4 Motivating TED Talks in Portuguese For Polishing Your Language Skills
Have you ever watched TED talks? If you have, did you find them useful and amusing?
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Many people dream of learning a second language. Some fulfill that dream, working with an online language tutor to develop fluency in French or Spanish, or Korean. Some, however, dream bigger and become polyglots.
A polyglot is basically someone who knows multiple languages. They might have grown up a polyglot, having lived in areas where there is more than one common language or dialect, or they might have decided to learn new languages later in life.
Before we continue, we should make the distinction between a polyglot and someone who is bilingual. Someone who knows two languages, who for example grew up speaking a dialect at home and then learned a national language in school and can use both in daily conversation is bilingual.
A polyglot is someone who went beyond just learning two languages. They might have grown up bilingual, but later in life learned a third or fourth language. Or they might have loved the idea of all the opportunities for career advancement and travel being a polyglot brings and made the conscious decision to become fluent in multiple languages.
Polyglots are to be admired, they put a lot of time and effort into learning the languages they did! Most polyglots do enjoy learning languages and find that it’s fun to learn and use multiple languages. That’s what a polyglot will tell you when you ask them about the polyglot life at a party. If you get to know them better, however, they might admit that there are some unique polyglot problems that they face.
For polyglots, learning multiple languages brings multiple polyglot problems. Most will say that these aren’t enough to detract or discourage them from learning even more languages or regret their decision to become polyglots, but they are something aspiring polyglots should be aware of.
Many people decide to learn a new language or two, or three because they love acquiring language skills and they love what it can do for them mentally. They love the fact that they can communicate with people from all around the world.
What they might not like so much, however, is having to prove to people that they do indeed know more than one language.
Saying you’re a polyglot might be a good icebreaker or it can be an annoying party trick that you find yourself having to perform over and over, demonstrating that you do know indeed know how to say “I love you” in several languages.
Many people decide that they want to learn an additional language because it can allow them to understand media in that language.
For example, an American K-pop fan might decide they want to learn what the lyrics of that catchy tune their idols are dancing to really mean.
Before gaining fluency in a language, you might encounter translations that you think are okay. They get the point across even if they might maybe sound a little funny. Once you become a polyglot, however, you can tell when a translation isn’t just a little funny but actually bad and inaccurate and that can be soooo…. Annoying.
If you do become a polyglot, a good career that is open to you is to become a translator. So, if bad translations haunt you, you can always fix them yourself.
When you set out to learn multiple languages, you want to gain fluency. This means you can communicate effectively in these languages and that also means that you can “think” in those languages.
When you can think in a language, you often use it instinctively or without thinking. A polyglot might accidentally mix up the languages they think in and use.
Everyone has that annoying feeling when you can’t quite remember what word to use? It’s on the tip of your tongue and you just can’t think of it. That happens to polyglots too, and in their case in multiple languages.
For example, they might want to greet someone “Merry Christmas” in Danish but all they can remember is how to say it in German and French. Or they might automatically say “bonjour” when they should be saying “hej”.
This might also come into play when using common idioms or expressions. They might use a Brazilian Portuguese slang phrase when talking to a European Portuguese speaker and just confuse them.
This is a special kind of “confusion” that a polyglot may feel. It’s not just annoying but also maybe a little embarrassing.
This could happen to you because the word that you are looking for is untranslatable or unique to one of the languages that you have learned. Sometimes a language has a specific expression or phrase for a thought or a feeling that you just love, but has no equivalent in your native language.
Sometimes, however, it can also occur because a polyglot hasn’t had the opportunity to speak their native language in a while and they’ve just temporarily “forgotten” something.
Whatever the reason for you all of a sudden not knowing a word in your native language, it is a disconcerting experience and a possible embarrassing incident that only polyglots really understand.
In moves or TV shows featuring “super spies,” they are often polyglots. Given as their adventures take them to multiple exotic locales, it makes sense. It also makes sense that they might play the “stupid foreigner” and not let on that they understand a language in the hope that they can eavesdrop and learn important information.
While you might not be a “super spy”, unless the people around you know that you are a polyglot, they might assume that you don’t understand what they are saying. This could be a source of harmless amusement; you could pick up some juicy local gossip this way. Or it can be slightly embarrassing, they could be insulting you.
One curious thing that happens to people who learn multiple languages is that they also find that they develop slightly different personalities to “match” these languages. This personality change is usually a shift in one’s attitudes and behaviors to “match” the culture of the speakers of a language.
Languages often reflect the attitudes of the cultures where they were developed. For example, in a culture where respect for elders or those of higher social rank than you is considered very important there will be “formal” and “informal” ways to say exactly the same things – and rules as to when and with whom you can be formal or informal with. If you are being “forced” to speak formally, you often tend to think and act formally as well.
So, for example, you are fluent in both Japanese (which is a very formal and hierarchal culture) and your native language is Australian English (casual and very slangy), you might come off different to your Japanese friends than you do to your family. If you’ve just traveled from Japan, you might find yourself still “acting” like you are in Japan and speaking formally and eschewing Australian slang, and coming off as “different” to your family.
English is a lingua franca that is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. Many times, even if it’s not their native language when dealing with a “foreigner” people will attempt to communicate with them in English.
This habit of using English as the “default” way of communicating with someone who they perceive as foreign can be a source of annoyance to polyglots. After all, they spent a lot of time learning a language and they want to be able to speak and communicate with native speakers in that language. Why won’t people speak to them in their native language?!?
Most polyglots realize that this is a slightly irrational reaction, after all when people find out that you can speak their language and they don’t have to speak in English many of them are delighted and proud. They will drop the English and happily converse with you in their native tongue.
It’s undeniable, however, that being spoken to in English because they assume that you don’t know the language is a pet peeve of polyglots. Start getting used to tamping down that initial flash of annoyance!
Learning languages is a great way to not only communicate with people from around the world but also to gain an understanding of different cultures and ways of life.
Learning multiple languages, becoming bilingual or a polyglot opens a lot of opportunities for people in their career and their travel adventures. It also improves your mind and can be just plain fun.
If you really want to become a polyglot, the best and quickest way to develop fluency in multiple languages is to work with a native-speaking online tutor. You can find good native-speaking tutors in a variety of different languages through JustLearn – many are polyglots themselves and they can probably tell you more about polyglot problems and how to overcome them.
1. People want you to prove your abilities. 2. You can tell if a translation is bad and it ANNOYS you. 3. 3. You sometimes get confused about which language to use. 4. You know the word in multiple languages, but not your native language
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