Today I am going to share with you an interview with Luca Lampariello, a polyglot and an expert on Language Learning. I got to know Luca by accident while I was going through language learning blogs. I got astonished by his personality, skills and approach to language learning (why? Read the article and you will find out!). I have decided – I have to meet him! And what a surprise was when I found out that he was visiting Rome the following weeks! So, here we go:
You are specialising on learning languages. How did you arrive to that?
To tell the truth, I am an electronic engineer. I got this degree as my father is also an engineer and always wanted me to follow his steps. But in the end, if you have got a passion in your life, something what you really like, as in my case it’s languages, nothing can stop you.
Something kept telling me that my path was languages. So when I turned 27 I have decided that I wanted languages to be part of my life. 4 years ago I made a video on youtube and got many positive reactions and I thought may be that could be what I want to do in my life.
How many languages did you know at that time?
8 [Luca was 27 years old].
Now Luca Lampariello speaks 10 languages. Here you can see Luca speaking in all these 10 languages on his YouTube channel.
Where have you lived abroad?
I lived in Barcelona, Spain and now I am living in Paris. I came back to Rome for a vacation. In Spain I was due to my university’s project, but in Paris because of my ex-girlfriend. I did not have a job, then I found that I could do language coaching (!not teaching!), and I also went to interpreting school.
Tell me more about language coaching. I have heard about coaching, but not this type…
A lot of people think that language should be taught. For example, you want to learn Italian. But I am not going to teach you Italian, I am going to show you the best way to learn it yourself. I am giving the tools and mindset to learn the target, general techniques. Coaching means you are not a teacher, but you are coaching somebody psychologically and linguistically. If you had hard time learning the language, I will show you how to overcome it, I will show that it is not that difficult and will show you the steps on how to learn language by yourself.
How did you decide to become a coach?
Sometimes life just says “you can do this”…. Languages cannot be taught, they can be learnt, so from this point of view the only thing what you can do is to help learning the languages. Language learning is just one side of personal development, where coaching can help.
When you moved to Spain and France, did you speak language before?
So language was not a barrier?
It was an advantage to me.
Do you think it is important to know the language before moving to another country?
Yes, if you speak the language and know the culture it is going to help you enormously. If you are going to live fully, then these are the necessary requisites. Of course, you can live years in country, but not fully. For example, inItaly, there are many people who live here and do not speak Italian, and I think they can live much greater life if they were able to speak the language.
What was your greatest challenge?
As far as language concerned it is Japanese, which I am learning now. As far as life is concerned, it is how to make the best of what I love. This is the biggest challenge. You have to find in life what you really love. I love travelling, languages, communicating with people. When you figure out what you like most, you put things together and then search of solution. In my case the best thing in life would be to be able to travel around the world (which I am going to do within a year), using my languages and getting to know the people. I am happy now.
Another important thing is: even if you stay in your own country, to be around many different people, like I am now (surrounded by persons from America, Latvia, Italians, Saudi Arabia, London, Spain). Thus, you can have great experiences in the country where you are staying. But of course, travelling is always better. That’s what I aim at.
How do you pick languages to learn?
Languages pick me. They knock on my door. For example, I learnt Dutch because I met a girl (Italian guys…). Japanese just knocked on my door.
If you were able to give an advice, how would you be able to solve this situation: I have been learning Arabic for few years now, but I am struggling to expand vocabulary and remembre new words.
If you do not remember, then it means it is not necessary for you [and it’s true, I had the same issue with German – I have been studying it for 6 years without remembering more than 20 words, but then when I actually decided that I want to study at university in Germany, I managed to improve my German very fast up to advanced level].
Try to speak. In any situation. Just use the words which you know. Try to do something what is important to you, you probably won’t be able to say it, but it would help the words to stick in your mind.
What is the most difficult language to learn?
Japanese. Before that Russian.
Why did you decide to learn Russian?
It happened in 2008, I have been trying to learn Indo-European languages (Russian is part of them), but I wanted to learn something more exotic, different. Russian was in the middle – not that difficult, but at the same time exotic. The main reason it was interesting.
How is it possible to stay motivated?
Car and fuel. If you have Ferrari, but no fuel, nothing works, car will stop. Having a motivation is a key. If you do not have motivation, tell yourself what you could do if you knew the language. For instance, for Italian men it might be good motivation “in 2 years time you will meet a beautiful Russian girl inRome, so get ready!”. Motivation can change things. It’s not sexist stuff, it is wanting to communicate to somebody else. If you go toRussia and you want to talk to Russian babushka (grandmother/old lady)… imagine, how beautiful it is to ask Russian people about Russian culture in Russian!
As far as motivation is concerned you have to find not one, but several reasons why. Reasons could be: babushka, devushka [Russian: girl], travelling… so many reasons! Language opens doors to a new life, everything changes.
What are the other important parts in learning languages, other than motivation?
You have to work every day. “The people always come up with excuse that they cannot do something”. But you always can find time to do what you like in your life. Going shopping, for instance. For men it could be something different… If learning language is important, then you will find time for it.
Working every day. Could mean even just 10 minutes. Mentally, you could just think in the language.
Do you think each person has its own method?
I think there is no one universal method. I always say if you have learnt the language well, then you have done the right thing in the right time.
I have the method, which works for me and I know it works also for other people. Because it relies on good and solid principles. Different people have different personalities, they learn differently. So invest your time, be motivated and work every day. If you do this, you will end up finding things (i.e. method) you like doing. Important is to keep these ingredients in the recipe. The best friend in language learning is time, yes, not enemy, but friend.
Now you are living in France, abroad. What are the keys to a Happy life Abroad?
The best thing would be:
- To find locals
- Speak the language (if you do not know it, try to learn it)
- Attitude – do not stick to people from your country, try to stay as much as you can with others, force yourself to meet locals. In the beginning it is difficult, like running. But then, every time it becomes easier and easier.
- Explore! Each country has so many things to offer: the culture, mentality, the people who stay in that place.
What are your plans for the future?
I am writing a book on Language learning and how to learn language from scratch using my philosophy and my method.
Thanks to Luca for the interview! You gave me some very valuable tips!
And you, my dear reader, did you find something interesting in this article?
How do you learn languages? Write in the comments! Let’s collect different methods and help each other!
P.S. If you would like to contact Luca for language coaching or to find more information on his methods and personality, please visit his blog: http://www.thepolyglotdream.com and do not forget about that fantastic video, where he speaks in 10 languages!