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Moses McCormick (1981–2021), multilingual YouTube star

by Linnea Crowther

Moses McCormick was a popular YouTuber whose viral videos documented his conversations with people in languages including Mandarin, Arabic, and Japanese.

Learning and teaching languages

McCormick’s journey as a language learner began when he was 18 and decided to study Chinese because he loved kung fu movies. He went on to teach himself a wide variety of languages, and his YouTube videos showed him conversing comfortably in at least 20 languages. Going by the name Laoshu, he attracted more than one million followers to his channel, where he also offered lessons and tips on language learning. McCormick developed the FLR Method of language learning, which stands for Foreign Language Roadrunning. His method begins with memorizing full conversational sentences rather than drilling on language basics.

McCormick on his method

“I play with the language for about three months, then start doing grammar stuff formally. You’re going to learn grammar just by practicing. You’re going to start seeing certain concepts as you play. That’s what worked so well for me. People out there don’t agree with what I do, because they don’t understand. Some people want to master languages. Different folks, different strokes. But for me, the experiences are addictive, man. Every experience of talking to someone is new and beautiful. A jack of all trades is a master of none, but I’m okay with it.” —from an interview with Mel magazine

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Tributes to Moses McCormick

Full obituary: The Grio

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