Culture Lifestyle Living

What Can a Language Activist Teach Us About Learning Languages?

INSCMagazine: Get Social!

Jonty Yamisha: Passionate About Language Learning Interested in learning a language? There are literally thousands of online language programs at your disposal, however we don’t know of any – except one – that was created by a language activist.

Jonty Yamisha, founder of OptiLingo and the groundbreaking Guided Immersion method didn’t set out to create a program to help those interested in learning a new language with greater confidence and in less time when compared to the competition. In fact, as a former Fortune 500 executive and serial entrepreneur, Jonty was an unlikely language activist. His language platform and educational products were created from a 10-year-long effort in teaching himself the ancient and near-extinct language of Circassian.


Learning a Language from Ground ZeroHow do you go about learning a language if English instruction to guide you to learn your target language’s structure, grammar, vocabulary, and syntax doesn’t exist? This was Jonty’s case. The only Circassian language materials he could find were written in Turkish and Arabic – two languages Jonty didn’t speak.

With Circassian in rapid decline and an entire peoples’ cultural heritage on the verge of being erased out of existence, time was of the essence. Jonty didn’t have the time to learn Turkish or Arabic as a medium to then achieve his true goal of learning Circassian. As such, due to a lack of Circassian-language resources, Jonty decided to get creative. He wanted to understand fundamentally the most effective process of learning a language so that he could break down and understand Circassian as quickly as possible, and then help preserve his linguistic heritage for future generations.

Motivated to Learn a Dying Language Before Time Runs Out: Jonty didn’t have much time, so he absorbed every language training resource he could find, from software, workshops, and courses both online and offline. Jonty was on a mission to learn Circassian, no matter how long it took. In the process, he discovered some methods that worked and others that didn’t. He also invented study strategies and techniques along his journey to learn Circassian. Throughout the 10-year process, Jonty researched and refined his methods, until he came away not only understanding and speaking Circassian to a near fluent level but unlocked the secret to how to learn a language. Any language.

Anyone Can Learn Any Language, IF they Follow this Method: Jonty is the first to admit that he isn’t a linguist, expert, or academic; he is simply a regular guy that was highly motivated to preserve his family’s ethnic heritage. While other language learning companies will insist their system is faster and better – they designed their products from a corporate perspective, while Jonty designed OptiLigno and Guided Immersion, a method that is at the core of all the company’s products, from pure survival. Quite simply, if Jonty didn’t crack the code to how to learn a language, then Circassian – the language his family spoke for hundreds of years, along with their cultural wisdom, would perish.

Approaching language education from a different perspective than the competition, Jonty appreciates students have a desire to learn a language for a variety of reasons. Some wish to travel and be able to better communicate with the native speakers in their destination country, while others, like Jonty, desire to learn a heritage language to help forge stronger connections with non-English speaking family members or to better relate to their ancestral ethnicity.

Whatever the reason, Jonty has devised a method that will help anyone, anywhere – from any background and educational level – learn a language. Like Jonty, you don’t need to be a language expert to pick up a new language, you simply must have the motivation and passion to invest the time to learn.

Learning a Language: How Much Time, Really? Jonty was able to narrow down the “must-learns” from the merely interesting or “not-as-useful” elements of a language for those who want to learn with little time. His focus? High-frequency words and what he calls “essential universal phrases,” can get a student up and running with minimal effort.

For example, according to Jonty if a student knows just five phrases and 50 words – this gives the student the knowledge required to be able to speak hundreds of unique phrases that can be applied to thousands of unique contexts. Time isn’t wasted on grammar, syntax, morphology, and exhaustive vocabulary lists. The system is practical and intuitive, providing a wealth of easy-to-access information about the target language so that a certain level of language ability can be achieved very quickly.

For most of us, daily life leaves little room to learn a new language. At least, that’s what we presume. With Jonty’s program, students are advised to commit to just 30-minutes to study per day, for five days per week. Most students study Monday through Friday, for 30-minutes per day, take a self-test on Friday that covers the week’s material, and enjoy a break over the weekend to start anew the following Monday. The program is flexible, so if on certain days students only have time for a 10-minute lesson, then they can do so.

A Once-Dying Language Now has a Future: Today, Jonty continues to be heavily involved in the Circassian revitalization movement. He created the non-profit Nassip Foundation to further assist with Circassian preservation and promotion efforts. As the author or contributing author of the largest collection of Circassian language-learning materials, Jonty leads the charge on preserving Circassian language, identity, and culture. He’s the go-to resource for guiding others on their path to learning this ancient and often frustratingly-complex language. He’s taught hundreds of students Circassian and has helped countless others connect to their own cultural heritage through a mastery of language, from French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian, thanks to his innovative language system.

In trying to preserve Circassian, Jonty’s life course was forever changed. Although he could never effectively communicate with his Circassian-speaking grandparents, with the family histories, proverbs, and wisdom being lost forever, through his efforts, he’s helped hundreds of ethnic Circassians preserve their own family stories, and in so doing has helped save the entire Circassian nation.

  • 8
    Shares

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.