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No need to be a polyglot. Just be passionate.

March 13, 2011 in Thoughts and ideas

You don't need to be a polyglot. Just be passionate

I haven’t published as often as I imagined I would. The reason for that is simple and no, it’s not laziness. Honestly. It’s perfectionism. I’ve made the most banal mistake there is when it comes to writing and, more specifically, blogging. Do not spend too much time polishing the writing. Don’t do that. Even I, the most unexperienced writer on the planet, can tell you that. Just put it out there.

I looked at the blog stats for the first time in several months and was surprised I still have readers. Thanks for having faith in me and rest assured, I am not going anywhere. I enjoy working on the blog and intend to add new dimensions to it. And do something about that non-existing logo. Now, let’s talk about languages.

When I have “officially” set myself upon a path of language learning, I had no long-term goals whatsoever. Many argue that this is a dangerous road, the one that could end in a dead alley, and I am inclined to agree. When there is no end in sight, how will you know you’ve reached your destination? Or that you are still even on the right track?

Inicially, learning languages was the only thing that made sense for me at the time and I just went along with it. Thankfully, many wonderful people showed me much clearer goals one could have for language learning and in turn helped me to shape my own. I am no longer fascinated with an abstract idea of becoming a polyglot and thankful for that.

It is a dangerous aspiration – to become a polyglot for the sake of it and here’s why: there doubtfully will be any kind of real, tangible reward for doing so. However you look at it, in the end of the day the language is for communicating. The more of them you just learn, the more anti-social you become. That’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? I might be terribly wrong, since I cannot in good consciense call myself a polyglot. I am bilingual at best. Well, maybe bi-and-a-quarter-of-spanish-lingual, but that’s about it.

In fact, I think “polyglot” is a useless term. There are people out there who study how languages work. They are called linguists. I was one not so long ago (heck, I even designed a declarative language as a part of my thesis), but not anymore. If there was just Spanish, I wouldn’t care in the slightest about it.

But I am fascinated beyond measure by the culture. I can listen to fast-paced, trilling, emotional, melodic speech for hours. I look forward to the day when I will be able to enjoy one of the greatest masterpieces of Spanish literature, Don Quijote de la Mancha, in its original tongue. I dream day and night of going to Buenos Aires and diving into its culture (I have never dived into anything before, barring some unfortunate shower incidents, so this goal is of utmost importance to me).

The language will open to me these opportunities, and for that I appreciate it in a way I have yet to put into words. We don’t need to be polyglots. We need to be passionate. And the languages will come to us.

Passion is invigorating. But dangerous. My language learning was very spontaneous and inconsistent recently, because I haven’t set the proper goals. They are still quite blurry.

This needs to change. The concept of challenges and missions is quite popular, so I will go with what have shown prominent results. I am still pondering on the specific ideas of what would be fun to do, but will certainly decide until the end of this week. Plus, I need to come up with some kind of thingumajig to let these missions shine brightly and proudly.

The blog will gradually evolve too, beyond simple “essays on languages and language learning” and into something more fun, fascinating and dynamic for me to do and for you to take part in.

Stay tuned for this and more. And do share your thoughts and passions. I have yet to abandon the hope of getting an actual comment on the blog!

Roman D.

passionate photo by juhauski72

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia March 14, 2011 at 00:34

I like this point of view, which is probably why I’m only really passionate about Spanish, and desire to learn a little German: culture.


Roman D. March 15, 2011 at 00:36

Thanks for your reply, Cynthia!

I am glad that you like it and most certainly understand you. For me, Spanish language and culture are connected directly to passion. Music, literature, dance… At this stage, I really can’t imagine one without the other.
I hope that the German culture will present you with many surprising opportunities and discoveries :)


Randy March 19, 2011 at 04:11

Yes! Yes! Yes!

As you probably know, I’m fond of saying exactly these things! Aspiring to be a polyglot is a stupid endeavor. Language is for communication. It’s a means, not an end.

Good stuff here!


Roman D. March 19, 2011 at 14:07

Thanks for your comment, Randy!

I am glad you liked the post. I believe that your blog was the one (or, at least, one of the first) that really pushed me to rethink my approach towards the whole business of language learning. So, thanks for that as well :)


JenC March 27, 2013 at 00:58


I stumble upon your website searching for entries of polyglot. One thing really rings true and I cannot agree more!! which is the bottom line is passion & communication.

I myself speak 6 languages, yes quite the polyglot. I’ve never set myself to do that particularly, it just happened as I grew up in a bilingual country (Taiwanes & Mandarin), then immigrated to another bilingual country (French & English), then did an exchange studies & dated in Europe (German) and then took a sabbatical in Latin America (Spanish).

As an immigrant, language learning was a survival and competitive issue. Then, it became a curiosity and because it was never a “big deal” learning a new language, it seemed like learning how to drive. It just becomes second nature.

German was… a personal challenge, and again a survival instinct as well. I’ve always wanted to feel like I can hold my ground and be independent and not rely on others. However, when I started to date a German, it was about getting to learn and communicate better with his family and learning the ‘experience of being a German’ sort of speak.

Spanish learning was a beautiful experience. It is a beautiful language to listen to, to talk, and to sing! It is the first language that I’ve learnt out of real PASSION! Because I wanted to get to know why are these latin folks so affectionate, so approachable, so endearing, so full of life! I wanted to relate to them, to understand them, to get closer to them. And what better way than to learn Spanish? :)

ok last but not least, it is also interesting to note that with every language that I speak, I do change my tone and a personal touch… and that comes with the languages’ culture! I am more energetic when I speak Spanish than when I speak German… it’s like an impersonation process!

Keep up the good work!


Roman D. April 21, 2013 at 00:38

Hey Jen!

Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate your comment. Life hasn’t allowed me to be active around here lately, which is why I even more glad to see people commenting and sharing their stories!

I have to agree with you. As you pick up more languages, it becomes a part of you, a habit, something you do everyday like brushing your teeth. Picking up Spanish and then Portuguese was an adventure for me. Now that I have gotten used to the process and eradicated any doubts or fears about learning a language from my mind, I hardly ever stop to think about it in terms of challenge.

You’re also right on track about behavioral changes when it comes to languages. It comes with the territory, I guess. When you pick up the language, you cannot help but immerse yourself into the culture and pick up things along the way, since expressiveness of a language goes way beyond words and grammar structure.

Hope I’ll get back to writing soon and there will be new experience to share and discuss :)



lames May 8, 2014 at 11:33

great post glad i found your blog.


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