The Bible of the Language Learners and Polyglots
Most of us are probably at least familiar with some of the "bigger" names in the language community. We hear about them all the time, in numerous interviews or giving talks about how they learned their languages. Some of you will have even met a few of these polyglot professionals at events and gatherings, gotten your favourite dictionary signed by them, perhaps even managed to get an awkward fan picture taken with them.
For every one of those Glotgods, there are thousands of other language enthusiasts who study languages as well, and among them, there are those who might also have achieved a bit of fame or at least abilities in their own right.
Jimmy Mello, one of the big names himself (as in "The Brazilian Polyglot" big) decided to showcase a few of these individuals in his book "The Bible of the Language Learners and Polyglots". In it, we can learn the stories, thoughts, and views of fourteen characters of the community stage: Maureen Millward, Jimmy Mello, Tetsu Yung, Matteo Villarosa, Teddy Nee, Antonio Rivera, Siskia Lagomarsino, Daniel Wieser, Hannah Peek, Bryan Cheung, Sydney Saur, Khady Ndoye, Mark Levinson, and Lýdia Machová.
Each of them contributes something about themselves and their learning experiences. Some talk about what brought them to languages, others talk about their processes of studying. You might know some of the names, might even be good friends with some of them, but I am betting you will learn something new about them. As for the ones you have never heard of, you now have a chance to hear from another enthusiast.
Many of the contributors have their own blogs, websites, or other creations, which are listed along with their texts, allowing for you to read more of their writing or participate in their work. For example, Siskia Lagomarsino, whom we have interviewed for Parrot Time previously, is in here, along with a link to her blog, The Polyglotist.
The name of the book is rather interesting. When not using the term "The Bible" to refer to the actual Christian holy book, it would be applied to a reference book, like "The Plumber's Bible" for those who want to fix leaky pikes. In a way, this is a reference book, but more to people's stories, rather than occupations or products. In that regard, it is closer to the Christian version, which was a collection of "books" written by different religious figures in history.
Jimmy took the analogy one step further. Each person's section is titled "The Polyglot Gospel of... ", and the sections are further divided into "chapters" and "verses". This sounds strange and takes a little getting used to, but once you do, you will find it actually aids in the reading the book. You can also, if you ever feel the need, make direct references to some of the text using the common Bible notation of name and numbers. For example, Teddy Nee 3:9 "It is always fun to learn a new language".
I do have a few problems with the book, however, and they lie mainly in the formatting. My first concern is not having the "books" of the bible listed in order at the beginning. Even if it might not be possible to put in page numbers (something which is meaningless in a Kindle book), it would help with finding who you wanted to read. A list of contributors is given in the acknowledgements, but not in order. I had to manually go through the book and pull out the proper order, which I have given in the list above.
Second of all is the right justification. Now there will always be a debate about which is better for books: having the right margin justified or leaving it "ragged right", with the lines being in varied printed lengths. The main detractor from justification is that, in order for it to happen, extra spaces have to be added in between words in the line. So if, let us say, the line was three characters shorter then the fixed width, three extra spaces would be placed randomly between other words, causing the eye to "trip" while reading. In extreme cases, spaces may even put between the letters of a single word.
Right justification can be acceptable when you have long lines, so that the "tripping" is kept to a minimal. However, in this situation, the printed book is split into two columns on each page, with margins, causing there to be a lot of spaces being placed everywhere. I would have much preferred the "ragged right" method.
Formatting aside, I really enjoyed reading the stories in the book. I learned new things about my friends, was introduced to previously unknown enthusiasts, and was entertained and enlightened by the variety of backgrounds of everyone and their views on languages and learning.
The book is available in both Kindle and printed formats from Amazon and I would highly recommend it to those interested in the people of the language community and not just the languages themselves. You might be surprised at what you learn about them, and yourself.
|Book Look - The Bible of the Language Learners and Polyglots|
All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.
|Letter From The Editor - No Politics|
|Make Your Own Language Group|
|A History of Research in Study Abroad|
|Parrot Time on Patreon|
|Languages in Peril - Sayonara, Ainu|
|At the Cinema - La Coppia dei Campioni|
|Where Are You?|
|Book Look - The Bible of the Language Learners and Polyglots|
|Basic Guide to Romanian|
|At A Glance|
Find previous issues in the archives.
