About the Founder – Aaron Ralby

Dr. Aaron Ralby is a linguist and scholar passionate about languages and memory training. Aaron founded Linguisticator in January of 2011 and since then has built the company from a one-man operation to a global business with clients ranging from diplomats to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence.

Aaron is a Germanic philologist by training and holds a PhD in Medieval Studies from Cornell University, an MA from Cornell, an MPhil from Cambridge in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, and a BA from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he graduated as valedictorian double-majoring in English and Modern Languages and Linguistics.

After completing his doctorate, Aaron ended up turning down an academic post and instead went to Iceland, where he worked on a treefarm to improve his Icelandic. While there—and later in Germany studying Low German on a cattle farm—Aaron realized the need for a thoroughly systematic approach to learning new languages. He began to formally construct a method for himself, which he subsequently developed into Linguisticator.

Current Work

Aaron lives in Cambridge, UK where he runs Linguisticator. He is currently working to expand the company’s offering of courses in both language and memory training. He is also involved in a number of projects related to language and memory training for children with special educational needs, such as dyslexia and autism.

Background in Languages

Aaron’s first foreign language was Japanese, which he studied for 10 years in school. He began German in middle school, and later focused on the German language in college where he developed an interest in historical linguistics and the intersection between English and German historically. Throughout grad school, Aaron studied all the old Germanic languages and several of the modern ones, including Icelandic. He also studied Latin extensively, began picking up Mandarin on his own, revived his Japanese by studying Classical Japanese, and began his study of Classical Chinese as well.

As he became more adept at learning languages, Aaron realized more and more the importance of a no-nonsense approach to language learning. Inspired by the 19th century Germanic philologists who had encyclopedic knowledge of dozens of languages, Aaron began applying older methods to modern languages with great success.

 

Background in Memory

As a medievalist, Aaron became fascinated by the feats of memory monks and scholars performed in the middle ages. How did they memorize the entire Bible by chapter and verse? How could they recite any line number of any of the 150 Psalms? Discovering actual instruction in these feats from the middle ages, Aaron began exploring spatial and visual memory systems during his PhD.

For several years, Aaron continued his linguistic research alongside his exploration in memory, working to develop ways of adapting memory techniques to learning not just lists of information, but entire subjects – and large and complex subjects like languages.

It took many years of experimentation, but in conjunction with figuring out how to map out languages comprehensively, Aaron developed a means of learning complex systems using memory techniques.