Vladimir the Polyglot




gifted native (2) native language
quite wave (4) know/knew/known
random scale (3) speak/spoke/spoken
cool (3) sound (2) find/found/found
expose in order of think/thought/thought (2)
bit (2) count (3) at the same time
level (3) show off as time went on
literally thing (2) motivation
tap (2) impress sounds like
as if deep (2) for instance
hit (2) crazy (2) happen to be
tap into translate unbelievable
admire frustration make a living
try discipline bachelor’s degree
sort of progress interpreter
guy bachelor set the standards






This is Vladimir.

Vladimir: “And I studied twenty-two languages.”

Most people in the world speak only their native language. Then you have those gifted ones who know two or three or four.

And then you have Vladimir, who can speak over twenty languages, from Mandarin to Farsi.

Vladimir: “Eight of them, nine of them at quite a high level; that would be C1 to C2 for those who are familiar with this scale.”

Vladimir and I are in Budapest, Hungary right now. And he can speak Hungarian, so we’re gonna go find someone random on the street and he’s gonna ask them a question.

Drew Binsky: “Do you think he sounds like he’s from Hungary?
Budapest Resident one: “I think yes.”

Drew Binsky: “In order of fluency right now, what are your top five or top ten languages?”
Vladimir: “Slovak, English. Then Czech I don’t really count, but for me it’s almost the same as Slovak. Mandarin Chinese, I would say Italian, Russian, German, probably these seven . . . and then French, Spanish, maybe Portuguese.”

Vladimir comes from the eastern Slovak town called Kosice.

Vladimir: “That’s the eastern part, the second largest city.”

From a very young age, he was exposed to many languages.

Vladimir: “I went to a Hungarian kindergarten, so I learned Hungarian and Slovak at the same time, basically. And since it was Czechoslovakia at that time, I learned Czech as well.

When I was about seven, I went to the United States, learned English almost as a native speaker.

And then in school, we had to learn German. I learned a little bit of French from the sister of my aunt. So it was just natural to learn.”

As time when on, Vladimir learned more and more languages, not to show off or to impress anyone, but to be able to have a deeper connection to foreign cultures.

Vladimir: “The most beautiful thing about it for me is when you sort of can tap into the culture, when you can experience the cool things that are going on in that culture, as if you were from that culture.

So for instance, we were talking about Eminem, about his hit singles in 2001 or 2. And I happen to be in the States at that time. I remember everyone was just crazy about it, and for me, it was unbelievable to literally be part of that wave.

So there are these moments of coolness in every culture you just don’t know about them because you don’t speak Japanese, or don’t speak Polish.”

Not surprisingly, Vladimir make a living by translating languages.

Vladimir: “I work as an interpreter, and I have a bachelor’s degree in Chinese studies. So I try to set the standards quite high.”
Drew Binksy: “So what’s the hardest part about learning a new language?”
Vladimir: “I think the frustration that comes with knowing nothing at the beginning, and progressing very slowly, and believe that it will eventually get better.

Because I think motivation is the most important thing.”

Vladimir is a cool guy, and I really admire his discipline to study languages, because I know how hard it can be.

If you ever see him on the street, be sure to say “hi” in your native language.

Bye bye. See you later.

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English. The presenter mentions three types of language speakers. Who are they?

French. In the video, Vladimir could perform complex mathematical calculations in his head. True or false?

Spanish. Did he speak Portuguese to a local in Lisbon?

Russian. Vladimir comes from the United States. He was born in the United States. Is this right or wrong?

Italian. Did he learn his first languages all from textbooks, written exercises and taking exams? Is studying hard his secret to language fluency?

German. Vladimir said that he became a polyglot to impress girls. Is this correct or incorrect?

Greek. Is he a computer scientist? Does he work as a computer engineer?


Polish. I can speak several different languages. Yes or no? What languages do you speak?

Who is the language champion among your friends, classmates or coworkers?

Portuguese. Can everyone in your city or country speak English? What languages do they speak?

Ukrainian. Is it important or necessary to know other languages?

Romanian. What is the secret to learning other languages? What’s the best way to master another language?

Czech. What might happen in the future?

Swedish. People should study languages instead of only socializing, partying, drinking, listening to loud music, driving luxury cars. What do you think?

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