“Every hour I’m [learning a language] feels like a minute. Every minute I am away from [the language I’m learning] feels like an hour.”

Become a Polyglot in Minutes not Years

“…And that is the secret to how to become a polyglot in minutes, not hours, months, or years. It’s to absolutely love it, so that studying isn’t a chore; it isn’t a task you want to get out of the way so that you can reach that fluency you lust for. No, lust fizzles – but if you love the language, if you love the language-learning process, those hours, those months, and those years, they’ll fly by.”

The above quote is from (jump to 8’10” in the video) and this post was inspired by Anthony Lauder from FluentCzech‘s YouTube video entitled Become a Polyglot in Minutes not Years, which you can view here:


Mr. Lauder has a wealth of informative, entertaining, and motivational videos about his experience with the language-learning process (especially as it pertains to Czech), and for all you English learners out there, his videos are a fantastic resource, as he speaks very clearly and provides good explanations of the topics at hand.

The modified quote that inspired the title of the post is mentioned by Mr. Lauder in his video. It is from Michel Petrucciani, a well-renowned jazz pianist who once said “Every hour I am at the piano feels like a minute. Every minute I am away from the piano feels like an hour.”

So the question is, how do you feel when you’re learning your language of choice? What goals do you have in learning the language? These are important questions to ask yourself, because they will inevitably determine how motivated you are to learn the language, and how much you do (or do not) enjoy the process.

As Mr. Lauder says in his video, 80% of the reward of something learned can be achieved with 20% of the effort (or time) that it takes to master it – this is known as the Pareto Principle. I’m personally still at a point in my Mandarin learning where I’m able to pick up new things every day, that is, I still haven’t gotten my 80%, but it still requires listening every day, and I don’t pick things up anywhere near as quickly as I do when learning German, Spanish, Dutch, French etc. It is amazing how much of these languages you can learn in just a few months if you work at it intensively every day.

With German and Spanish, however, I have definitely already reached this threshhold, which means I have to work hard (meaning I have to be very organized in my learning, which I achieve by using Anki and LingQ) at mastering these languages beyond the fluency I’ve already gained.

Does that bother me? Not in the slightest. Because I absolutely love the language-learning process. I live for the “Ah-ha” moments, the jokes that only make sense in other languages, getting to know people in their native language and really speaking to their hearts, and learning more about other cultures through the conduit of their languages. Live it, love it, and I guarantee you’ll learn it.

As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SanneT
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 18:35:38

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and your enthusiasm with us. (It’s also good that you are active on LingQ again. You were sorely missed.)


  2. mandarinfromscratch
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 19:32:07

    It’s my pleasure Sanne, it truly is what I live for, and I’m glad to be back:)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: