Why & how I learnt six languages: Hear me speaking six languages. I explain why I learnt these languages and I briefly talk about how I learnt them. I also tell you some of the embarrassing/funny linguistic mistakes I've made while speaking some of these languages.
If you want to hear an Australia speaking six languages, click play!
English subtitles are available. Click "CC" if you are watching this on a computer, and the three dots in the top right corner (then "Captions") if you are watching on a mobile device.
My languages are:
For English lessons, visit my channel, English with Max. All of the videos are free. These include free English vocabulary videos, English grammar videos, English pronunciation videos, English tips, and English listening practice. This channel aims at helping people learn and improve their English - whether they have been learning English for a while or have recently started.
I am a native speaker from Australia. I mainly speak British English.
Australian speaking 6 languages (why & how I learnt 6 languages)
Dear Max, I very much appreciated your presentation. The only language that you and I have in common besides English is Spanish. I was very impressed with your Spanish. Your grammar in general was good as well as your pronunciation. It was very clear and understandable which is a lot more than I can say for a lot of native speakers of Spanish. LOL ! I have studied French, German and Italian previously but not at a very high level. Your French seems impeccable and your accent was suburb. I was quite impressed with your grasp of Indonesian. I was hoping that you would tell us something about the challenge. I have been told that the grammar is simple but the vocabulary is quite foreign. I speak Russian and Czech and understand Slovak and Polish. I would highly recommend to you a Slavic language. It is a challenge to an English speaker person like yourself. The grammar has a case system like Latin but no articles like German. Hooray ! The lexicon is a challenge for the beginner as well as pronunciation. But it is quite worthwhile. Hopefully, in future videos you can share your language learning strategies. I am quite sure that you have a lot to teach us.
Thank you very much for your lovely comment!
Yes, you're right. Indonesian grammar is relatively simple (although it gets more complicated in formal language), but the vocabulary is quite different compared to the other languages I've learnt.
I would love to study a Slavic language at some stage... The only difficulty is finding the time!
In my playlist "English Tips" I share a few strategies for language learning. I hope to add to it in the future!
I've been learning English for a year and I understand a lot in this language. I speak Spanish because is my native tongue and I try to teach to others who wants to do it. And actually I'm learning Italian too, it's a nice language, and I think it's easy for me 'cause is so close to Spanish. I hope learn German too.
I sometimes watch these YouTube channels:
- Falando Nisso
- Hello Rusty
- Speaking Brazilian Language School
I also find the website Lingq.com very useful. There's a lot of free content on it (audio files with transcripts). All the best!
Nossa, nossa! Hahaha.Our stories are quite similar. Because I loved languages, I was aiming at interpreting for a while. Then I realized that headache interpretin causes. I don’t function in two languages. One or the other. My languages are French and Spanish (schooled), Italian, Japanese, 2 ounces of Brazilian pre-Olympics, but mostly spoke Spanugese and a sprinkle of Korean.
Claire Gittens Wow, that's awesome! The worst thing for me was the stress when you weren't actually interpreting ;). I.e. This pressure to be constantly working on your languages and keeping abreast of current events.
I hope you found your calling in something else! 😀
If you live in Singapore or Malaysia, for Asians, it's easy to learn Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, English, Melayu, Bahasa Indonesia at the same time. Majority people especially children fluent in 4 out of 6 of those at the age of 7.
It depends on how intensely you study and what level you're aiming for. If you study consistently and are able to practise your speaking on a regular basis, I'd say you could get quite fluent in 3 years or so. But like I said, it depends on various factors.
Hola ! Ton français est super impressionnant ! Me gusteria hablar un idioma estranjero tan bien como hablas el francés. Ma il mi livello non é tanto buono... neanche in spagnolo che é la lingua straniera più facile da parlare per me. (until now... or maybe is it English ?... what's sure is that I still have a lot to learn in all those languages...) Und meine nächste Zeil ist deutsch zu lernen ! Jetzt kann ich einzigen Worter sagen aber es ist schwierig für mich wenn ich kein Zeit zu denken habe : bref j'ai pas encore assez de vocabulaire ni assez de connaissances pour pouvoir parler allemand... Ton accent français - encore une fois - m'a époustouflée !
For Italian you probably know Sgrammaticando. I personally listen to "breaking Italy" : the language level is quite high and I think I improved my Italian with this channel.
Do you know any YouTube channel in German that could be useful to me ?
Merci beaucoup ! :)
Yes, I know Sgrammaticando, but not Breaking Italy. And since filming this video I've discovered Fun and Easy Italian :).
For German you could try the channel Get Germanized. Some of his videos are in English, but a lot are in German, and I don't think he speaks too fast. All the best with it!
