How polyglots learn languages (with Steve Kaufmann)


In this interview I speak to Steve Kaufmann, a well-known polyglot who at the age of 73 has learnt 20 different languages. We talk about language learning, making mistakes, and why you should do the hard work to learn English. See you in class!
Listen to the full interview here (or on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts):
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  1. It’s impossible for me to reply to all your comments, but I read them all, and I am eternally grateful for your love and support.
    Become a patron and sponsor free English education here:
    Buy official Canguro English merchandise here:

  2. Good to hear Steve speaking the truth . You simply cannot become fluent in any language in 3 months or whatever the claim is .It is not possible unless you are some kind of highly unusual genius. Learning a language takes years .In fact it is a life long endeavour .

  3. I speak 3 languages Urdu/Hindi, Marathi, English and can read arabic. So I just learn this through surrounding but not by studying it.

  4. There is always amazing interviews here. I'm so grateful for everything you have been sharing with us 😉

  5. 7:00 😉 Important to remember. So, thanks.
    I've only been learning potuguese since.. the beginning of april I think. And in the beginning, when I was watching a Brazilian speak in a video, it was like they spoke so fast. They still do a little bit, but I can understand some easy conversations when there are portuguese subtitles. It's amazing how fast one can improve, but you have to look back every once in a while, to realize you haven't always been on this level and you actually made quite some progress already.

  6. אני מצטרך להיוושע, הן הולכות לנעום את השם. הן צריכות לשלול את השטן ולמקד בלימודים שפות. הן רוצות לנעום אותו.

  7. your channel is very interesting for me, Thank you very much for your work. I am happy about it, that i was know your channel, Thanks a lot🙏🙏

  8. polyglot youtube like this inspires ua to learn more its challenging thanks for all polyglot thats inspire we make video also to inspire and challenged

  9. I speak fluently in English and Tagalog, This quarantine I am learning Spanish 😊 message me if you need a serious language exchange partner

  10. Mr. Steve, you are wrong! If you just expose the student to the language and just let the language wash over the student, he will never get it. Their has to be vocabulary building on the printed page, along with grammar, if he is going to understand it and speak it.

  11. I could be fluent in English, German, French but I'm lazy. Yeah yeah.

  12. Mate great channel and great interview. I am a native Aussie speaker but your advice and Steve Kaufmann's wisdom have helped me a great deal in not only learning Norsk but how language works in general and my poor brain will never be the same.

  13. I have a question. How can I unlearn some mistakes? As a Spanish speaker, I always thought the S in English was pronounced with the /s/ sound. It wasn't until my gf pointed out I was pronouncing the word DESIGNER like /dɪˈSaɪnər/, instead of /dɪˈZaɪnər/, that I decided to learn phonetics. The problem is that the mistakes are so ingrained that even after looking up the correct pronunciation of a word, I still pronounce it incorrectly the following time.

  14. Thanks! I appreciate it a lot. I am always looking for something to motivate me. The example of son as a learner was fantastic. I have two little boys and if I were trying correct them every time they speak our mother language wrongly, I would not have time to do anything more than this. And I see they are improving it each month.

  15. I'm working on learning Hebrew currently. I have an understanding of the aleph bet, the sounds of the language, pronunciations, very foundational things. I have found a tutor via italki and our first lesson was a conversation in Hebrew. He sent me a document with the conversation written in Hebrew, transliterated, then translated into English. We worked through this together. I also have another tutor that has sent me material on memrise and a colloquial Hebrew book. Although there are many differences between biblical and modern Hebrew, particularly in the world of conversing, there must be some similarities. With this in mind I sat down with a copy of the Tanakh (Hebrew/English parallel), my computer, and a clear reading of Genesis 1 in Hebrew by a native speaker. I began to transliterate Genesis one verse at a time then listening to the reading after writing each verse to grade and compare my understanding of how it would be said. So far, slowly but surely, I've understood many of the pronunciations with a few mistakes here and there obviously and it's helped me to notice words I already know and helped me contextually learn some. I'm a native English speaker and do not currently speak a second language. From the perspective of any accomplished language learners here, am I headed in a good direction or do I need to divert?

  16. I speak Spanish, Basque, English and Galician and I'm studying German and Norwegian by myself. I try to read books and newspapers in different languages everyday, watch movies and series in their original versions, etc. so I don't lose pace and fluency. Once you fall in love with a language, it's hard to quit.

  17. I already have 4 languages when I turned 15, but I didn't consider myself as a multilingual as long as I can't learn Japanese, Chinese and French, right now I'm learning French and Chinese at the same time, French was kinda easy but Chinese? It was hard I mean really difficult


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