A Passion for Languages

OptiLingo is a revolutionary language-learning program that will help you learn your new language in hours rather than years.

I’m Jonty Yamisha, an ethnic Circassian, and OptiLingo is my brainchild. I speak the Kabardian dialect of the Circassian language, but I didn’t always. My parents came to the United States as refugees and worked hard to ensure I had a solid education.

This meant a heavy emphasis on academics and English. As a child, I was also exposed to many different languages, including Circassian, Arabic, Turkish, Russian, Hebrew and German. Growing up, however, I spoke none of these.

At age 31, I decided to learn my ethnic language. I just had a few problems:

  • I’d never been to any country where Circassian was spoken.
  • Circassian is a poorly documented language.
  • There are limited books, magazines, radio or videos in the language.
  • Circassian is an endangered language and may disappear some day.

Oh, did I happen to leave out that the few materials that exist on Circassian are written in Russian, Turkish or Arabic? I should also point out that the language has 56 letters, with sounds that don’t exist in any other spoken language on the planet.

I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to start, and I was worried I’d have to learn an intermediate language (Russian, Turkish or Arabic) in order to achieve my goal.

Don’t get me wrong. Today, I love these languages and speak all three of them to varying degrees. But it’s tough when there’s a big barrier to the real goal at hand.

In the process of teaching myself the Circassian language, I purchased every commercial language-learning course available. I even attended rapid learning programs designed by the private and public sectors.

I did this across as many different languages as I could find – those that were closely related to English and those distant from it, as well as those with similar alphabets, different alphabets or no alphabets at all.

At the time, my goal was very simple: I wanted to save my dying, ethnic language.

I want that to set in for a moment. Every course claims to be simple and easy. But my path to learning Circassian absolutely had to be that way. If I failed in my mission, my language would die out.

Today, I’m close to fluent in Circassian and I’ve taught hundreds of people to speak my language. Over the years, I’ve adapted my approach, and that’s how Guided Immersion was born. And that’s what OptiLingo is all about.

You can learn more about Guided Immersion by clicking on the “How It Works” tab above.