Dein Deutsch ist wirklich sehr sehr gut.... Daumen nach oben, wow. Du hast fast keinen Akzent, obwohl deine Muttersprache Englisch ist, hört man davon fast nichts. Und du sprichst die anderen Sprachen auch toll, ich spreche auch Englisch, relativ gut Französisch und ein bisschen Spanisch.... Weiter so 👍🏻
Your Italian is good! If I heard you but didn't know you I'd say that you're Spanish or Portuguese and that's good because a Latin accent is better than a Germanic one if you're speaking Italian.
Keep it up!
Thank you so much for making this video. I'm trying to learn Russian while improving my English. :-)
This was really cool. I envy you! Working with learning deutsch at the moment and it is quite easy as i already am fluent in norwegian and english which are both germanic languages. The grammer is killing me though, irregular and regular verbs along with how every word has an article that changes and how the verb comes at the end. My father is lebanese so i already speak arabic, can't wait to finish german so i can move onto spanish and japanese!
Thank you for your comment!
I can't think of any specific advice for that. Perhaps you need to decide which language(s) is/are more important and focus more on that/those. Otherwise just make sure that you dedicate some time to each language, and that you use separate notebooks for each language. Good luck!
Would you say its okay to learn a language that doesnt have a lot of speakers gloablly and most people of the country speak English? I really enjoy learning Swedish. Its just such a beautiful language. The music is really good, the pitch accent is so lovely and best of all its a lot like English. But so many swedes speak English really well already? Is it worth it to continue studying it? Or should I put my time into other languages.
Also I just really love your fluency with each language. It inspires me to become a polyglot one day. Its nice to see you do what you love and share with us on youtube. 💕
Thank you very much :).
I'm afraid there's no right or wrong answer to your question. People learn languages for a myriad of reasons. IMO, yes, Swedish probably isn't the most useful language to learn in the world (unless you plan on living in Sweden for an extended period of time), but if you enjoy it, then why stop? The only time I might suggest that someone stop learning a language or put it on pause would be if they really needed to learn a different language (for work, study, migration, etc.). In that case, the language that you're learning "just for fun" might interfere with the language that's more vital, or at least, use up time that might be "better" spent. But if you don't need to learn any other language, then go for it!
Hi Max, I speak Chinese as a native speaker, and learnt English and Japanese. I also want to be a conference interpreter hahah. I admire multi-languages speakers, but could you tell me how you managed to maintain these language levels if you’re not exposed in such language environments?
Hi Becky, thanks for your comment! It's cool that you want to be a conference interpreter :D.
To be honest, all my languages have suffered since I've been back in Australia. And when I was in France, my German suffered (at least my spoken German), and my French suffered when I went to Spain, etc. It's nearly impossible to keep them all at the same level all of the time!
However, I still sometimes read, watch or listen to things in my various languages, and I think by doing that (even if it's not every day or even every week, and it's sometimes only small amounts), I'm able to not forget them entirely. I hope that helps!
I think mastering German grammar is important. And not just learning the rules, but doing drills until they really stick and become automatic. I know some people nowadays think that's old-fashioned and inefficient, but it worked for me. It would also be a good idea to get a speaking partner - they're quite easy to find online these days, particularly if you're a native English speaker! Good luck!
I mix them up sometimes ;). Particularly when the languages sound similar (like Spanish and Italian). I don't think there's a special method for not mixing them up. I think you just need to concentrate when you speak :D.
Well done. Your results are truly amazing!
I'd be really thankful to you, if you could only give tips on how you worked on your accents because you speak like a native. For instance, I'm studying Spanish and live in Spain, my overall level of Spanish is quite good but I still have some foreign accent traits. What did you do to get rid of it? Thank you in advance!
+English with Max many thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it. I totally agree with what you said. Again, thank you very much for your time and advice.
P.S. Yes, you are right. I'm half German, half British)))
I know I don't sound exactly like a native in any of my foreign languages, but when I lived in Germany and was surrounded by the language, people often thought I was German.
I'm afraid I can't help that much... I never made a concentrated effort to improve my pronunciation (except for practising the Spanish R a LOT!). Imitating accents has always come relatively easy to me. I'm also a perfectionist, so when I learn new words, I often repeat them several times.
In my opinion, having a perfect accent isn't important. As long as you're easy to understand, I think having a broad vocabulary is a much better goal.
However, if you're really concerned about your Spanish pronunciation, I'd say just focus on getting the rolled R right, and make sure you keep your vowels crisp. From your name, I'm assuming you're a German speaker. Germans have a tendency to make very rounded vowel sounds (in German, but also when they're speaking English and Spanish). Conversely, you can probably pick a native English speaker speaking German because our vowel sounds aren't rounded or exaggerated enough ;).
My name is Chenelle,
I’m visually impaired, 41 years old and I speak English, Spanish, Russian, French, basic Dutch and basic Italian. I want to learn Egyptian Arabic, Polish, Swedish Japanese and Chinese. I really enjoyed your video it was terrific. I could understand your Italian, Spanish, French and German very well. I too am a teacher of English as a foreign language for young learners and business people.
