I was greatly saddened to hear that American polyglot and YouTuber Moses McCormick—a.k.a. “Lǎoshǔ” (老鼠, )—passed away on March 4, 2021 from heart complications just shy of his 40th birthday. Though his life was brief, his profound legacy lives on in the millions of people he inspired through his popular YouTube videos, courses, and language coaching. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting Moses in person or having him as a guest on the Language Mastery Show, but I have been watching his videos for years and have learned a lot from his practical, playful approach to learning new languages. Read on to see what I consider to be the three most important pieces of practical wisdom from Moses, teachings that can help you banish perfectionism, bust through fears, reach fluency faster, and have much more fun along the way.
When I started my Vietnamese intensive course, a lot of non-linguistists I talked to said that the Chinese students would have an advantage because they already speak a tonal language. It is true that some westerns could be completely stumped by tones, and just not get the language at all. But, a person who already speaks a tonal language does not have an advantage over a westerner or a Korean or Japanese who is intelligent, motivated and who is trying to learn tones.