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  • When I was 21 years old, I could only speak English,

    我 21 歲,我只會說英語

  • which is typical for those of us from English-speaking countries,

    這樣的狀況在英語系國家很普遍

  • and I had many reasons why

    有很多原因

  • this is going to be the case for me for the rest of my life.

    讓我將這個目標訂為我的人生志業

  • And I was very confident of this,

    而且我非常有信心

  • because I had no natural talent,

    因為我完全沒有語言的天份

  • I had a very bad memory,

    記憶力又不好

  • I couldn't travel to the country yet,

    我也無法到其他地方旅行

  • I was too old, I felt too old

    我太老了,至少我自己是這樣覺得

  • and I was sure

    而且我很確定

  • that I was going to frustrate the native speakers

    我可能會使那些說母語的人感到挫折

  • and embarrass myself.

    我自己也會很糗

  • And on top of this, in school,

    最重要的是,在學校裡

  • I did really poorly with languages.

    我的語言學習狀況很差

  • So, I did actually get the opportunity to get into languages

    我真正有機會讓自己沉浸在語言環境中

  • after I graduated at university

    大學畢業之後

  • with a degree in Electronic Engineering,

    我拿到了電子工程學位

  • still only able to speak English,

    但是我還是只會說英語

  • I moved to Spain.

    後來我搬到西班牙

  • And I figured, this is it!

    而我覺得,這樣就可以了!

  • This is going to solve my problems,

    我的問題都會迎刃而解

  • living in the country.

    只要住在這個國家就可以了

  • No!

    才不是呢!

  • Six months later of living in Spain,

    住在西班牙六個月後

  • I couldn't speak any Spanish.

    我一句西班牙文也不會說

  • Now, a sensible person would have given up at this stage

    現在,任何一個理智的人應該就會放棄了吧

  • and gotten the point.

    到了這個地步

  • I'm not very sensible though.

    但是我不是個理智的人

  • So I figured

    所以我瞭解到

  • if I change my approach

    如果改變學習語言的方式

  • and change my attitude,

    並且改變學習態度

  • maybe I can change my language skills.

    也許可以增進語言的技巧

  • And what happened to inspire me to get into language learning

    啟發我開始學習語言的原因

  • was I met a polyglot.

    就是我遇見一位通曉多國語言的語言通

  • A polyglot is someone who can speak many languages.

    這個語言通會說很多國家的語言

  • And the first time you meet someone like that,

    第一次遇到這樣的人

  • you can't help but feel really impressed.

    真的讓我覺得印象深刻

  • Like, for instance there's Richard from the UK,

    就像,有位來自英國的 Richard

  • and there's one video online where he speaks 16 languages.

    網路上有他說 16 國語言的影片

  • Let me just show you a little clip here

    在這邊讓大家看一小段

  • and you can see him:

    你可以看到他說

  • French,

    法語

  • Estonian,

    愛沙尼亞語

  • Czech

    捷克語

  • and Catalan

    還有加泰隆尼亞語

  • which is pretty impressive.

    這真的相當令人印象深刻

  • We also have Lucca from Italy,

    還有一位來自義大利的 Luca

  • and here you can hear him speak in:

    在這邊你可以聽到他說

  • German

    德語

  • and Portuguese.

    和葡萄牙語

  • And we also have Susana,

    還有一位 Susana

  • who goes through here:

    他在這說了

  • Italian

    義大利語

  • Russian.

    俄語

  • And a very impressive video I saw once

    我還看過一部印象相當深刻的影片

  • of this 16-year-old from America called Tim,

    是一位 16 歲的美國少年 Tim

  • goes through 20 languages in one video,

    他在影片中說了 20 國的語言

  • and in this part here you can see him go through:

    這個片段,你可以看到他說

  • Wolof,

    沃洛夫語

  • Yiddish,

    意第緒語

  • Hebrew,

    希伯來語

  • Arabic, Turkish,

    阿拉伯語、土耳其語

  • Swahili

    斯瓦希裡語

  • and Hindi.

    還有印地語

  • So wow!

  • I met someone like this and I was so impressed.

    遇到這樣的人真的讓我印象深刻

  • I thought to myself, "I want to be like that!"