Hi , I am 48 yrs old man from Iraq, I am native Arabic speaker , I think that I can teach Arabic very well and I need to practice English , I am learning Russian, Spanish, German as well. if anyone has interest in learning Arabic please let me know.
Thank you for the compliment, but I don't sound exactly like a native speaker in any of the languages ;). However, I'm a perfectionist, so when I learn a new word, I normally say it out loud several times, often imitating the audio on something like Google Translate or a dictionary like this:
For English, this is a good one:
I also try to pay attention to the rhythm of a language. I hope that helps!
I speak basic Spanish but would love to get to a high level or speak fluent in Spanish Italian Portuguese.. French and German I find slightly harder to learn? Did you find German and French harder to learn.?
Also how long did it take for you to be able to speak fluently in each language e.g Spanish French and German. ?
Yes, I think French and German are harder than Spanish and Italian for native English speakers, but they were the first languages I formally learnt, so I didn't really think about it at the time :D.
As for how long... it's very hard to say, because I had periods when I was learning quite intensively, and periods when I was hardly doing anything with a particular language. E.g. I started learning German after French, but I got fluent in it faster because I lived in Germany before I lived in France. And now my French is better because I lived in France for longer.
In any case, in general it takes people a few years to get fluent. No one goes from zero to fluent in six months unless they're studying incredibly intensively or they're a savant. ;)
Yeah like she mentioned in the video at the start her English has been altered due to learning so many languages and it’s not just the accent the English language she speaks now sounds a slight bit off, I noticed.
Dear max out of the six languages that you speak i speak 4 of them on a different level except for german & indonesian my mither tongue is spanish,then english is my second language i learned when i was a teenager, italian was my third language inmediately alog with english, my fourth was portuguese &my last was french im still learning building vocabulary on both french &portuguese i want to congratulate you in your accent in spanish, french, italian you sound so native &even though i only know very basic german your german ist sehr gut!!!keep up the great work & eu acho que voce pode falar portugues muito bom!!! What i meant in portuguese is that i think that you can can speak portugues very well,your ability to sound native like luca lampariello is amazing keep up the 👍 work!!!
Thank you for your comment!
I'm very flattered to be compared to Luca Lampariello! There are some people on YouTube who call themselves "polyglots", but don't actually speak their languages very well. Luca, however, is very good!
All the best with your language learning!
You have an excellent pronunciation in all the languages I know... can’t say much about bahasa Indonesia.
How do you work with your pronunciation ? Do you have some tips or suggestions?
Also you can actually speak them, you’re at least b2 in every language ... you might be slow at times but you can really express yourself quite well even in the weaker ones... well done!
Yes I can relate I used to be more advanced in several languages but it’s hard to maintain them all!!
I can definitely imagine that you were once c2, and now just c1.
I guess that for the pronunciation it really helps that you learned some foreign languages rather early on, while the sound recognition skills of children are unrivaled... I learned my second foreign language just at 28...
Thank you very much! To be honest, I don't spend a long time consciously working on my pronunciation. But I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so when I learn new words, I practise saying them out loud (sometimes several times). Nowadays the Internet is also very helpful - there are so many dictionaries with audio files.
Well... I think there's a big difference among my languages haha. I have (or at least HAD) a C2 level in French and German, but I think I'm only A2 in Italian and Indonesian ;).
I find it funny that I hear your French as your native language more than English. My native is Spanish. English second. I'm equally fluent in both. I took French in college and I was able to understand practically everything you spoke in French. Great French accent. Although speaking is more important than having accent at the end of the day. I'm 53 and started learning Russian on my own for a year and a half and I feel that I'm moving along. Not as fast as if with a teacher. So we share the love if learning languages. Me parece que hablas muy bien español. Eso de me pones es coloquial. Mi español es de América así que hay muchas palabras y modismos españoles que no entendemos. Así que ese error le pasa a cualquiera.
Thank you for your comment! Yes, I agree that fluency and breadth of vocabulary are more important than having a good accent :).
All the best with your Russian! From what I've heard, it's not the easiest language to learn :S.
I rly love u fluency in them all but I'd like to add some "error" in the spanish word "Imaginary"
Cuando te refieres a amigo imaginativo suena un tanto extraño dado que imaginativo se suele usar en un contexto concreto "eres muy imaginativo" o "esa gente es muy imaginativa" (más como un primer adjetivo) Entonces el adjetivo más correcto seria "imaginario": Tengo amigos imaginarios, de pequeño nunca tuve amigos imaginarios (no imaginativos, aunque se sobreentiende lo que dices claramente!) (e.g.) [Note: creo que es como el -ing y -ed en ingles al transformar palabras en adjetivos que algunas palabras al traducirlas al español suenan mejor u peor pero se entienden]
Lihe this vid btw!
