The 14 Best Polyglot YouTube Channels to Inspire Your Language Learning
Becoming a polyglot is, to put it lightly, a big undertaking.
For any language, no matter where you’re at in the language learning process, you’ve got grammar, vocabulary, slang and idioms to fret over.
But the challenges you’re facing now have all been dealt with by the rest of the world’s polyglots.
And, thanks to modern technology like YouTube, you can learn from the best on how to deal with these struggles.
- How YouTube Polyglots Will Inspire You
- Need Inspiration? Follow 14 of the Best Polyglot YouTube Channels
How YouTube Polyglots Will Inspire You
Sometimes becoming a polyglot can seem like an intensely challenging task. It’s not just about achieving those wild learn term goals of yours — even just getting started can feel like a major feat. In need of some inspiraption? Here’s what you’ll find in the videos by the best YouTube polyglots.
They make it look so easy.
You can easily let yourself be fooled by how easy these linguaphiles may make it look to master foreign languages. Watch the foreign words effortlessly roll of their tongues, and be amazed by their seemingly natural fluency. Pay close attention to their prowess.
Now realize: these aren’t special, genius human beings (eh, maybe a couple are). They don’t belong to a race of hyper-intelligent extraterrestrials. They’re just real people with real passion for languages. Just like you! And if they can do it, so can you.
Their experiences are full of valuable information.
They share their mistakes, fumbles and personal challenges with transparency and honesty. Learning another language is by no means effortless, and the language learning pros below make this clear.
They’ll take you along for the ride and describe their major ups and downs while learning. If you listen well, you’ll be able to pick out all kinds of great information. Learn from their mistakes. Learn from their successes. Learn from everything they post!
Satisfy your linguistic cravings.
You’re yearning to have 12 languages swirling around in your brain. Imagine how amazing it would feel to be able to converse fluently in all your target languages? Whether you’re suffering a linguistic road block, or just need a break from memorizing all of those irregular verbs or tricky grammatical patterns, these polyglot videos are sure to hit that sweet spot between invigorating and satisfying.
But be warned! You probably won’t be able to watch just one. These polyglot sensations are so inspiring you won’t be able to help but binge watch the YouTube channels below.
Need Inspiration? Follow 14 of the Best Polyglot YouTube Channels
The most well-known YouTube polyglot on this list, Benny Lewis, has an infectious attitude about language learning that makes his linguistic success a no-brainer.
With videos about all aspects of the language learning process and living a nomadic lifestyle, Lewis is the poster child for polyglot expats everywhere.
Perhaps the most elucidating part of Lewis’s channel is that he presents his viewers with intimate videos of the early stages of language learning–usually involving Skype calls after a few hours of studying a language for the first time. It’s this fearless “Speak from Day One” approach that he practices and preaches, and many of his followers swear it gets results.
Recommended Videos: Benny Lewis at TedxWarsaw, Benny the Irish polyglot speaking 8 languages, Talking only in Japanese after learning it for a week
Need a language master to show you the ropes? Luca Lampariello is an Italian Polyglot who speaks 10 languages and doesn’t mind sharing the wealth.
He insists that language learning isn’t about “hacking,” but instead about obtaining a solid “language core” which comes with studying smart, not hard.
What’s unique about Lampariello’s channel is that much of the content coincides with his blog, as well as focuses on specific tips that can be applied to nearly any language you’d like to learn. Lamperiello’s channel is a delightful mixture of interviews with language masters and personal tips recorded vlog-style.
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Ever wanted an excuse to listen to your iTunes all day? Then Susanna Zaraysky’s your go-to gal.
As an experienced linguaphile (she’s studied about a dozen languages), Zaraysky promotes a musical approach to learning languages and has been featured on big network television channels like CBS, Univision and NBC.
Zaraysky believes that music is the key to language learning because it activates more parts of the brain than traditional learning methods. On her channel, Create Your World Books, you can find dozens of impressive interviews she has done as well as learn about her musical hacks and techniques.
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Olly Richards videos make you feel like you’re having a good, language learning heart-to-heart in the middle of his living room.
Don’t let his calm and easygoing demeanor have you fooled–this British polyglot is intense when it comes to language learning, and shares very specific tips and resources with his YouTube followers. The majority of his videos are under ten minutes as well, making his channel perfect for those who want concise, on-the-go advice.
You can watch his adventures in Arabic week to week, or even let him serenade you with a beautiful Portuguese melody.
If you enjoy Olly’s videos, you may also love his “Language Learning Foundations” video course, which is applicable to any language you want to learn and involves assignments that have you emailing him directly. He also offers a Grammar Hero course if grammar’s your toughest area to master, and a Conversations course for anyone who wants to get speaking quickly.
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If you’re a fan of Benny Lewis, here’s another Irish polyglot whose YouTube page is a goldmine for language learners everywhere.
What’s unique about Clyne’s channel is that although he has experience in nine different languages himself, he focuses his videos around interviews with other polyglots and their experiences.
His ability to listen carefully and without interruption makes him a great interviewer, and he hosts videos with famous polyglot guests like Richard Simcott, Félix Wang and Luca Lampariello, among others. He also gives honest and useful reviews on major language learning courses, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses in a very even-keeled manner.
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Need that extra push? Aaron Myers is an American language coach based in Turkey whose YouTube videos are comprehensive, organized and well-planned.
He really makes you believe in yourself by focusing on the small tasks you can do everyday to make your goals achievable, like retelling a story or reading aloud. If learning a language has got you a little panicked or scatterbrained, Myers is the YouTuber for you.
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Wondering if Emoji is a language? Lindsay Dow is a spunky ball of linguistic energy that can answer some of your sillier language-related questions.
