Claude Cartaginese is one of the kindest guys you will meet in the language learning blogosphere, and I really appreciate all he has done to encourage language learners, gather advice from the world’s best learners, and share his infectious enthusiasm for language learning. In 2010, he released a monumental e-book called the The Polyglot Project, a free PDF which brought together tips and advice from 43 polyglots, hyper-polyglots, linguists, YouTubers, and language lovers, including:
In the interview (recorded in 2010 as part of my Master Japanese expert interview series), we discuss:
- The mistakes he made when starting out in Japanese and what he would differently if he started over again.
- Why you should focus on one language skill at a time.
- Why you should start with listening and speaking before reading and writing.
- Why it’s crucial to choose methods and materials that support your unique learning goals.
- When Japanese learners should start learning kanji.
- Why “mastery” and “perfection” are not the same thing.
- Barry Farber on how we “marry” some languages and simply “date” others and why “expertise is a narcotic.”
- The power of modern asynchronous learning.
- The challenge of “resource overwhelm.”
- Why language study should not be required in school.
- Claude’s language learning habits and routines.
- Why languages are not “difficult,” just “different.”
- The similarities between learning a language and learning a martial art.
- How the ego gets in the way of learning a language.
People, Resources & Ideas Mentioned
- The Polyglot Project (free PDF download)
- Remembering the Kanji by James Heisig
- How to Learn Any Language by Barry Farber
- iPod touch
- Steve Kaufmann
- Mathematics for the Nonmathematician by Morris Kline
- Comparative Linguistics
- Historical Linguistics
More About Claude
- Claud’s blog: Syzygy on Languages
Complete transcripts are coming soon. Enter your email below to be notified when they are available.