August 14, 2020

Myths About Polyglots

Who are polyglots? How many languages ​​do you need to know to become a polyglot? What are the advantages of being a polyglot? Artgetting decided to find out.

How Many Languages Do Polyglots Know?

The topic of polyglots interested me for a reason. The idea to write an article came to me at a time when my friend called me a polyglot. And I was not sure if this was so. And I decided to check!

Foreign languages ​​have interested me since childhood. I was lucky enough to be born bilingual, English was added to this, and later – two more foreign languages ​​that I learned already at a more conscious age. Can I call myself a polyglot? What are the myths about polyglots? What are the most hylarious polyglot problems? Let’s figure it out!

According to Collins dictionary, a polyglot is a person with a command of many languages. Severalusually means more than two. People who know dozen of languages are called ‘hyperpolyglots’. It is also accepted to use the term ‘multilingualism‘.

Myths About Polyglots

Photo by N. Martin on Unsplash

Myth nr 1. Polyglots are extremely unusual people. This is not quite true. In fact, quite a big part of the world’s population is multilingual. For example, 13% of world`s population speaks 3 languages.

Myth nr 2. ‘To be multilingual’ means to have an equal, ‘perfect’, ‘nativelike’ command of all languages. This is not true. We believe that it is enough to know each language at a high enough level (so that you can understand your interlocutor and also express your thoughts).

Myth nr 3. Special memory. It is generally accepted that the process of memorizing new information in polyglot runs somehow in a special way. But this is not true at all! The brain of a polyglot is no different from the memory and brain of an ordinary person who speaks only one language. Of course, after constant training and language learning, it gets better. But initially there were no prerequisites for this.

From my own experience I can say that the first two foreign languages ​​were very difficult to learn. In many moments, I did not feel at all that I had some kind of polyglot talent or that I had a phenomenal memory. Yes, I still forget a lot of things! But for sure, each following language is easier and easier for learning.

Myth nr 4. If a polyglot learns a foreign language, he will never forget it! Of course, this is a myth. Linguists claim that in order to maintain a level of languages you need to travel and constantly communicate with native speakers.

Myth nr 5. Too late. Many well-known polyglots began the development of their linguistic knowledge deeply over 30 years. It is never too late.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Hylarious Problems That Polyglots Have

They mix up languages. I think, it is the main problem! This happens very often with people who speak may languages. Sometimes, they aren’t sure of a word and replace it with another foreign word.

People try to test their knowledge. “How many languages do you speak? How many languages?! Wow! Say something in ___! And now in ___!”

 They know the word in every language except their native one. We’re so focused on foreign languages that we study so much that we are forgetting our mother tongue!.

Their friends just don`t get them! Some people wouldn’t put that much hard work and learn so many languages just because t is interesting. And they compeltely do not understand polyglots!

Anyway, it is just wonderful to be a polyglot. Share in the comments the problems that you have when you are learning foreign languages.

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