Letter From The Editor - No Politics • Make Your Own Language Group • A History of Research in Study Abroad • Parrot Time on Patreon • Languages in Peril - Sayonara, Ainu • At the Cinema - La Coppia dei Campioni • Where Are You? • Book Look - The Bible of the Language Learners and Polyglots • Basic Guide to Romanian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Hope and Failing • Six Ways To Choose Which Languages To Learn • Learning Spanish - The trials, the tribulations and one triumphant learning hack • At the Cinema - The Last King (Birkebeinerne) • Celebrations - Birkebeinerrennet • Where Are You? • Book Look - Langenscheidt Dictionaries • Basic Guide to Swedish • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Culture and Language, Again • Learning A Language Is Learning Its Culture • Revisited - Early Bardic Literature in Ireland • Languages in Peril - Save Medan Hokkien! • In Others' Words - Ulrike and Peter Rettig • At the Cinema - Monster Hunt • Where Are You? • Book Look - Language Alter Ego • Basic Guide to Italian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - A Kind Word • Language and Power: The Hidden Struggle • 4 Ways To Learn Through Reading • Language Learning is for everyone! • Languages in Peril - The Decline of Sicilian • At the Cinema - The Host • Where Are You? • Book Look - Italian Short Stories for Beginners • Basic Guide to Hungarian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Making it Happen • Motivation - Expressing oneself and the expression of oneself in language learning • Motivation Killers in Learning a Language • Mixing Languages and Relationships • In Others' Words - Brian Powers • At the Cinema - Cutting Room Floor • Languages in Peril - Cyprus' Language Revival Approach Problem • Where Are You? • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - The Importance of Travel • Broadening The Mind Travels The World • The Secret Life of Diacritics • There Are No Wrong And Right Gestures, Only Cultural Differences • Google Translate Exposed: - The Truth Behind Everyone's Favorite Translator • At the Cinema - Queen • Book Look - The A to Z of Learning German • Where Are You? • Basic Guide to Papiamentu • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Free Things • The Cost of Free Language Resources • Review of Polyglot Workshops: Brazil • Easier Way to Learn Languages Fast • Dream, decide, do - tips from a polyglot • At the Cinema - Cambio de Ruta • Languages in Peril - Talysh • Where Are You? • App Rev - Tandem • Book Look - Language Master Key • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Studying in Summer • Polyglot Events All Around The World - You Are Not Alone • Playing Games with Language • Spanish E-training – The 'Big Bang' Investment • Can a Language Die? • At the Cinema - La Casa del Fin de los Tiempos • Languages in Peril - Scottish Gaelic • Words in Your Mouth - Apple • Celebrations - Nag Panchami • Where Are You? • Book Look - Fluency Made Achievable: The Fluent Guide to Core Language Skills • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Sounds Like • How Do You Say It? - A look at sound notation systems • Of Pidgins and Creoles - A look at how some languages are born • Who Are You To Learn A Language? • At the Cinema - Dil Chahta Hai • Languages in Peril - Yumans on the Edge • Words in Your Mouth - Egg • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Breaking with Tradition • Are You Wasting Your Money on Language Classes? • Chatting in Languages Online - Part 2: Voice Chats • Why English Is Different Than Any Other Language • The Digital Language Collective • At the Cinema - Viva La Libertà • Languages in Peril - The Tribes of the Tamil-Kannada • Words in Your Mouth - Rice • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Thirteen • Chatting in Languages Online - Part 1: Text Chats • Why Do People Learn Languages? • The Question Of Practice - An International Language Is Possible • At the Cinema - Chinese Puzzle • Celebrations - Fastelavn • Words in Your Mouth - Cheese • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Over Time • Which Language Is...? • The Ultimate Fate of Language Learning • 5 Funny Words In Afrikaans From My Perspective • At the Cinema - Everybody's Famous! • Word on the Streets - Why Writers are Important • Words in Your Mouth - Milk • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - World Ambassadors • Coming Home to Faroese - The Why and How of Learning a Small Language • Danish and Faroese: A Biography • At the Cinema - Ludo • Basic Guide to Faroese • Celebrations - The Faroese Festival Summer • Revisted - The Faroe Islands • Word on the Streets - Famous Faroe Islanders • Where Are You? • The Grind: Why the Faroese Hunt Whales • The Legend of the Scottish Princess • Faroese Ballads - Nornagest Ríma and Ormurin Langi