If you’re a fan of how major YouTubers edit their videos, with a lot of randomness and engaging side notes to keep your attention, Dow is the polyglot for you.
She has fun videos on general language topics that will appeal to learners of all languages at all levels. She also shares a lot of her experience learning languages on italki. One of the unique aspects about her channel is that she has a well-curated collection of playlists, from songs in Spanish to TV show intros in German.
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Steve Kaufmann is well known for his online language learning system LingQ, which includes lessons, content libraries and learning tools for many major world languages as well as community support for language learners. But did you know that his YouTube channel has scores of videos?
Kaufmann shares a lot about his personal journeys in over 12 languages, and very specifically shares what tools and practices he uses in his daily life. You can even watch his 90-day Korean-learning challenge day by day, as well as LingQ tutorials for those who want to make the most out of their experience with his program.
Kaufmann also shares a lot of his personal insight and opinions on language learning and broader issues surrounding linguistic pursuits, like life as an older language learner, financial issues as a polyglot and multilingual activism. His videos provide great food for the polyglot mind.
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Humble, talented and intelligent are only a few words that accurately describe Simcott.
His videos provide a uniquely open-minded and unbiased outlook on language learning methodologies. In addition to having many conversations with other accomplished polyglots and language learners, Simcott also provides a lot of motivation and support by being positive and showing the nay-sayers what’s possible.
Simcott’s videos are well-thought-out opinions and advice for would-be polyglots, as well as stories of his personal experiences with one of the 16 or more languages he’s familiar with.
One of the chief organizers of the international Polyglot Conference, Simcott is a key advocate for the online polyglot community.
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Dr. Alexander Arguelles isn’t only a notable linguist for his work in Korean, he’s also known outside of academia for his skills in dozens of languages, including Old Norse and Middle High German.
Arguelles is basically the modern-day Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti. But he’s quick to inform people that his abilities don’t come from natural talent alone–on his channel, Dr. Arguelles shows his viewers the structure of his day-to-day language workouts, which involves many charts, journals and countless books.
His videos range from the academic (histories on certain languages and language families), to the practical (different books and courses and their strengths and weaknesses). Arguelles has also uploaded many of his lectures, which give viewers a taste of the academic side of language learning.
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Ready to level-up? Moses McCormick has a buoyant personality and a positive energy, and he really proves that a social and outgoing approach can take you far.
Considering McCormick focuses on Asian and African languages, his attitude is a great example in taking difficult challenges head-on.
Aside from a smattering of game-related videos, you can find clips of McCormick “leveling up” (AKA finding people in public places to speak foreign languages with) and heart-warming videos of his wife and daughters speaking different languages with him.
Considering he’s a speaker of over a dozen languages, and has studied upwards of 50, you could do worse than to follow McCormick’s tried-and-true approach to language acquisition.
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If you’re prepared to have your mind blown, then watch this teenage polyglot take YouTube by storm and practice one of the 20+ languages he’s studied.
A lover of Middle-Eastern and African languages, Doner knows his way around quite a few European and Asian tongues as well. Check out his series called the “Teen Polyglot Challenge,” which was a contest Doner hosted on his YouTube channel. The entrants were teenagers who had a month to learn a brand-new language and then submit videos showcasing their new skills.
This series, as well as the fun and cheeky personal videos that Doner posts of himself chatting with friends in foreign languages, make his channel fun and engaging to watch.If you can’t seem to get enough of Doner’s videos, never fear. You can check out his TEDx talk, this THINKR profile on his abilities, or this interview with him on The Economist channel.
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Need more mind blowing content by people born within the last two decades? Swaminathan is yet another teen polyglot that will have your jaw dropping.
But it’s not just his command of 11 languages that will have you impressed, but rather his intelligent and well-structured lessons and tips. Swaminathan really understands how to be a student and shares his techniques for memorization, pronunciation and general autodidactic tips. But there’s an interesting twist to his videos–a lot of them are in the foreign languages he speaks! So his channel is especially useful for would-be Spanish, Mandarin, Italian and French speakers.
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Has the travel bug bit you yet? If so, watch Félix Wang: his videos really makes you feel like you’re getting an intimate view of the day-to-day life of a traveling polyglot.
His channel has a home video quality to it, providing a sampling of his personal traveling adventures, conversations and vlog-styled musings which are all very entertaining to watch.
Wang likes to film chats with people he meets from around the globe, sharing adventures in the speaker’s native tongue. After a few of his videos, you’ll strangely feel like you have a new friend you’ve never met. But you’re forewarned, his videos are for hardcore would-be polyglots, because hardly any of his videos are in English!
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The polyglots on YouTube can provide the guidance needed to keep your language aspirations alive and thriving. And, luckily, you can use the very same YouTube platform to put their sage advice to practice!
With its accessibility and limitless content, YouTube has become a popular training ground for language learners wanting to prove their chops on native content. However, while there may be a lot of videos available, not all YouTube clips can give you the study help you need.
Sometimes the videos are too short. Sometimes they have bad audio. And sometimes, they’re just not suitable for your learning needs. You’ll have to rummage around YouTube for the right kind of content for your studies.
To save you time on this, you can try out the language learning program FluentU, which houses a curated library of authentic videos. Each clip is embedded with learner tools, including interactive captions and a multimedia dictionary, to help you learn your target language in context. To reinforce your learning, you can craft flashcards, read vocabulary lists or take personalized quizzes.
Remember that even the almighty polyglots got to where they were after extensive trial-and-error and resilient practice.
Soon enough, you too may join the legion of YouTube polyglots and start making your own videos to help out fellow language dreamers!
Carlo Aaron is a writer, artist and language learning enthusiast who lives on the internet. She’s been featured on xoJane, Skirt Collective and Feministing. Follow her on Twitter.