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Ziad Fazah - The Complete Video

 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
56 messages over 7 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6


emk
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 Message 49 of 56
20 May 2012 at 8:24pm | IP Logged 
Lucas wrote:
It's obvious he doesn't speak more than 5 or 6 languages: he can't even
understand "what day are we today" in russian (it would be funny if it wasn't so sad)!


I really have no opinion on Ziah Fazah one way or the other.

That said, I think that ambushing somebody in a studio and asking them to speak half a
dozen languages without any chance to warm up is unlikely to tell you much. As Erard
mentioned in his book, lots of polyglots need to warm up their languages before using
them. If I recall, there was a European polyglot champion who spent a week or two
before the competition trying to reactivate all of his languages at once. He said the
experience was a little weird.

Accents also cause problems. I can function at a near-B2 level when talking to somebody
who speaks standard French. But when speaking to somebody from Quebec, I could very
easily misunderstand "What day is it?" Or for an even stranger example, if I've been
speaking French for a couple of days, I often have trouble understanding accents in
English
unless I deliberately "turn off" my French.

So really the truth could be just about anything: Maybe Ziah Fazah is lying, or maybe
he could speak any one of a dozen languages competently, given a few days to prepare.
So I'm extremely reluctant to have an opinion one way or the other.
5 persons have voted this message useful



Josquin
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 Message 50 of 56
20 May 2012 at 9:22pm | IP Logged 
Well, I wouldn't have an opinion on Ziad Fazah either if it wasn't for his arrogance and his boasting. If you watch some of his more recent videos on YouTube, you will notice that modesty is not one of his strong suits. He claims to be the 'greatest living polyglot' and to have a 'divine gift' of being talented for language learning. Moreover, he states that he has learned 'all the languages of the world' in only three years.

I am not going to review his language abilities now. I only say his German is not bad, but definitely worse than Luca's or Richard's German. In every video, he basically says the same and talks only for about two minutes. So, I am not in the position to judge Mr Fazah, especially because I cannot assess his abilities in the more exotic languages like Mandarin and Hebrew.

Nevertheless, Ziad Fazah has never really demonstrated his abilities to the public while claiming at the same time to be as exceptional as if he were from outer space. If he showed some modesty, I could forgive his mistakes easily. But I feel no compassion for someone who claims to be so special and has never stood the test.

Especially when you compare him to other YouTube polyglots like Luca and Richard you will see what Ziad Fazah is lacking in. Luca and Richard have both shown the world in several videos what they are capable of and they are both very modest and down to earth. Ziad Fazah has shown virtually nothing but claims to be the greatest. I think that is why there is so little empathy with him on this forum.
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Pisces
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Finland
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 Message 51 of 56
21 May 2012 at 7:39pm | IP Logged 
I'm a bit surprised people are still talking about Z.F.

It's perfectly possible he suffers from some mental illness and has delusions of some kind. It isn't very pleasant to air another person's dirty linen in public (sorry about the mangled idiom).
1 person has voted this message useful



Journeyer
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 Message 52 of 56
22 May 2012 at 12:07am | IP Logged 
Pisces wrote:
I'm a bit surprised people are still talking about Z.F.

It's perfectly possible he suffers from some mental illness and has delusions of some kind. It isn't very pleasant to air another person's dirty linen in public (sorry about the mangled idiom).


I'm not sure anyone on this forum is qualified to discuss Ziad Fazah's mental state, and especially without having met him personally. He has without doubt caused some tsunami's worth of waves here on this forum, but as the "world's greatest polyglot" discussions are concerned, every discussion falls short due to its subjectivity and the heated discussions it provokes. There are scores of other polyglots on the 'net to look at as mentors if you are not satisfied with Ziad Fazah's claims, which is perfectly understandable.

This is a polyglot section of the forum and I completely agree with discussing the skills and claims of a given polyglot. I also concede that the evidence is not in Mr. Fazah's favor. However, only a few have apparently contacted him, despite his contact info being available on this forum for years. I think it's high time discussion of Mr. Fazah was dropped as it seldom leads to anything but disillusionment or criticism based on discouraging, but nevertheless shaky evidence. I mean, a pop TV talk show? Really, folks?! It's something, yes, but hardly definitive.   

He has his life and we all have our own.

EDIT: Typos

Edited by Journeyer on 22 May 2012 at 12:11am

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Solfrid Cristin
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 Message 53 of 56
22 May 2012 at 9:22am | IP Logged 
Journeyer wrote:
Pisces wrote:
I'm a bit surprised people are still talking about Z.F.

It's perfectly possible he suffers from some mental illness and has delusions of some kind. It isn't very pleasant to air another person's dirty linen in public (sorry about the mangled idiom).