    我告訴自己:「我要像他們一樣!」

  • But the reason I wanted to be like that

    但是我想要像他們一樣會多國語言的原因是

  • is because I wanted people to think I'm smart,

    因為我希望別人覺得我很聰明

  • to be impressed with me,

    別人對我印象深刻

  • and I met this polyglot at the start of my time in Spain

    我剛到西班牙時遇到這位語言通時

  • and with this very superficial motivation,

    當初的動機很膚淺

  • just because it will be cool to learn a language,

    只是因為覺得學習語言應該很酷

  • I failed.

    但是我失敗了

  • So, what I discovered after those 6 months

    於是,六個月後我發現

  • is one of the biggest problems we have in language learning

    通常學習語言有個最大的問題

  • but we don't know it,

    但是我們卻毫不自覺

  • and that's motivation.

    就是學習動機

  • A lot of us start with the wrong motivation to learn a language.

    很多人在學習語言時的動機都錯了

  • We are learning the language just to pass an exam,

    我們學語言只是為了要通過考試

  • to improve our career prospects

    進而讓自己事業發展順遂

  • or, in my case,

    或者,就我而言

  • for superficial reasons to impress people.

    只是膚淺地想讓別人印象深刻

  • And what I've found

    後來我發現

  • is that those polyglots that I've just shown in the video,

    影片中的這些語言通

  • the reason they're learning the language

    他們學習語言的原因

  • is because they're passionate about that language,

    是因為他們對這個語言充滿熱情

  • They're passionate about the literature, and the movies

    他們熱愛這個語言的文化、電影

  • and being able to read in a language

    進而沈浸在它的文字當中

  • and of course to use it with people.

    當然也用於與人相處

  • And when I changed that priority of use in the language of people,

    當我改變學習語言的動機後

  • I was able to learn the languages myself.

    我能夠自學

  • But there are a lot of things that people feel

    但是有些人覺得

  • will not allow them to learn a language.

    還是有很多事情阻礙著他們學習語言

  • So I want to go through...

    我在這裡想要說的是

  • I think there's five, I asked a lot of people,

    當我問過很多人之後,歸納出 5 點

  • there's five major reasons they'd never get into language learning.

    他們對語言學習從來都不感興趣的 5 個主要原因

  • So, let me go through some of these here.

    所以,我們在這裡討論一下

  • The first is they've no language gene or talent.

    第一個原因,他們對這個語言沒有天份

  • No language gene or talent, well,

    沒有語言天份,好的

  • what does that mean?

    這代表著什麼?

  • I mean, sometimes this is actually just a self-fullfilling prophecy.

    這代表了,有時候,這不過是個自我應驗的預言

  • In my case,

    就我的例子而言

  • when I had to learn the language growing up,

    當我長大必須學習語言時

  • or the six months of failed learning Spanish,

    或是學了六個月的西班牙語,還是失敗了

  • it was just me telling myself, "I don't have the language gene,

    我只是告訴自己:「我沒有語言天份

  • so there's no point in doing any work in the language."

    所以我學不來。」

  • Because I didn't put the work in

    因為我沒有投入

  • I didn't learn the language,

    我學不會這個語言

  • it's just a vicious circle,

    這只會成為惡性循環

  • it's all in your head.

    其實要不要學,都是你自己決定的

  • There's no language gene,

    並沒有所謂的語言天份

  • we all have it already.

    我們與生俱來都有

  • But let's just imagine some people who do better,

    但是,讓我們來想一下那些語言學得不錯的人

  • because we see it in school,

    因為我們在學校看到

  • people advance faster than the rest of the crowd.

    有些人就是比其他人學得快

  • So let's say there's some inborn trait

    假設有某些天生的特質

  • to give somebody 20% advantage over the rest of the people.

    可以讓那些人比其他人多 20% 的優勢

  • Good for them!

    恭喜他們

  • But that doesn't mean that you can't,

    但這並不表示你做不到

  • it just means that you have to work 20% harder.

    這只顯示,你必須比別人多 20% 的努力

  • And I've found that, at least in my case,

    我發現的是,至少我自己是這樣

  • when I work harder, I can catch up with the naturally talented

    當我愈努力,我可以追上那些有天賦的人

  • and even overtake them.

    甚至超越他們

  • So, not having talent is not a good excuse.

    所以,沒有天賦並不是一個好藉口

  • The next reason

    第二個原因

  • is that you are too old to learn a second language.

    你覺得自己太老而無法學第二種語言

  • I certainly felt this myself

    其實我也是這樣想的

  • because up to 21, I didn't learn a language,

    因為一直到 21 歲,還沒有學會其他的語言

  • and lots of us feel that children...

