Sunday, 21 February 2016

Eddie Izzard and multilingualism and learning languages

I just listened to a wonderful and very funny podcast from "The World in Words", interviewing Eddie Izzard about performing stand-up in four languages.

(Warning: there's some indelicate language, so if you're a sensitive wee flower, you might want to skip it.)

Here are five things I learned from it:

  1. One months immersion in a country is worth two years of languge study.
  2. Izzard learns his routines in the same way as an actor learns his lines, and will hiss 'line' when he needs a cue
  3. His brother Mark is a polyglot and does most of Izzard's translations. He is a stickler for proper grammar, although Eddie is happy to wing it.
  4. Once you've got the basics, speaking a foreign language is mostly confidence.
  5. Apparently Egyptian Arabic is the most widely understood dialect of Arabic, so that's what he's learning next.
The podcast link includes some video clips you should watch, not least because Izzard is as much a performance artist as a stand-up comic. It includes the one below which, as a beginner Latin student, I enjoyed all the more.

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