I don’t count myself as a hyperpolyglot(!), but I can definitely agree that the key to successful language learning is simply finding a way to enjoy the process. Judging from the book review in The Economist, this seems to be part of the message of Michael Erard’s new book, Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners.
from the review: “Hyperpolyglots may begin with talent, but they aren’t geniuses. They simply enjoy tasks that are drudgery to normal people. The talent and enjoyment drive a virtuous cycle that pushes them to feats others simply shake their heads at, admiration mixed with no small amount of incomprehension.”
If you’re an active language learner, are you on an upward spiral, or are you stuck in the language-learning doldrums? What kinds of things do you enjoy doing that other people might think of as ‘drudgery’?
I’ll leave politics to the pundits, but it really has been fun listening to his morning slots. One favourite that comes to mind was his recap of the Clearstream Affair, comparing the whole scenario to a TV series that you never really want to come to an end “and I never missed an episode”(see video below).
Something about his humour reminded me of old Monty Python sketches that were off-colour enough that you couldn’t share with some of your friends, yet you still couldn’t deny some the comedic genius in the delivery.
With his flair, gift for story-telling and spot-on impersonations of so many different French speaking styles, these skits are a superb language learning resource– my only wish was that I could read his speaking notes! If someone ever puts together a DVD + Book box-set of Mr. Guillon’s time at France Inter, I will definitely pick up a copy!
If you’re looking for French podcasts to throw on your ipod, try a few of these. I have a number of different podcasts all organized into a smart playlist on my ipod– it all sort of flows together like a multilingual radio station…. Of special note is the United Nations podcast– if you need to follow up with something, often times you’ll find a transcript of their stories at the UN Radio site.
Don’t forget that you can click on the “Change Country” link at the bottom of the podcast page in itunes—if you select France then why not try out some random ‘picks’ from categories that appeal to you? If sports is your thing in English, then you should definitely be looking to French sportscasters as an *ideal* learning resource.