Category Archives: Polyglot

Hyperpolyglots and Amikumu

If you’re a reader of the Welsh news site Cymru Fyw, you may have seen the magazine artlcle about Richard Simcock, who is very well known in the polyglot world – in fact, he speaks so many languages he’s known as a hyperpolyglot!

There is no magic number of languages you need to speak to be classed as a hyperpolyglot. Some put it at six, but having been to a Polyglot Gathering where I’ve heard people say, “I ONLY speak six languages”, I suspect it’s rather more than that; but whatever the number, Richard definitely qualifies.

In Richard Simcott: Y dyn sy’n siarad 25 iaith yn rhugl it explains that he has studied around 50 languages, but now speaks about 25 fluently. Interestingly, it was growing up close to the border with Wales and seeing bilingual children effortlessly switching between Welsh and English that helped to start Richard off on his journey of language-learning.

One of the points he makes in the article is how important it is to practise a new language as much as possible. To keep up his Welsh while living in Macedonia, for example, he tries to think in the language, and he listens to other languages every day.

Richard is also a user of the new app, Amikumu. This is available for Android and iOS, and can help you find language-learning partners in whatever language you want to practise.

It’s particularly useful to people learning Welsh in areas where they aren’t surrounded by Welsh speakers – both outside Cymru, and in parts of Cymru where English is dominant.

Here is a screenshot of Richard’s profile. You can only see the top 18 languages here, but Cymraeg is amongst them – not one that he considers he speaks to advanced proficiency, but certainly no longer a beginner.

How good it would be to travel all over the place – both within Cymru and to other countries – and find speakers of Cymraeg wherever you go.

The more people register to use Amikumu, the more possible that will be.

 

 

Busy Times!

‘It never rains, but it pours’, they say. I’m not sure that really applies in Cymru as it mostly seems to drizzle very lightly here, but when it comes to working as a freelancer it’s certainly true.

There are times when I don’t seem to have enough work coming in and I start wondering if this freelancing lark is such a good idea, but lately it’s been more a question of ‘where can I get some extra hours to fit in all I need to do?’

Still, I’m not someone that likes to sit around twiddling their thumbs, so I’m not complaining. And I think I’m on top of everything now! Unless one of the agencies that sends me work produces something else out of the blue.

One of the work tasks I’ve had recently was hardly work at all – more an excuse to speak Welsh all day and enjoy seeing others becoming Welsh speakers. I was up in Bontnewydd, observing and helping out while four Welsh learners submitted themselves to a 10-day intensive Welsh course run by SaySomethinginWelsh and not only lived to tell the tale, but came out the other end as very competent Welsh speakers!

Next month will be my turn – my first time guiding another four people through their paces – and I’m really looking forward to it!

logoBut before I get to that I have another couple of language-based events to take part in. Amikumu is now available with a Welsh interface and is starting to take off, with more and more Welsh speakers of varying levels joining. Next weekend I’ll be heading over to the one-day Welsh school in Derby to tell all the participants about the app, and I’m really hoping I’ll be able to test it along the way by meeting up with a Welsh Amikumu user or two.

After that, I’ll be down in Caerdydd for a few days – catching up with friends, but also helping out with a SaySomethinginWelsh promotion event. So exciting!

So yes, finally after a lifetime of passion for languages, I’m finally starting to get somewhere!

And my dream of being a polyglot is starting to take shape as well. I’m having Skype conversations in German and French, and listening to the news in Spanish every day, plus reading in Esperanto and Welsh, and dabbling a little with Duolingo Swedish.

Now, shall I learn some Portuguese before I go to the Universala Kongreso de Esperanto in Lisbon next year? Silly question – of course I shall!