Letter From The Editor - Expansion • Religion in Culture • Languages in Peril - Decline of the Gallo-Italics • Language Learning and Translation • Word on the Streets - Italian Greats • Book Look • At the Cinema - Xingu • Celebrations - Hangul Day • Where Are You? • Words in Your Mouth - Bread
Letter From The Editor - Tracing Words • Constructed Languages - Making It All Up • Language Conflicts - Flemish vs. Walloon • Rohonc Codex - Hungarian Enigma • At the Cinema - Il Comandante e la Cicogna - Garibaldi's Lovers • Where Are You? • Words in Your Mouth - Sausage • Book Look • GlobTech - Using Locale
Letter From The Editor - Globalization • Speaking with Aliens • Celebrations - Esala Perahera - The Festival of the Tooth • Language Conflicts - Bokmål vs. Nynorsk • At the Cinema - Pane e Tulipani - Bread and Tulips • Revisited - Words Which Have Changed Their Meaning • Languages in Peril - Keeping Up With The Kartvelians • Where Are You? • Sections - Reviews • Word on the Streets - Indonesian Innovators • GlobTech - Google Translate Section
Letter From The Editor - The Highlander Condition • When Languages Meet • At the Cinema - Mal Día Para Pescar - Bad Day to Go Fishing • Celebrations - Tanabata - The Star Festival • Languages in Peril - The Romanian Relatives • Revisited - Words Made By Great Writers • Where Are You? • Language Learning Methods - Immersion • Sections - Links
Letter From The Editor - Price of Fame • Liber Linteus - Mummified Language • Pencak Silat • At the Cinema - Bombay • Celebrations - Inti Raymi - Festival of the Sun • Cracking the Code • Languages in Peril - The Chibchan Family • Revisited - Words From The Names Of Animals • Word on the Streets - Great German Authors • Where Are You? • Language Learning Methods - Internet • Sections - Neighborhood
Letter From The Editor - Why Polynesian? • Rongorongo - Island Chants • Otto Dempwolff - Islands of Language • At the Cinema - Whale Rider • Celebrations - Pasifika Festival • Special Feature - Avoiuli • Languages in Peril - The Island Invasion • Revisited - Legends of Maui - Maui's Home • Word on the Streets - Malay Masters • Where Are You? • Revisited - Legends of Maui - Maui Snaring the Sun
Letter From The Editor - Linguist or Polyglot • The Phaistos Disc - Puzzle of Crete • Otto Jespersen - Progress of Language • At the Cinema - Kukushka - The Cuckoo • Celebrations - Carnival • Languages in Peril - The Salish Tragedy • Word on the Streets - Kannada Writers • Where Are You? • Revisited - Stories In The Names Of Places • New Souls • Language Learning Methods - Software • Sections - Parleremo YouTube
Letter From The Editor - Freaking Out • The Voynich Script - Cryptic Codex • Benjamin Whorf - Relativity of Language • At the Cinema - Lost in Translation • Languages in Peril - The Polish Connection • Word on the Streets - Romanian Poets • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Holi • A Language Dream • Revisited - Words From National Character • Language Learning Methods - Classes • Sections - Language Exchange
Letter From The Editor - Truth in Advertising • Linear A & Linear B - Lost Minoan • Edward Sapir - Patterns of Language • At the Cinema - Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner • Word on the Streets - Norwegian Notables • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Valentine's Day • Languages in Peril - The Rhaeto-Romance Trio • Revisited - Proverbs • Linguistics Love Song • Language Learning Methods - Books • Sections - Recordings
Letter From The Editor - A New Parrot Time • The Rosetta Stone - Triple Cypher • Ferdinand de Saussure - Signs of Language • At the Cinema - L'auberge Espagnole • Languages in Peril - The Finno-Ugrics • Word on the Streets - The Russian Zone • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Day of the Dead • Revisited - Slang • We Are The Linguists • Language Learning Methods - Audio • Sections - Journals
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