When it comes to language learning there is a plethora of resources and platforms at our disposal to push us closer and closer fluency. For many avid language learners, TikTok is their platform of choice. The short video app makes language learning interactive, fun and incredibly insightful. One person using TikTok’s stage to help dozens of keen learners improve is Antonio Parlati. Antonio is an Italian polyglot who helps over 530,000 Italian speakers improve their english.
Since discovering Antonio’s channel our curiosity was piqued and we wanted to know more about what it’s like to be a polyglot and teaching English online. So, we reached out to Antonio and asked him just that. So if you whether you are an aspiring polyglot, just beginning your language learning journey or want to know more about how a platform such as TikTok can help level up your language game, then keep reading.
Can you please tell the audience a bit about yourself? Who you are and where you come from?
I’m Antonio, I’m 20 years old and I come from Naples, Italy. I’m a very curious and creative person, I love art, music and learning new things.
How many languages can you speak and how did you get into language learning?
I can currently speak 5 languages: Italian (my native language), English, Spanish, French and German. Other than my mother tongue, English, Spanish and French (in this order) are the languages that I love the most and that I can speak more fluently. As for German, I’ve studied it for 5 years, I manage to understand most of it, but I’m not as fluent.
I first started getting interested in languages in 2012 when I watched the movie Titanic in English for the first time and never went back to dubbed movies. That’s when I started opening up to the possibility of learning new languages. Then I attended a specific highschool for languages studying English, French and German. 2 years ago, I started University and took up Spanish and American studies.
Did you always want to become a polyglot and why did you become one? Did you have some early influences in your life that lead you to this?
I’ve always been very curious and when I do something I always make sure to give it my all, I’m a perfectionist and a Virgo! I’ve never had any experience abroad though, my relatives are all Italian, so it was thanks to my own passion and perseverance if I was able to become a “polyglot” and expand my horizons.
What are your biggest motivations and challenges when it comes to language learning?
The biggest challenge when learning a language is the fact that it’s constantly changing. Languages are like living organisms, they evolve and change through time, and the language you learn in books is never going to be exactly what you hear on the streets in everyday life. So, it’s important to have more resources when learning a language, making sure to keep up with the times.
My motivation is being able to understand what people are saying, it might seem like such a basic answer, but when you finally get to a point where you can actually understand everything a person’s saying, watch a movie in that language, travel in that country without worrying about language barriers, it’s such a fulfilling feeling that makes all the time spent studying worth it
What is the best advice you can give for learning more than one language?
It can be pretty hard to study more than one language at the same time, I find that concentrating on one at a time is the best way to go, but it’s definitely not impossible to learn more languages simultaneously. I recommend looking for common ground, similarities between the languages and also to use all the incredible resources we have nowadays, like the internet, movies, tv-shows, podcasts etc.
It’s really important to be actually interested and passionate when learning a language.
What is the best thing about being a polyglot?
The best thing is being able to have different sets of ideas, as every language comes with its culture. In addition, being able to understand what people from different countries are saying and communicating with them is nothing short of amazing!
Do you have any other language tips and tricks you would like to share with our audience?
The secret is to take the language you’re trying to learn with you everywhere you go 24/7, this is paramount. As I said, languages don’t live in books, they are part of our everyday life. Once you do this, learning will be so much easier.
You teach English on TikTok to an audience of 500k, why do you feel it’s important/helpful to make this kind of content?
There are a lot of people struggling to learn English when it really shouldn’t be this hard and frustrating. I think most of it is due to the fact that learning in school isn’t always stimulating, so I feel it’s important for people to find alternatives through this type of content on social media since they’re used every day and can be understood more easily.
We love the work you are doing on TikTok, it seems like you have built an amazing community of language learners, where do you see yourself going next?
Thank you! My experience on TikTok definitely made me consider becoming a teacher, and in the meanwhile, I’m also planning to open a YouTube channel, so I can make longer videos as well. One thing’s certain about my future, English will be part of it!
Antonio makes it easy to get to grips with English as an Italian speaker so we would definetly recommend following him -> https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeSPUu2n/