Learning a Second Language….. and a Third….. and a Fourth…..

Do you know who Ioannis Ikonomou is?  I didn’t either – that is, until I ran across an article about one of the smartest living human beings.  Most of us would consider speaking a second language as a great feat.  A third language? Incredible.  A fourth language?  Impossible.  Not Ioannis Ikonomou.  This 46-year old Greece-born, world-citizen “feels comfortable” speaking and communicating in 32 languages.  That’s not a typo – 32 (as in thirty-two).

As a native Grecian, his mother-tongue is Greek.  He began learning English when he was 6 years old.  After English came German…  Then Russian…  Italian…  Turkish…  Arabic…  And so the story goes.  Ioannis is now employed as the only in-house translator for the European Commission of the United Nations.  He spends about half the year in Beijing, China as a representative of the European Commission.

What does this mean for the rest of us?  Are we to find the story of Ioannis as encouraging or discouraging?  I say that we ought to be encouraged, and here is why:

  • Mr Ikonomou is amazing, but he is still a human being.  If he is capable of learning 32 languages, shouldn’t I be capable of learning at the very least, a second language, and maybe even a third?
  • His second language started when he was 6.  He is now 46.  That means 40 years of dedicated language-learning.  What’s my point?  My point is that this isn’t a race.  You don’t have a deadline for learning that language that you’ve been working on (unless you’re moving to Costa Rica at the end of the month – odds are, you aren’t).
  • “There’s really no hard or easy language to learn,” he says. “Anyone can learn a language if they fall in love with it.”  He goes on through-out the article explaining that his single greatest key to success is falling in love with the language.  That makes sense.  Everything from using it daily, learning the culture, eating the food, watching TV and reading in that language, and eventually dreaming in it.

It’s possible – as long as we fall in love with it.  I completely agree.  I’m bilingual and working on my third – the periods of the greatest success come at times when I’m genuinely interested in the language itself, not just in learning the language.

This blog is hosted by LearnALanguage.com– a site that is dedicated to helping people from all around the world learn languages, all for free.  The learning material is here, but that’s not everything that you need.  My challenge to you, is to dive in and don’t just learn the language, learn about the language.  If you’re learning Russian, do some research on Russia: the weather and seasons, the culture, the food – you can even download a recipe and try it at home.  If you’re learning Spanish, study the several countries where Spanish is spoken and find out about the people who use these languages.

Learning about the language and those who use it will help us to become better learners of the language itself.

Comments 15
+ Add Comments
  • Andrew Weiler October 7th, 2012 at 00:29

    Without any doubt at all, loving the language toy are studying is important, maybe even necessary for most people. However there are other requirements to be successful at learning another language. So many people try and the reality is that the vast majority do not succeed. One reason is that they go about it in the wrong way. Just try drinking soup with chopsticks and see how successful you will be, even if you love soup! Soon you will grow to hate it UNLESS you change your tools and methods!

  • George M February 20th, 2013 at 10:09

    Once you learn one langauge,learning a similar language is much easier, there is so much that transfers between Spanish and Italian that learning one is like learning the other.For example, I didn’t realize that Rumanian was also similar to Italian. The difficult part can be getting that first language under your belt. George

  • rocket spanish May 2nd, 2013 at 18:39

    if you learn with passion
    then you will easy to learn it

  • Ashwin kumar October 20th, 2018 at 01:27

    Thank you so much to share this Homepage address where i get to know how to remove bing web browser history permanently delete bing history this tutorial will helps you for free and online any time.

  • www.fincreditservice.com/ January 28th, 2019 at 09:16

    These reports are updated weeklky and there is no charge for this service either.

  • Raymond January 30th, 2020 at 04:08

    I like it

  • Tracy Hoggard January 30th, 2020 at 04:10
  • cophokex March 12th, 2020 at 04:45

    Preparing a child for learning a new language is an important task for parents. To do my homework, my parents used the online writing service http://www.papersowl.com. This is an educational website where professional writers can help write any paperwork. I think it will be useful for students in schools, colleges, and universities. You can spend more time on your hobbies.

  • M VIKRAM May 4th, 2020 at 10:09

    I want to learn spanish Language within 2 months is it possible.

  • Joey Mendola December 29th, 2020 at 20:15

    Kami menyediakan Jasa Pembuatan Kolam Renang, Renovasi Kolam Renang & Perawatan Kolam Renang sudah berpengalaman dan diketahui oleh masyarakat … lihat https://mozaik.jabodetabek.my.id/2020/08/jual-mozaik-kolam-renang-kemayoran.html untuk info paling update

  • Alfred Chamblin January 4th, 2021 at 00:46

    Cubicle Kamar ialah salah satu yaitu kamar kecil berkesan modern dan elegan yang terdiri dari partisi-partisi yang terhubung dengan aksesoris … klik https://partisi-kamar-mandi.blogspot.com/2019/08/cubicle-toilet-phenolic-bandung-murah.html for detail.

  • Jinny Durol January 6th, 2021 at 21:06

    Are you currently searching for car towing service in Indonesia? You’re in luck because alat.berat.id provides all forms of towing in Indonesia. tap https://carcarrier.netlify.app/car-carrier-bali-bandung.html for detail

  • Noah Mcardle January 10th, 2021 at 16:48

    Tegangan tekan pada permukaan kaca temper mengandung kekurangan, sehingga mencegah perambatan atau pemuaiannya, info lebih detail https://railing-kaca-murah.blogspot.com/2019/09/jual-railing-kaca-tempered-1-lebak-0822.html

  • Esteban Ballow January 22nd, 2021 at 04:51

    KontraktorEpoxy.co.id a number one maker of niche adhesives for use in sophisticated engineering applications. The sides’most important organizations in the electronics… click https://catepoxy.jabodetabek.my.id/2020/08/jual-cat-epoxy-bogor-timur-081297462407.html for more detail.

  • Carlos Pascuzzi January 25th, 2021 at 20:59

    DistributorPintu.com, leading manufacturer of high grade high quality door products. With many years experience with constructing and then manufacturing, click https://supplierrollingdoor.blogspot.com/2019/09/jual-pintu-rolling-door-bergaransi_9.html for detail.

Add comments