    大多數的人都覺得小孩子…

  • their brains are hard wired to learn languages better.

    他們的腦袋天生學習語言就較快速

  • But is it really neurology at play here

    但這不過是神經學的說法罷了

  • or could it be the environment

    也或許是受到環境的影響

  • in which the child is learning the language?

    在什麼環境就可以學習到那個語言?

  • Well, a study at the University of Haifa in Israel

    但是,以色列海法大學的一份研究顯示

  • actually found that under the right conditions,

    事實上,在適當的條件下

  • adults are better language learners than children.

    成人在語言學習上,是優於孩童的

  • It's sound incredible but it's about your environment,

    聽起來有點不可思議,但關鍵是你所處的環境

  • it's about your motivation,

    跟你的動機有關

  • it's about the enthusiasm and encouragement

    跟你對這個語言的熱情與來自於

  • you get from other people.

    其他人的鼓勵有關

  • And when you think of it,

    當你認真思考之後

  • adults tend to be studying dusty old grammar books

    成人傾向於讀那些塵封已久的文法書

  • and doing boring exercises,

    做那些無聊的練習題

  • while children are playing in the language, having fun in it.

    而小孩則是在玩樂中學習語言,樂在其中

  • So I found that when I changed this to live through the language,

    於是我發現,當我改變成從生活中學習語言

  • not making it by studying the language, but living the language,

    不是藉由讀書,而是將語言融入生活中

  • then I was much more successful.

    這讓我學得愈來愈好

  • So you're not too old to learn a language.

    所以學習語言永遠不會太遲

  • I've met people in their sixties starting to learn a language

    我曾經遇過 60 多歲才開始學語言的人

  • and being successful with that.

    而且學得很成功

  • The next excuse people would have,

    第三個人們常會有的藉口是

  • is that they can't travel to the country right now.

    他們現在無法到那個國家旅行

  • Now, maybe 20 years ago this would have been a valid excuse

    現在,也許 20 年前,這也許可以說服別人

  • but nowadays the world is smaller than you think.

    但是現在,世界比你想像的還要小

  • Thanks to the internet,

    多虧網路的發達

  • we can connect with native speakers from across the planet

    我們可以和地球另一端的人說話

  • and you'll see that in a lot of cases,

    你也許會看到很多情況

  • they might want to learn your language,

    那些外國人想學你的語言

  • and then money is not even an issue,

    錢並不是問題

  • because you teach them a little and they teach you a little.

    因為你們彼此可以互相教導學習

  • But even forgetting the internet for a moment,

    甚至忘了你們是用網路溝通的

  • a lot of us live in cities or towns

    我們大多住在城鎮裡

  • that are more international than what we think,

    這些城鎮比我們想像的更國際化

  • and when I was travelling in America,

    當我在美國旅行時

  • I made it to Columbus, Ohio, of all places,

    我走遍了整個俄亥俄州哥倫布區

  • to meet this very interesting polyglot called Moses,

    為了見名為 Moses 的語言通,他很有趣

  • and he does what he likes to call "leveling up",

    他最喜歡做的事是所謂的「向上提升」

  • where he'll go to some public place

    他會去公共場所

  • and just see if he can find some foreigners

    看看他是否能找到一些外國人

  • and practice the language with them.

    和他們練習語言

  • And I joined him when we went to a mall in Columbus,

    我在哥倫布區的一個購物商城加入他的活動

  • and the two of us managed to practice twelve languages,

    我們兩個成功練習了 12 國語言

  • and just here in this clip you can see he goes through:

    在這個片段你可以看到他說

  • Cantonese,

    廣東話

  • and here's Cambodian,

    還有柬埔寨語

  • and you can see that the guy really appreciated him trying.

    你可以看到有一個人很欣賞他嘗試說那些語言

  • So, you can learn a language anywhere,

    由此可證,任何地方都可以學習語言

  • and I wanted to push this to the limit,

    而我想要將它發揮到極致

  • in my most recent project I went to the middle of Brazil,

    我最近去了巴西中部

  • of all places,

    到處走

  • to learn Egyptian Arabic.

    為了要學埃及阿拉伯語

  • And I succeeded,

    而且我成功了

  • because even though there were no Egyptians around me,

    雖然我身邊沒有任何埃及人

  • I got on Skype

    我上 Skype

  • and I talked for one or two hours a day

    我一天聊 1 或 2 小時

  • and I managed to go up towards conversation levels.

