Secrets to effective language learning – An interview with Luca Lampariello.
Luca Lampariello is a polyglot, one of those extraordinary people who speaks several languages. In Lucas’ case, he speaks twelve: English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and his native Italian.
On February 5, Luca will deliver a free webinar on WizIQ entitled Secrets to Effective Language Learning. This webinar is part of the Featured Teachers series, hosted by Fluency MC. To sign up, click here.
In an interview with WizIQ, Luca talks about his fascinating experience as a language learner and language coach.
- What inspired you to learn 11 languages? Are you planning to learn more?
Mainly it is my thirst for knowledge that fueled and keeps fueling my desire to learn languages. I have to thank my grandmother for that. Once, when I was 12 I was spending the summer at our house near the sea and my grandmother took me aside, showed me a book – an old Latin grammar – and simply said “Latin is an amazing language and you will benefit so much from starting now.”She was very patient and passionate about teaching, and we started working on Latin , then on French, then Math. I liked our veranda lessons so much that I didn’t care about the great weather or about everyone being on the beach playing. From that moment on I had a burning desire to learn everything. When I was 15, I bought a German course and figured out a method through which I learned languages fast and efficiently. I started learning one language after the other and talking to native speakers. Other than a thirst for knowledge, I started discovering the beauty of talking to people from everywhere around the world, and I quickly figured out that language is key to understanding how different people think, eat, breathe and communicate. It was a major discovery and now it is the main reason why I keep learning languages. Of course I plan to learn more. I don’t know how many. As I always say: I let languages choose me. The next one will most probably be Hungarian.
- How has learning these languages benefited you?
It is not a trivial thing to say that languages have completely revolutionized my life. I hold a degree in Electronic Engineering, and this is what I was apparently destined to do in my life. I spent hours in a physics laboratory. I love math and science, but my desire to get out there, travel, talk to people in different languages, turned out to be stronger. I realized I really wanted languages to be an integral part of my life. I started working as a coach and now I coach people in 8 languages online from all around the world. Languages changed the way I live my life in general. It is easier to travel. Everything was easier and smoother when I moved to Barcelona for a bit, and then France. Travelling in general becomes a very rewarding human experience. People treat you in a different way when you speak their language. They warm up to you no matter the country and you understand its culture and the mentality of its people in a deeper way. Also, I made so many friends around the world, and on a final note, it is easier to find a partner. Also, I am under the impression that my brain works faster and better, and not only when it comes to languages. It is an amazing experience that has involved and improved all areas of my life.
- What areas do you recommend focusing on when learning a new language?
My piece of advice is always to focus on all of them at the same time. Learning a language is a holistic process, and a language learner should make sure that he is tackling all aspects of a language at the same time, although he/she might do it at different speeds. We take for granted that native speakers can speak, understand, read and write their native tongue. That is due to the way they learn languages within their families and at school. Yet, only as far back as one century ago, a huge portion of the population of all European countries could only speak and not read. Being able to speak doesn’t necessarily mean that one can read or write. This is even more evident when one decides to learn a foreign language. As adults, we can make choices that can impact our language learning process. You might notice that a person who focuses too much on one area, say, listening or reading, might not be as good at speaking or writing. In a way – I call it a paradox – these 4 abilities are separated and can be developed separately, but if you develop them at the same time, they become entangled and they reinforce each other. Listening helps speaking, speaking sharpens your listening skills and makes you more attentive, reading helps writing and so on. So my suggestion is to tackle all areas at the same time because after you go past a certain threshold, these areas are going to help each other and the overall learning process takes off.
- Some people say learning foreign languages is less important now that we have more sophisticated and convenient translation software. What’s your opinion of this?
Language is a communication tool between human beings and each language has a specific communication tone. No matter how good machines become at conveying a message from one person to another, direct communication will always be valuable. It is not just a matter of words and sounds, but gestures, emotions, and facial expressions. Imagine meeting a cute girl you really want to talk to. If you speak her language, do you think that the communication would be as pleasant and as valuable as if you were talking to her through a machine? The intonation, the gestures, the way you use your eyes and hands, all of that would be “lost in translation”, and it would be a completely different experience. This is not to say that machines can’t be useful- they will probably improve communication in many areas-but I still maintain that learning language is not only the mere act of getting your point across, it is a way to expand your inner and outer world. It is a way to see the world from different perspectives, but also to discover the multiple facets of your personality; and it is an amazing tool through-and thanks-to which we grow as individuals. No machine in the world is going to change that, no matter how efficient it becomes.
- What are your plans for promoting your language learning approach and techniques in the future?
I am still actively creating YouTube videos and writing articles on my blog www.thepolyglotdream.com, and the next step is to publish my book on language learning. After that, I am planning to create a series of language courses in which I will package the knowledge I have accumulated over the last 5 years giving classes to hundreds of students. It will be something very different from products I see on the market that are often expensive and not very efficient. I want to create something revolutionary which has never been done before. The best way to promote all this is to keep producing interesting free content that people appreciate. I have recently created a series which is called “#AskLucaAnything” in which I reply to questions from language learners on my Facebook Fanpage https://www.facebook.com/thepolyglotdream. The series was a success and it made me realize that language learners don’t need other books, or language learning material. They need a guide. I like saying that the Internet is a treasure trove for people looking for information, language learning included, but the best value I can provide as a language expert is to show how to use this wealth of information. My mission is to make language learning not only a fun but also a very enriching experience. Also, other than my activity online, I plan to take part in a few conferences that are regularly being organized around the world – the next ones are in Zagreb and New York-as well as giving masterclasses around the world (I have already hosted masterclasses in Poland, Russia and Austria, and I plan to do so in many other countries).
We hope you will join us for this special webinar with Luca Lampariello. Click here for more information and to sign up for free.