Interview With Alex Rawlings – Britain’s Most Multilingual Student

Alex Rawlings

Alex Rawlings, better known as “Britain’s Most Multilingual Student,” a title he earned in a competition run by Harper Collins back in early 2012, is a polyglot who speaks an amazing 11 languages (and he is currently learning Yiddish, a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin). This is an amazing feat in itself, but what is even more impressive is the fact that Alex is, as of 2013, only 21 years of age.

Alex shares a lot of great tips for aspiring language learners on his blog, Rawlangs, in addition to interesting travel stories and anecdotes from his language learning journey. Today, I have had the chance to interview Alex and ask him a couple of questions that I’m sure will really come in handy to language learners. Here are the ones I’ve asked him in this interview:

  1. Do you ever think of a sentence in a foreign language in terms of direct translations?
  2. In the intermediate stages of language learning, do you still rely heavily on your mother tongue for translations and dictionary definitions? Would you recommend people to seek word definitions in a unilingual dictionary?
  3. What advice would you give to people who have trouble thinking in the language they are learning, and who have a habit of translating everything back into their mother tongue?
  4. Any other advice, opinion or final word on the issue of thinking in a foreign language and using translations and your native tongue as a crutch? Is there something that has particularly worked well for you?

So I hope you’ll enjoy the advice Alex generously shares with us, and if you feel like any of this might come in handy to other fellow language learners, spend the 10 seconds it takes to share it on facebook, twitter, or your favorite social media website. Enjoy!