'Ringvaade': UK polyglot sums up one-month Estonian language challenge

Polyglot Richard Simcott on Monday's 'Ringvaade'
Polyglot Richard Simcott on Monday's 'Ringvaade' Source: ERR

A well-known British polyglot has completed his one-month Estonian language challenge, and was able to showcase the results on Monday's edition of magazine show 'Ringvaade', ERR's Menu portal reports.

Richard Simcott, who has been active in the online polyglot community for many years and is in fact one of its leading lights, speaking as he does around 50 foreign languages, told "Ringvaade", via video link, that he found the language comparatively hard, referencing Estonian grammar in particular.

In an interview given entirely in Estonian, Richard added that the app he had used, produced by Speakly, had helped, and he was now able to construct sentences without thinking about the underlying grammar too much.

The host tested his pronunciation too, using one of several standby favorites – in this case Jüriöö Ülestõus (English: The St. George's Night uprising, which began on that date in 1343 and is a significant event in Estonian history).

"Ringvaade" played clips from some of Richard's many YouTube videos, in which he said that he assessed his level at an A2 pass from the Common European Framework of languages – though the interviewer was using considerably higher language than that encountered with A2.

Richard also reported that he used something like a combination of word association and method acting when learning languages – able even to associate an Estonian word with a product he saw in a store in Skopje, North Macedonia, where he lives.

His overall motivation for adding Estonian as another notch in the linguistic bedpost was that all and any languages interest him, and that Estonian was a particularly beautiful example.

Simcott in the past has also tackled Finnish, the one and only highly visible and widely-spoken language with any grammatical and lexical reference point for Estonian.

While Estonian might be of limited use in the Balkans, he says he will be able to keep in touch with a teacher online, adding that at home he speaks several languages with his child, including French and German as well as English and Macedonian, and is fluent in the languages of some neighboring states such as Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria.

A snippet of Speakly's methodology was also included in the "Ringvaade" segment, which can be viewed in its entirety in the clip below, with online teachers using role plays as a part of the learning process.

The language requirement for Estonian citizenship is B1. 


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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