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  • Polyglot Beginnings

    Congratulations on picking up "Polyglot Beginnings: How to develop the right

    mindset for learning a new language"

    The book came to life, because I realised how important the beginning of

    learning a foreign language is. It can literally make or break you.

    If you start well and balanced you will become fluent faster than you ever

    thought possible, and you can become a very successful polyglot (speaker of

    many languages) very quickly.

    If you start on the wrong foot, you might give up after 3 weeks and never

    learn a foreign language.

    Scary, right?

    The book is useful for language learners at any stage, whether you are just

    looking to start learning your first foreign language or you have learned

    multiple already.

    The reason for this is that it's never bad to reinforce solid fundamentals for

    language learning.

    During the book you’ll also be presented with how mindset and mental focus

    are key elements to early success in language learning.

    What you’ll discover as you learn about these elements of learning, is they

    are applicable to all areas of life. If you want to become a better golf player,

    or do better on your school papers - the advice I'm about to share with you

    is useful for everything and anything.

    In the back of the book, I'll also share my list of favourite resources sorted

    by medium. This way you can jump straight in to learning after finishing this


  • But first, allow me to share my story with you, this is my own personal

    polyglot beginning.


    This book is about beginning a journey into learning a language, for me

    personally this was also the beginning of getting my life on track.

    In the end of 2013 I was stuck. Feeling depressed and finding myself doing a

    university degree I couldn't care less about. I only did the bare minimum to

    avoid being kicked out.

    Then something changed. I had previously come across the “Internet

    polyglots” but the idea of learning languages as a hobby, and perhaps even

    many of them seemed quite unrealistic for me.

    I didn't have a job, so I relied entirely on the grants provided by the Danish

    government. Now I'm never going to complain about free studying and

    getting paid to do it, but we’re not talking huge fortunes after rent is paid.

    On a cold January evening I was browsing randomly, as I did so often and I

    came across Benny Lewis’ Fluent in 3 Months blog. I spent the entire night

    reading the website from start to finish. We’re talking hundreds of posts.

    I was drawn to his story because some 10 years prior, he had simply left

    Ireland, speaking nothing but English and now he lived in a new country

    every 3 months as well as speaking some 12 languages to varying extents.

    This was exciting to me. Here I was depressed, isolated and without any

    apparent future ambitions.

    Reading Benny’s posts gave me the empowerment to believe that if he could

    do it, so he could I.

    Before I dove head first into being a full-time language learner I took some

  • time to work the idea around in my mind. Two short months after, Actual

    Fluency was born as a way to keep myself accountable.

    I was a serial quitter and I wanted to give myself added incentive to keep

    going when things got tough (as they invariably do.)

    I was following a few other language bloggers and one thing I was noticing

    was that podcasting was very unexplored in the niche. I figured it would be a

    great excuse to ask some of the brightest language learners any question a

    new language learner might have.

    That is how the Actual Fluency Podcast came about. As of writing this book

    I've published more than 50 interviews that is guaranteed to motivate,

    inspire and answer all the questions that arise when talking about foreign

    language learning.

    You can check out all the episodes on ​AFPODCAST.COM

    A year after I started my journey I could successfully converse in two new


    Had I learned Russian and Esperanto to fluency?

    Far from it. But I now had 1 hour talks with my Russian tutor entirely in

    Russian, and I took part in a whole weekend of nothing but Esperanto in


    I know some people are more talented, maybe even faster, at learning

    languages that I am. To me that doesn't matter.

    I didn't know any Russian a year prior, and now I could speak in it,

    understand news articles and even follow along in Russian sitcoms.

    That was an amazing feeling.

    http://afpodcast.com/ http://afpodcast.com/

  • I found a job through the language learning network and quit my dead-end

    university degree I was pursuing just for the government support, uprooted

    from Denmark and moved to Budapest, Hungary.

    All this was made possible by becoming a language learner.

    I'm not saying language learning is some kind of miracle cure for depression.

    I'm not a doctor either so this is simply what worked for me.

    What I can say though is that becoming a language learner literally

    transformed my life and I'm confident it can change yours for the better too.


    Before starting to give advice, tips and tricks on how to get started learning

    foreign languages the best way, it makes a lot of sense to take a bird’s eye

    view and consider the question: Why even learn a foreign language in the

    first place?

    you might be familiar with some of these already, but my hope is that, by

    reading these reasons and benefits before or even during your language

    studies you can mentally boost your motivation.

    And namely motivation is one of the most discussed topics of language

    learning. Without proper motivation it is very difficult to put in the consistent

    time and effort to learn a language.

    Some languages will have more advanced grammar than you are used to

    and some will have strange pronunciation patterns, but the fact of the

    matter is that anyone can learn any language as long as their motivation is


    That’s why this book deals primarily with motivation and mindset. But before

    we look into that, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you would

    even consider learning a foreign language in the first place.

    1. Open your mind to other cultures

    When you start to embrace a foreign language you also start embracing a

    foreign culture. This could start out small as in songs, literature and other

    written texts but eventually you might even go to the country, make friends

    and dive even deeper into the culture of your target language.

    Culture is this esoteric thing that is so massive, it's actually hard to explain.

    It transcends music, food and tradition - it's everything that the subgroup of

    people offer to you.

  • For instance, going to Denmark you might find that Danish people are very

    cold and not very welcoming towards strangers. However, once you start to

    get to know them and take part in their "hygge" - that's the untranslatable

    word of extreme cosiness, like the feeling of curling up in front of a fireplace

    with a cup of hot chocolate - You'll discover that beneath the veneer of cold

    lies a beautiful culture waiting to be explored.

    As far as I'm aware, learning the language is the only way to truly get into a

    country or region's culture.

    Sometimes it starts the other way around. Many people get fascinated about

    manga for example, the Japanese comics and then decide to study Japanese

    to enjoy the comics in their original language.

    However it is also very possibly somebody decided to learn Japanese for a

    different reason (we’ll look into that more later) and then stumbled upon the

    manga, and used it to stay motivated and focused in their learning.

    The point is that it’s very easy to be quite oblivious about how other

    cultures, countries and languages work and operate. By learning a foreign

    language you get tuned into not only how the culture works, but also how

    the people think and express themselves.

    2. Exercise your brain and delay brain degeneration and dementia.

    A recent study published in the academic magazine "Neurology" came out

    with the following conclusion based on a study of 648 people:

    "Overall, bilingual patients developed dementia 4.5 years later than the

    monolingual ones" Source: ​Neurology.org

    That's pretty significant. So the brain gymnastics aspect of language

    learning is definitely not to be ignored.

    http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/11/06/01.wnl.0000436620.33155.a4.abstract?sid=f43530ca-573d-4d57-bd1c-b3dfb1282084 http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/11/06/01.wnl.0000436620.33155.a4.abstract?sid=f43530ca-573d-4d57-bd1c-b3dfb1282084

  • 3. REALLY Talk to more people

    This one is quite obvious. There are still many countries and areas where

    people actually don’t speak English, so unless you learn the language you’d

    have a better c