In English Please – Blog

Activity of the Week

(leave your answers as a comment!)

Watch the video and read the text.

How do you become fluent in 11 languages?

Twenty-year-old Alex Rawlings has won a national competition to find the UK’s most multi-lingual student.

The Oxford University undergraduate can currently speak 11 languages – English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian.

Entrants in the competition run by the publishers Collins had to be aged between 16 and 22 and conversant in multiple languages.

Alex drew on all his skills to tell BBC News about his passion for learning languages and how he came to speak so many.

How many languages do you speak?

Why do you think some people are better than others at learning languages? Is it nature or nurture?

This entry was published on February 24, 2012 at 13:11 and is filed under Home. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Activity of the Week

  1. This is amazing!
    I speak only two languages (Arabic and English). I speak a little French. I have been studying French for more than a year now.

    I think there are many factors involved when talking about human capacity to learn new languages. I think age is one of them as I really think when you are young you can learn a new language much faster.

    Also if you lived or even visited the country itself, of the language you are studying, it really increases your chances to practice the language and have people/friends, who you can still contact even after your trip is finished.

    Good hearing and memory are also important. A friend of mine used to play a musical instrument when he was a kid. He said that he could hear any piece of a certain music only once and he was able to play it again! no matter how hard it was, he was able to remember it all. He said this has helped him learn new languages!

    • Hi Ahmad! Your friend sounds documentary-worthy 😉 We would say your friend “learns by ear” ( )

      How old were you when you started speaking English? (I notice many Jordanians have a very good level of English, do they start teaching it very young in school?)

      • Hello again,
        Good to know.. This is a new word/term for me. I’ll keep it in mind.

        In fact, when I was at school, they used to start giving English lessons when you are in the Fifth grade only. But because I loved languages ever since I was a kid, I started one year sooner with my sister Ola who is one year older. I used to study with her in her books 🙂

        Right now, they give English lessons in KG! Other taught languages at schools are French and Spanish but these are only given in private and sometimes expensive ones.

  2. in private schools I mean

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