I just tried to visit the book and discovered the previous link is broken due to the appearance of a new edition. They should really replace it or redirect it somehow with an explanation, but instead it’s just broken.
Anyway, the 2nd edition of Polyglot: How I Learn Languages by Kato Lomb is available at that link, as I discovered on the TESL Journal Books webpage
yeah, there really is no big short cut to any good accomplishment and learning languages, learning multiple languages, is no exception. A lot of it is still ‘by the sweat of your brow’, though she also has some helps as to how to focus your intention, and like other language learning gurus, suggests focusing on studying the language, its words and sentence structures, in context instead of simply learning grammar rules and lists of vocabulary, which seems to be the prevalent language learning technique worldwide.
I’m about half-way through, and have to say, Polyglot: How I Learn Languages is a very easy read* and has some good helps and some interesting observations. I’m loving all the Hungarian examples – bonus of the writer’s nationality. I wouldn’t say so far that most of her advice is really earth shattering, nor is it very detailed. I do think it will be helpful in thinking about language learning from a different angle. Combined with Barry Farber’s How to Learn Any Language, I think it would be a great way to start a solo language learner’s journey. It would also be a great supplement for the serious language student studying in the classroom.
*although this sentiment may have been affected in part by my reading of another linguistics book which is a sit-down-and-really-make-yourself-focus type… even though much of what he’s said so far I learned in linguistics classes in college. Let’s just say, I’m not enjoying this other one as much… yet (I hope). It’s The Power of Babel by John H. McWhorter
I thought it was the title of an article I’d come across by a Hungarian polyglot, but it turns out the article is titled Polyglot: How I Learn Languages, and said Hungarian polyglot is Kató Lomb. I went through a panicky few minutes because I thought, between 2 separate computer crashes over the last few months and the virus infestation and later loss of my main flash drive, I had lost this article FOREVER (imagine voice echoing down a long tunnel with a short sob at the end – that was me! ;) ). It was nice to look it up again and rediscover some of the facts about the author which first drew me to this article.
In my search I also came across another potentially interesting and helpful article by a polyglot, the not too humbly titled, Becoming a Notable Polyglot: My Journey in Developing Greater Foreign Language Proficiency by a guy named Eddie Donovan (I haven’t read it yet, so I have no idea as to its value or the background of the writer, but it looked interesting anyway).