Who are language learners? (2021 study of dabblers, polyglots, hyperglots)

Are polyglots really more like to to be gay men?

That’s what this NY Magazine article suggests, as well as a follow-up survey by Allex Arguelles.

But both surveys were extremely small and limited to an elite group of language learners.  They hand-selected candidates out and assumed there was something “special” or “unique” about those groups. Both were more anecdotal evidence than true studies.

Relearn A Language is working with language learners, polyglots, teachers, and content creators to compile as much data as humanly possible from all corners of the world to see who language learners really are.

Because if resource creators don’t know who we are, how can they make tools that truly serve us?

Our survey is by and for the language learning community.

It will take a huge group effort to make sure everyone is given an opportunity to tell the world who they are.

We are asking everyone to share the survey throughout their networks and encourage everyone they know to fill it out.

In return, all of the information we collect (from raw data to interviews to analysis) will be redistributed to survey participants and to the general public.

This way companies can make sure the tools and content they create for us actually serve who we are, as well as allow the community to hold publishing companies, corporations, and conference accountable to inclusivity.

To make sure we get as large of a sample as possible, we need to at least 5,000 language learners from around the world who they are.

Want to help with our ambition goal?

To make sure our data is a true representation of who adult language learners are, we need to fight against two big things:

  1. Confirmation bias. We cannot ask our networks alone, because we need to ask people who we the creators have little in common with.
  2. Self-selecting participants. At first glance, a participant may think their voice isn’t important or that they don’t qualify for the study.

To help us fight against both of these variables, we’re asking that everyone who wants to profit from the results help us share the survey.

Here are a few places we need the survey shared:

  • Facebook groups
  • Telegram, Slack, or Whatsapp groups
  • Discord servers
  • YouTube channels (both in community and through videos)
  • Twitch streams
  • Reddit
  • Personal and professional Instagrams
  • University servers, Facebook groups, and forums
  • LinkedIn
  • Academic or professional listservs
  • TikTok
  • Tumblr (reblog from here)
  • Twitter
  • Club House
  • Conference listservs or groups
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs and newsletters
  • Pinterest (re-pin through this link)

👉 Want some graphics and text to make taking this survey more appealing to your audience?

Scroll all the way down and feel free to download any of the graphics we made and grab any of the pre-written text.

We will be conducting this survey, as well as select follow-up interviews, through mid-May.

All of our findings will be released in June.

Want to know what we find? There are two ways you can do that:

  1. Participate in the study and leave us your email. Study participants will be alerted to the findings shortly before data is available to the public.
  2. Bookmark this page and come back here in June. We will convert this page over to show all of our data (as well as have it available for download.)

Creative Assets for Getting Clicks

You can feel free to make your own graphics or edit this text, but we did some of the heavy-lifting for you.

For social media, you can link directly to the Google Doc and/or use our tiny url: tinyurl.com/LangIdentities 

For embedded links in blogs and video, you can link directly to the page you are currently viewing so in several months it will update to show results.

Text Option #1 – For social sharing

For the past 3 years, the media has circulated a fun fact about polyglots: that they tend to be gay, left-handed, men, with autism and allergies.
But the fact is, there has never been a true scientific study done about language learners outside of a few self-appointed “polyglots”.
Who are we as language learners? Do our textbooks represent us? Are we learning things relevant to our identities? Are we really in line with this pseudo-science stereotype?
In 5min, you can contribute to the first mass study done by and for language learners about who we really are. Click this link and take the survey, then share it with other language learners you know–whether they’re casual dabblers or multilingual or anyone else in between. We need everyone’s voice to be counted, no matter who they are or how many languages they speak. 

Text Option #2 – For individuals with platforms

There have only been 2 small studies done about who adult language learners are. The problem?

They were both focused on “hyperglots” and conference attendees–which means parents, lower-income language learners, and full-time professionals were largely excluded. 
I’m helping collect information on who we really are. In 5 minutes, you can help make sure people like you are represented in the biggest survey ever done.
This survey is for everyone, no matter who they are or how many (or few) languages they speak–as long as they count themselves as a “language learner”.
The results will be published and shared publicly to help make sure apps, textbooks, teachers, and content address who we really are and what we really need when learning and teaching languages.

Text Option #3 – For brands or organizations

The idea that polyglots are more likely to be “left-handed gay men with allergies and autism” has been tossed around the media for the past few years. And if you look at the stages of the major language conferences, you might also assume most language learners are white.

But there’s one problem with the data being relied on: there has never been a comprehensive study of who language learners truly are. The two “surveys” relied on extremely small groups of self-selected hyperglots and conference attendees.

Do you want to help us change the narrative?

_______ is participating in the largest survey of language learners ever conducted. In 5 minutes you could tell the language learning world who you are and what your experiences have been.
This survey is for everyone who counts themselves as a language leaner, no matter who they are or how many (or few) languages they speak.

The goal of this survey is to not only paint a better picture of the language learning community, but hold publishers, content creators, and event organizers accountable to all of us when they create language learning tools.

Once you’ve taken the survey, please like and share through all of your online spaces. We want everyone, not just the privileged, to be counted.

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Multilingual Marissa

I'm Marissa, and not only did I fail out of high school Spanish, but I also managed to forget my native language (Polish) in the process. After 10 years of establishing my career in the arts I decided to give language learning one last chance, and many years (and languages) later, I now help others online learn or relearn languages. I now speak English, Spanish, French, Catalan, Portuguese and am relearning Polish, my heritage language. I've also studied Italian, German, and other languages to low- or intermediate-levels for fun. If you want to relearn a language, I'd love to help!

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