In today’s interview blog post Brazilian polyglot Marlon Couto Ribeiro – a user of LearnWithOliver.com – tells us all about his language learning ventures.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I’m a 28-year-old Brazilian (and I will turn 29 on September 22nd!), who has been living in Poland for three years and a half now. I definitely have a thing about learning! I have studied languages since my childhood, when I used to have fun playing Japanese videogames. I would flick through dictionaries and grammar books as well. I`m graduated from the Translation Studies Department at the University of Brasilia. Besides working as a foreign language teacher, together with great Polish polyglot Konrad Jerzak vel Dobosz I have started to organize workshops on language learning techniques in Poland.
What do you think of constructed languages? Would you be interested to learn one?
Since I’m a language mad, so I have to confess I cherish conlangs. I have created my own conlang, which is called Yuelami (yoo-lah-MEE). I use it for personal purposes and I can say I speak fluently a bunch of sentences in it. I communicate in Esperanto too, which is far more than just a constructed language. There is a huge international community that supports it and gives it life, making it a useful tool to connect people.
How has your strategy to learn new languages changed over the years?
Well, in the beginning, I didn’t have the slightest idea about how to learn a language. Therefore, as I tried on many techniques (from struggling with flashcards to speaking in front of the mirror, from recording myself to keeping a journal), I have gradually found out the best way for me to retain information.
Which resources do you normally use most?
I just love to use websites, like learnwitholiver.com, duolingo.com, busuu.com, livemocha.com, fluentu.com, mypolyglot.com, lyricstraining.com, lang-8.com, italki.com, tatoeba.org. Besides, I often visit Youtube to watch or listen to lessons prepared by native speakers. In addition, Assimil and Pimsleur series rank among the courses I frequently resort to.
What do you think of LearnWithOliver.com?
I do appreciate it, because your attitude towards language teaching matches with I think about effective learning. One should focus on sentences rather than on single words lacking a context. We can find interesting dialogues and funny sentences sometimes. It is always a pleasure to open my mail box and to see your message with a daily drop of knowledge.
What keeps you motivated to keep learning?
I have incorporated most languages I have been learning in my everyday life. I have moved from Brazil to Poland. My wife is Hungarian polyglot Anikó Couto-Szalay. We talk on a daily basis in Hungarian, Polish, English, Spanish, Portuguese and sometimes in French (she has recently got down to it). Furthermore, I teach Japanese and attend the local Esperanto club meetings. I write emails and messages to foreign friends. My facebook profile is in Serbian and I read news in German, for example. From time to time I have internet conversations in those languages.
What would you recommend a new language learner? How to get started?
I recommend to pick a scrap of paper and to make a list of the reasons why you should learn a given language and why not. Write down the advantages you may benefit from learning it and set up short-term goals. Next step is looking for materials which fits your learning style. They may be textbooks, videos, audios, podcasts for beginners. Read about other polyglots’ experiences and watch their videos, listen to their podcasts as well. This way you will be abreast about learning techniques. Understand what works with you and what doesn’t.
Any books about language learning you can recommend?
Sekrety Poliglotów (it is in Polish, but we will soon translate into English), Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis, How I learned languages by Lomb Kató, Fluent Forever: How to learn any language fast and never forget it by Gabriel Wyner, Fluency made achievable by Kerstin Hammes and Language is music by Susanna Zaraysky.
To learn more about Marlon please visit his site Sekretypoliglotow.pl (in Polish).