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Career in higher education for polyglots

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Po-ru
Diglot
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United States
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173 posts - 62 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Spanish, Norwegian, Mandarin, French

 
 Message 1 of 7
24 December 2015 at 10:34am | IP Logged 
Hello everyone,

I am not sure if anyone else is in the same situation as me, but I figured to ask this question as
maybe people have been through something similar. I am a Ph.D. candidate and will be obtaining
my degree relatively soon. I am hoping to pursue a career in higher education as a teacher and
researcher, ideally teaching and researching topics broadly related to the intersection of language
and cultural learning. I believe that this may be the best way to combine my passion for learning
languages with scholarly pursuits in the most realistic way.

However, most academics, even in fields related to language learning, still do not consider the
study of many languages a serious scholarly endeavor. As Professor Arguelles and others have
rightly observed, academics today are much more interesting in specializing in some very narrow
field, rather than trying to obtain a more universal understanding. Obviously, this is a terrible recipe
for intellectualism and the direction of higher education, but it is nonetheless the reality. Therefore, if
I pursue this I would need to balance my professorial responsibilities (teaching, publishing, etc.) with
my own self-study. This fact would require excellent time management, but I don’t anticipate this
being a big problem. A few years ago, I posted about pursuing polyglottery while being a Ph.D.
student and got some good advice from this forum. I have since managed to do so to a small extent
and if I had managed my time better and realized what was expected out of my requirements
sooner, I could have done so even better.

I was wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and if anyone had any thoughts about
this? It would be great to hear from some others who maybe have trotted the same path.



Edited by Po-ru on 24 December 2015 at 10:44am

1 person has voted this message useful



vell
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United States
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17 posts - 27 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 2 of 7
02 January 2016 at 2:54am | IP Logged 
In North America the academic placement rate for PHDs is something like 4%. Unless you're
better than everyone else in your field, you probably won't have to worry about balancing life
as a professor and polyglot for a long time...

It's like asking how to be in the NFL and be a polyglot. You should probably just get into the
NFL first. Sorry.



Po-ru
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2708 days ago

173 posts - 62 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Spanish, Norwegian, Mandarin, French

 
 Message 3 of 7
05 January 2016 at 1:32am | IP Logged 
Vell, this seems like a slightly too pessimistic view to take on. While the window of the traditional tenure
track academia route may be closing in North America, there is a growing ESL industry throughout the
world. While your advice is sound, my main question was how to make a career out of polyglottery within
higher education? For example, Alexander Arguelles always talked about hoping that the study of
languages would play a more mainstream role in higher education, which with the exception of English
unfortunately looks like it is not. I was just wondering how those of us who studied multiple languages and
aspire to be polyglots might try to balance this endeavor with a career as a university instructor.



Rhian
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 Message 4 of 7
05 January 2016 at 2:13am | IP Logged 
Might be worth posting on the other forum too, just
to see if you can get a few extra responses. It's
www.forum.language-learners.org and is a little
more active than this forum at the moment.



Serpent
Octoglot
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Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 5 of 7
09 January 2016 at 12:48am | IP Logged 
Many linguistics profs are polyglots, at least in Russia and probably many other European countries.



Po-ru
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2708 days ago

173 posts - 62 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Spanish, Norwegian, Mandarin, French

 
 Message 6 of 7
20 January 2016 at 8:21pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Many linguistics profs are polyglots, at least in Russia and probably many other
European countries.


Yes, I have noticed that. It just seems, at least superficially, that more scholars from Russia and
Eastern Europe take language study much more seriously than scholars in the Americas and the UK
do. Might you have any specific examples of well known Russian linguists/polyglots that I might be
able to google search?



vell
Newbie
United States
Joined 1021 days ago

17 posts - 27 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 7 of 7
22 January 2016 at 7:49am | IP Logged 
Many American linguists are proficient in several languages as well. Ken Hale is one of the most notable. He was an
insanely gifted polyglot, but he's famous in linguistics for his contributions to syntactic theory. It's cool that he
can speak so many difficult languages, but nobody in the academic world cares about that.

I know it's negative, but there's really no place in academia for polyglottery. There's nothing academic about it.
There's nothing to research and unless you're some kind of a savant, you're not even qualified to be teaching your
non-native languages at a college level. I would be willing to bet that even an established polyglot like Arguelles
would be unable to ever find any serious academic position in North America. I know you said about looking outside of
NA and Europe, but still...




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