I'm not sure anyone on this forum is qualified to discuss Ziad Fazah's mental state, and especially without having met him personally. He has without doubt caused some tsunami's worth of waves here on this forum, but as the "world's greatest polyglot" discussions are concerned, every discussion falls short due to its subjectivity and the heated discussions it provokes. There are scores of other polyglots on the 'net to look at as mentors if you are not satisfied with Ziad Fazah's claims, which is perfectly understandable.

This is a polyglot section of the forum and I completely agree with discussing the skills and claims of a given polyglot. I also concede that the evidence is not in Mr. Fazah's favor. However, only a few have apparently contacted him, despite his contact info being available on this forum for years. I think it's high time discussion of Mr. Fazah was dropped as it seldom leads to anything but disillusionment or criticism based on discouraging, but nevertheless shaky evidence. I mean, a pop TV talk show? Really, folks?! It's something, yes, but hardly definitive.   

He has his life and we all have our own.

EDIT: Typos


As one of those who have actually spoken with Ziadh Fazah in several languages, I fully agree. He does not bother anyone, and he is a very sweet person. If you are unimpressed, just leave the issue.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Pisces
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 Message 54 of 56
22 May 2012 at 10:23am | IP Logged 
Journeyer wrote:
Pisces wrote:
I'm a bit surprised people are still talking about Z.F.

It's perfectly possible he suffers from some mental illness and has delusions of some kind. It isn't very pleasant to air another person's dirty linen in public (sorry about the mangled idiom).


He has his life and we all have our own.

EDIT: Typos



Yes, I agree entirely, he has his life and we all have our own. The reason I said that I'm surprised that people are still talking about Z.F. is not that I think he's inherently not worth talking about (also I don't have anything against people talking to him), but that discussions about him are not particularly productive. We have a certain amount of knowledge about him, which, as you say, isn't particularly in his favor, and we all have our own opinions about him based on this knowledge. Unlike the other polyglots you mentioned, ZF does not engage the polyglot community in a reasonable fashion. You write "I think it's high time discussion of Mr. Fazah was dropped as it seldom leads to anything but disillusionment or criticism based on discouraging, but nevertheless shaky evidence." I agree with that. (I don't agree with you about the value of pop TV shows in this case, but that's another matter.)

I am the last person to claim to be qualified to talk about Ziad Fazah's mental state. I merely wrote it's possible - and it is. There isn't anything offensive about mentioning the possibility in a case like this. I am trying to emphasize the fact that we don't actually know anything about this man. The whole thing reminds me of the way people talk about some celebrities who do outrageous stuff in public, "I can't believe that he/she did that in front of so many people, etc...", and then the person is question is later found to be mentally ill.
1 person has voted this message useful



Lucas
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 Message 55 of 56
22 May 2012 at 10:28am | IP Logged 
When somebody comes here and takes his defense saying that he's actually speaking several
languages, those languages are only English, German or easy romance languages.
Cristin, did you speak swedish with him?



1 person has voted this message useful



Random review
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 56 of 56
03 June 2012 at 10:42pm | IP Logged 
I had heard about this video and concluded that Fazah was a fraud; having now seen it
and read this thread I'm not so sure. This video made very, very unpleasant viewing...I
felt some aggression in the air (especially the guy that threw a question in English at
him out of nowhere) and not only can you see how nervous he becomes from his
gestures,you can actually hear his Spanish getting worse (at one point he actually
slips into Portuguese for a couple of seconds). I'm not saying I believe his claims (I
have my doubts about 58 languages) but this was not a fair test.

1) I believe you can claim to speak a language even if you need a couple of hours (or
even days) to warm it up. He could, of course, specify which languages he needs to warm
up and which (Spanish, Portuguese, English, Arabic + whatever others) he does not. I
believe Prof Arguelles does just that, but most people outside the language learning
community would not really understand and (unfairly) be considerably less impressed.

2) I agree with emk that accents can cause problems even with easy questions. I
recently watched my first ever Uruguyan film, I was surprised and disheartened to find
I could hardly understand a word at first, so I started looking at the English
subtitles and as if by magic I could suddenly hear what they were saying in Spanish.

3) I think most of us have known that horrible feeling where a language deserts you
under stress, especially in the face of hostility. Heck, as has been pointed out above
we can even become tongue-tied in our native tongue. Admittedly I've never been so
stressed that I lost the ability to *understand* English, but perhaps I just wasn't
stressed enough. My sister once told me about being so stressed in an exam that she
literally lost the ability to understand the meaning of written sentences for a while.

4) Why exactly are we speculating on his mental health based on some of his claims
interpreted in the light of this video? Psychology has shown that most of us (to a
greater or lesser extent) exaggerate (sincerely believing it) our abilities and we
almost all lie sometimes, and we almost all try to "blag it" at times...I know I do,
though I try as hard as possible not to. One of the things that makes these weaknesses
come out more is...you guessed it...stress. Have you never automatically lied about
something because you panicked because your job was in danger? I've seen basically
honest people do this and I'm sure that I must have done so as well.


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