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Price of Polyglottery - New Prof

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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kanewai
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*, French, Marshallese
Studies: Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 65 of 90
04 October 2013 at 10:12pm | IP Logged 
erenko wrote:
montmorency wrote:
may find out whether he has read them or not.

My gut feeling is he hasn't.


erenko, you don't appear to be reading any of the responses people have given you. From
the links posted, I see that Prof. Arguelles studied "in the great books tradition" at
Columbia and the University of Chicago, and built and led a great books program in
Lebanon.

Of course he's read the books.
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Sterogyl
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 4236 days ago

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

 
 Message 66 of 90
05 October 2013 at 2:02pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
Sterogyl wrote:
@Tarvos: What you write makes perfect sense, I don't need C1 or C2 in
all my hobby languages, either. But we're talking about a sort of language degree that
will be granted by the institute, the curriculum of which consists of studying
languages. How would it look like if one doesn't even "master" (let's say, C1) a single
one of those languages after obtaining the degree... not so good.
Did you read the schedule proposed by Arguelles? It is too much... one hour here, one
hour there, but imho not enough to master one language within that time.

By the way, your English is very, very good. But imagine your English, French or
whatever strong languages you have wouldn't be better than your currently weakest
language. Wouldn't that be terrible and wouldn't you feel the urge to at least become
good at one first? There are polyglots who do suffer this fate.


After a degree of three years at least focused on languages and not mastering even one?
Like French or German (which you should be able to read according to the curriculum?)


Mh, maybe you're right, especially seeing that the institute presumably leads to nothing more than a Bachelor's degree, the then acquired knowledge of at least German or French might well suffice, yes. In order to become a language teacher, a translator or an interpreter, further studies in terms of e.g. postgraduate studies are advisable or necessary, anyway.

I hereby revoke what I've said about the inapplicability of the curriculum and now deem the institute an interesting alternative to existing degrees in philology as well as good preparation for further (more specialized) language studies.

There's another thing that struck me in his speech. He said something like the skills of polyglots can't be measured by means of normal language proficiency tests. Why?
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tarvos
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China
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 67 of 90
05 October 2013 at 5:15pm | IP Logged 
Furthermore, not everyone is going to attend the studies full-time - it is also
intended to do summer courses, function as a retreat, etc. So it will also serve
different functions. I would probably use it for shorter stints to self-study one of my
weaker languages (I would love to go there to benefit from some time studying, for
example, Korean or Modern Hebrew).

I think the last thing is because once you start getting over five or six languages,
you start feeling synergistic effects between languages everywhere. I have never
studied Spanish or Portuguese but I can go in and probably read and understand fairly
large amounts, because of a background in French, Romanian and Latin. At that point it
thus becomes hard to measure what you know and don't know. I could probably improvise a
bit of simple Portuguese on the spot (and I have done so, actually!) but I would need
to study Portuguese concertedly for three or four months to achieve a functional level
and get a handle on grammar and all, because right now I don't know any of that. I
wouldn't be native-level speaker fluent, but related languages bonus each other up.

I'm not sure how that works for languages that are more or less isolated like Korean or
Japanese (I think Japanese knows some dialects that you may call separate languages -
the same for the Jeju dialect of Korean) but even there the appearance of Chinese
characters and the large amount of Sino-Korean vocabulary for example will aid you in
learning (especially if you already know Chinese - but I am approaching Korean as the
first language of East Asia).
3 persons have voted this message useful



Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
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 Message 68 of 90
05 October 2013 at 5:18pm | IP Logged 
Sterogyl wrote:
There's another thing that struck me in his speech. He said something like the skills of polyglots can't be measured by means of normal language proficiency tests. Why?


Perhaps because so much becomes transparent, and so much can quickly be activated. I've read books (clumsily, but while understanding the key points and many details) in languages I'd fail an A1 test in. He's written about listening to a language for a week where he's in a country where it's spoken, with strong passive skills already, and coming out conversational - for instance, with Swedish.

I've also noticed that my polyglot friends can study for language tests and game them, to some extent. A lot of the higher-level tests are as much about the ability to structure your thoughts academically as about language knowledge, and this skill also is something that you carry from language to language.

Are these enough reasons? There are surely more.
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lichtrausch
Triglot
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United States
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 Message 69 of 90
05 October 2013 at 6:24pm | IP Logged 
A polyliteracy degree program would have to set far lower standards for a concentration in East Asian languages than for one in Western languages. Someone focusing on English, German, and the big five Romance languages can get a LOT farther in a given time frame that someone doing Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, and Classical Chinese.
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Sibsil
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China
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 Message 70 of 90
06 October 2013 at 7:09am | IP Logged 
lichtrausch wrote:
A polyliteracy degree program would have to set far lower standards for a concentration in East Asian languages than for one in Western languages. Someone focusing on English, German, and the big five Romance languages can get a LOT farther in a given time frame that someone doing Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, and Classical Chinese.


That really depend where you come from. I can get farther with Classical Chinese, Korean, Japanese than I ever get with European languages or Arabic. And this is supposed to be international program. I think professor mention two tracks for each civilization - one for people from there, one for other people. So there do not need to be lower standards, just different ones.
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Sterogyl
Diglot
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Germany
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Studies: Japanese, Norwegian

 
 Message 71 of 90
06 October 2013 at 9:40am | IP Logged 
@tarvos, volte: Of course I know what you mean, but being able to read and understand a good amount of Italian due to my prior knowledge of French doesn't make me functional in Italian, let alone proficient. If I decided to study Italian, however, my progress would be much quicker then if I didn't speak one single Romance language in advance. It would nevertheless take years to reach C1 or C2.

Quote:

Perhaps because so much becomes transparent, and so much can quickly be activated. I've read books (clumsily, but while understanding the key points and many details) in languages I'd fail an A1 test in.


I did that, too, but only being able to (more or less) read doesn't make me proficient, either. For example, I can understand a whole lot of Dutch while reading it, but it would take a long time until I would be able to actually produce the language. It can't be done in a week.

If I can only read, I am not at all proficient and thus cannot pass a "normal" proficiency test. If that's what the professor means, well...
On the other hand, if I was able to speak, read, write and understand the language at the required level, I would be able to pass such a test. My knowledge of other languages wouldn't interfere (and if it did, it would diminish my proficiency in that language).

But it's still not quite clear to me what the professor meant by "can't be measured with a normal language proficiency test". Maybe he didn't mean the language skills themselves, but the "polyglot skills" in terms of the ability to effecively acquire knowledge of a given language by autodicactic study. Hm..
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tarvos
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 Message 72 of 90
06 October 2013 at 11:02am | IP Logged 
Quote:
Of course I know what you mean, but being able to read and understand a good
amount of Italian due to my prior knowledge of French doesn't make me functional in
Italian, let alone proficient. If I decided to study Italian, however, my progress
would be much quicker then if I didn't speak one single Romance language in advance. It
would nevertheless take years to reach C1 or C2.


No, but it makes adequate comparison impossible, since you are not a beginner. C1 or C2
isn't the point. The point is you can't really be reliably said to have no knowledge of
the language because related languages give you enough input to understand. It will
take effort to become a functional speaker of the language, that is definitely true. I
also didn't say I could manage C1 in 3 months. But I could definitely become a good
allround B-level speaker of Spanish, Portuguese or Italian in a couple of months. Much
quicker than anyone who doesn't have the same background.


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