Foreign-language speakers under every rock

I learned, from Benny the Irish polyglot, that one can find speakers of most languages in most places if one just keeps looking. Based on that tip, look I did. I now have at least eight native or very fluent speakers of Italian who I see between once and four times per week. This means that every day I am able to converse in Italian with someone who knows the language much better than I do.

Benny was right.


  1. Anonymous10:50 PM

    Great! That's the best way to truly learn a language.

    I picked up a ton of Spanish just from being around Spanish-speaking people while living is SoCal, and I wasn't even trying to learn the language, nor was I really aware that it was happening.

    As it is today, I can often understand conversations in the language, but I can't speak, read, or write it. This is what sparked my relatively recent interest in linguistics, because while I can't translate particular words, I can often get the general meaning of a sentence or phrase just from hearing it, and I found this to be truly bizarre (so I obviously had try to find a way to explain it).

    There are many reasons that I wish that I was still in SoCal, but one of them is the simple fact that I am no longer around very many Spanish-speaking people, thus my ability to understand it is diminishing. I think that if I had stuck around, that I probably would have eventually become fluent.

  2. Anonymous11:15 PM

    I enjoy the Internet polyglot community. I prefer Steve Kaufman's method though. Where do you stand on Benny's "speak from day one" approach as a whole?


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