Thank you, but I actually corrected myself in the video: 13:24
"Imaginative friend" sounds strange in English too. It should be "imaginary friend", just like in Spanish (amigo imaginario).
I was poking fun at my mistake ;).
Deine Kette ist so cool! :) und wow, du sprichst super gut Deutsch, du hast fast keinen Akzent und deine Grammatik ist perfekt. Die kleine Anekdote, die du über den Anruf bei der Polizei erzählt hast, hat mich zum Lachen gebracht 😂✌
Ton français est excellent ! Tu n'as quasiment pas d'accent (parfois on l'entend très très légèrement, mais sinon on pourrait croire que tu es une native) et tu t'exprimes même mieux que certains français ^^ Bravo !
Now I believe that somebody can forget about their languages in childhood. My friend is Australian born and lived there until 6 years old before move to Indonesia, at 13 years he met me in school and he say that he totally forgetted about his fluent english, " LOL it was funny man! How it possible" i said bcoz i didn't believe. Now I believe that after watch your video. Btw thanx XD
(sorry my english is bad)
Ich spreche Deutsch, Englisch, lerne in der Schule Latein, was man ja nicht mehr spricht, und hab gerade angefangen Koreanisch zu lernen. Ich weiß aber noch nicht, ob ich es auch wirklich durchziehen werde, da ich erst 14 bin und mich noch auf andere Sachen, wie Schule und Abi konzentrieren muss. Ich hab auch schon auf Duolingo ein paar Basics in Spanisch gemacht. Mich interessieren auch noch viele andere sprachen, wie Französisch und Italienisch :)
Danke fuer deinen Kommentar!
It's great that you've already started to learn a few languages. I started learning Korean at one stage, because I find the writing system very interesting, but unfortunately I got busy with other things :(. All the best with your language learning!! ❤
Toby Bromfield oh she does - she has what is known as a “neutral” accent. Not like the “strine” (broad) accent you hear in movies... in Australia the broad accent has traditionally been considered uneducated and a bit rough around the edges. It is not always true of course.
Este es genial! Gracias por tu vídeo. Actualmente estoy aprendiendo español y traté no leer los subtítulos 👍
I got a laugh out of your mistakes in the different languages. It’s hard to break past the fear of embarrassment (not the same thing as embarazada as I found out 😂) when learning a new language. In my 30s, seriously attempting a new language for the first time in my life I have a newfound respect for those that deal with talking outside of their native language and comfort zone. As an Australian living in a town that attracts a lot of migrant workers, it has taught me to be much more patient. They are braver with their broken English than I am with my spanish! X
Je suis tombé sur ta vidéo par hasard, et je suis vraiment impressionné ! Tout d’abord, bravooo ! c’était un réel plaisir de t’entendre parler toutes ces langues. Et merci, car tu me motives à en apprendre plus sur les langues.
16:17 was my favorite part of this entire video
I actually loveeee that song and it became a big push for me wanting to learn Brazilian Portuguese
I mostly study French and have take a german class (My gma is from Bremen, Germany & failed to teach me lol)
Mostly, I would love to learn Japanese as well
I would be very happy to accomplish all 4 of these and maybe later adding some other cool, fun ones like Arabic or something
I'd love to learn a language like Japanese or Mandarin as well :). I've never learnt a language with a different script / writing system and I think it would be fascinating! It just sounds like it would take so much time 😨.
All the best with your language learning!
Btw, if you don't know it already, a great site for learning languages is lingq.com. To use all the features you have to pay a subscription, but I just use the free parts ;).
i would like to speak german also as i am basically busy studying french french on my own i a country where no french speakers are around but portuguee speakers are in abundance but i have no interest in speaking portugeus any tips on learning french
Hmm... tips for French... It can take a while to get your ear used to French because the words flow into one another so much. I'd recommend doing a lot of practice, particularly while reading the transcript or subtitles. Good luck!
Just amazing! I admire you! I would be interested to know your opinion. Do people need special abilities to learn the language? Is it related to heredity? in your family there are still polyglots, except for you? is the main condition of communication with a native speaker? and finally, can a person learn a foreign language on his own? your videos inspire me to learn English)) My native language is russian.
Thank you very much!
I don't think you require any special abilities, but it's definitely easier if you like learning languages (you'll probably study more because it doesn't feel like a chore ;)). Interest and curiosity are much more important! And no, I don't think it's genetic either ;). I have a few relatives who speak more than one language, but they're not as interested in languages as I am. Plus I know people who speak several languages whose relatives are for the most part monolingual.
Finally, yes, you can learn a foreign language on your own! Particularly nowadays with everything that's online. But if you can, I would try to find a speaking partner. All the best!
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