    我還進階到會話等級

  • So no!

    所以你看

  • not being able to travel to the country is not a good excuse.

    不能到那個國家旅行並不是一個好藉口

  • The next one people might give

    第四個人們可能會有的原因是

  • is that they've got bad memory for learning all the vocabulary.

    他們記憶力不好記不住所有字彙

  • And this was certainly what I felt

    這也是我感同深受的

  • because when I first tried to learn Spanish,

    因為我第一次試著要學西班牙語

  • I get a big list of words,

    列了一大堆單字

  • I tried to go through them

    試著全部記起來

  • and I forget them very quickly.

    卻很快就忘了

  • But research on memory capacity

    但是記憶力的相關研究

  • has found that

    發現

  • it's better when you revise these words with the right frequency,

    適時地去複習那些單字

  • and there's this technique called

    這個技巧稱為

  • "Spaced repetition",

    「間隔重複」

  • where you revise the word

    當你複習這些單字時

  • just before you'll forget it.

    在你快要忘記他們之前

  • And it looks something like this forgetting curve,

    這個頻率看起來像是這個遺忘曲線

  • the red line is what typically happens

    紅線是代表

  • when you first see a word

    你第一次看到這個單字時的情形

  • but to get it into your head and stuck there permanently

    但要讓單字進入到你的腦袋成為永久記憶

  • then just review it to make sure it goes,

    只要重複地複習

  • like review it one day later, then a week later

    一天複習一次,然後一週一次

  • and then a month later.

    接下來一個月一次

  • And there are apps in your Smartphone

    你可以在你的手機下載這個 app

  • and there's free programs that you can download

    這是免費下載的程式

  • that help you time all of this.

    可以幫助你計時

  • And that's great

    這很棒

  • but you can learn the words

    你可以學單字

  • faster and better if you combine this

    結合這兩個會學得更快更好

  • with an image association technique.

    再結合圖片記憶

  • So, for instance, let's say I wanted to learn

    舉例來說,假設我想學

  • that the Spanish word for "to fit" is "caber".

    西班牙文「caber」意思是「合適」

  • Well, what if I imagine then

    假如我想像

  • that's barely possible to fit a bear in a cab?

    要把熊塞進計程車裡是不可能的

  • "Cab-bear" it's "caber", it's "to fit".

    「計程車和熊」聽起來像是「caber」就是「合適」

  • So you do this for a lot of words

    將這個方式應用到大部分的單字

  • and it actually gets very easy with time

    就會變得比較簡單而且比較省時間

  • and you can learn vocabulary instantly.

    而且你可以更快地學會單字

  • So no, having a bad memory is not a good excuse.

    所以記憶力不好不是個好藉口

  • Next,

    第五個

  • and I think the most important one

    也是我認為最重要的一個

  • that the people always say,

    人們總是會說

  • is that they're going to frustrate native speakers.

    他們會讓母語人士感到挫折

  • And this is just so not true.

    這並不是真的

  • I've been to many places, I've spoken to many people

    我去過很多地方,跟很多人說過話

  • and every time I attempt to use their language,

    每次我試著說他們的語言時

  • they're overjoyed, they're so pleased

    他們都很開心,超級開心

  • that I'm even trying!

    因為我願意嘗試

  • And I just feel like, especially adults,

    我覺得,尤其是成人

  • when we learn a language, we are such perfectionists,

    學語言時,我們常常會變成完美主義者

  • we want everything to be just right,

    我們希望每件事都是對的

  • and perfectionism is a really bad thing in language learning,

    但完美主義其實阻礙了我們學習語言

  • because a language is a means of communication,

    因為語言是溝通的工具

  • it's a way to get to know new people and new cultures,

    是認識陌生人與新文化的工具

  • and when you embrace this,

    當你體會到這個事實時

  • it's okay to make mistakes!

    你就會不在意犯錯

  • And I actually have a goal to make at least 200 mistakes a day

    我有個目標是,每天至少犯 200 個錯誤

  • because then I know I'm getting somewhere,

    因為我知道,犯錯其實是在學習

  • I'm using the language!

    我正在使用這個語言

  • So embarrass yourself,

    所以不要害怕出糗

  • go out there, talk to people

    走出去,跟別人說話

  • it's okay.

    你做得到的

  • When do you think I was learning a language better:

    在什麼情況下你會覺得自己學得比較好?

  • here?

    這樣?

  • or here?

    還是這樣?