.

If I think about the typical conversations that I have during the day, they are for the
most part fairly unpretentious and unsophisticated (unless I am talking specifically
about something technical). For me to possibly have similar typical conversations in
other languages takes the pressure off one's learning a bit. I am sure that many new
language learners like myself are putting pressure on ourselves by thinking that native
fluency is the ultimate goal even though many of us would simply be happy to be able to
have simple yet meaningful conversations.

1 person has voted this message useful

Pro Member
Joined 4240 days ago

65 posts - 78 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian, Modern Hebrew, French
Personal Language Map

 Message 175 of 221
21 December 2012 at 7:34pm | IP Logged 
Cainntear wrote:
Kuikentje wrote:
I agree, it's better to not criticise the other
people and their languages' level

If someone sets themselves up as an example, they are open to discussion and yes, even

It is definitely easier to throw rocks at someone who puts them out there on the stage
than aiming for someone hidden in the audience...

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though
checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor
suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt

Edited by TheGreaterFool on 21 December 2012 at 7:36pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4235 days ago

152 posts - 263 votes 
Studies: German*, French, EnglishC2
Studies: Japanese, Norwegian

 Message 176 of 221
15 March 2013 at 11:20am | IP Logged 
With all due respect, I absolutely acknowledge and admire what he has achieved (!), but in my personal opinion, it's better to master few languages than to attain a basic/low-intermediate "Teach Yourself" level in a 50. I doubt he can even understand one of his foreign languages to a reasonable (C1) level (maybe his Chinese is already good enough, I don't know, but his Japanese certainly isn't), let alone writing and speaking. If it's okay for him it's good! But I think in his special case it's okay to critisize it because he's making money with his teachings. In my opinion he's a hobbyist which is fine, but I don't think his language learning methods are anything revolutionary or special. However, I believe his videos can be quite motivating for some folks. Only my 2 cents, now you can rip me to shreds. :D

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