Interview with Steve Kaufmann, Founder of LingQ – BigBong

Interview with Steve Kaufmann, Founder of LingQ – BigBong


Hi there, BigBong here! If you are following me, then you probably heard me speak about LangFest What can I say? It’s a great event! And I just can’t stop promoting it! Anyway, on this occasion, I had the chance to meet for the 3rd time actually a well-known personality in the language community I’m talking about Steve Kaufmann also known as the Linguist who is the founder of the very useful app LingQ We had time to sit down and have a little chat about his speech So I thought, why not share his wisdom with you guys? Here we go! I’m Steve Kaufmann and I am co-founder along with my son Mark of LingQ And we handed out some LingQ T-shirts here at LangFest And I have a YouTube channel Most of my career, I was in the wood business But over the last dozen years or so, I’ve been very interested in languages, both in terms of learning them myself and also in working with my son to develop LingQ which is a language learning platform and community Of course, it’s called LangFest here, right? But it started out calling itself, the North American Polyglot Symposium which is a bit of a mouthful for most people But it still gathers together a lot of polyglots so it’s always impressive to meet people like… You who speak so many languages And it dawned on me that in today’s world the resources that we have you know, ranging from online dictionaries to mp3 players to the ability to read newspapers from around the world to watch Netflix movies from around the world Again with LingQ, we have the ability using our browser extension to import anything, including Netflix movies on YouTube with their subtitles In case of Netflix, we don’t get the video and the audio but we get the text right? so that you’re exposed to this tremendous amount of content In the olden days, like I was saying, I grew up in Montreal even in Montreal, we had the English-speaking part of Montreal and the French-speaking part of Montreal and those of us who lived in the English-speaking part of Montreal we had no idea, we had no friends, no contact with the French-speaking part of Montreal So it’s like totally separate And now Montreal is more of a mixture of everything And I think the world is going that way So I think the traditional model of just learning one language and teaching these languages the traditional way with indifferent success… certainly in the case of the English language school system in Canada, which is rather pathetic So the model should be rather developing poyglots Developing people who can at least understand two or three or four languages which is very doable and with no pressure to perform no pressure to get it right And if people have good comprehension of 2, 3 or 4 languages they will eventually be able to speak those languages or they might get interested in learning some other language but at least, you’ll have something Because if I look at, say in Vancouver where I live Forget French emersion where they do come away with good comprehension but in the regular stream they might just as well have not done French for 10 years Whereas I believe we should change the you know, the approach And go to how do we cultivate more polyglots? And I don’t think that people who are polyglots which is a bit of an intimidating term, as a linguist I don’t think they have any special genetic predisposition to being polyglots but they’re just motivated So my talk was on what I call “the golden age of polyglots” That’s where we’re heading! Again, I like to experiment because I don’t have to learn a language like if I live in Montreal and I need French then I gotta get a very high level in French So I’m doing 3 languages right now I’m doing Arabic, I started Arabic And then, I went to Persian Because there is many Iranians in Vancouver not so many Arabs Yeah so once I had gone through the difficulty of learning the Arabic script, I may as well learn Persian And then, I started learning Turkish because in fact, my wife started watching these Netflix series in Turkish So I thought that’s kinda neat So I thought it would be fun to do these 3 dominant Middle Eastern languages that have been traditionally you know, connected historically, culturally, geographically And it’s an interesting experiment and I’m going through three months on one, three months on the next three months on the next and back again So that’s what I do Cool, well thank you very much for your time Not at all! Enjoy LangFest then! Yes absolutely, thank you! Thank you so much for watching If you’re interested in Asian languages and more particularly Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese then you should definitely check out the interview I conducted with Emmanuel Ternon Actually, I’m gonna meet them both again at the next event for language lovers the Polyglot Conference in Fukuoka, Japan Please let me know if you enjoyed this video And feel free to support this channel by sharing and subscribing

Danny Hutson

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