Discover Your Inner Polyglot

Discover Your Inner Polyglot

To discover your inner polyglot, first it helps to know what exactly is a polyglot?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a polyglot is a person who speaks or writes several languages.  It also is used to describe “widely diverse” cultural or ethnic origins.

Or you could say that a person has “polygottic” tendencies or he or she is “polyglottous.”  I could on and on but you get the idea.  Learning language can be fun, eh? (A shout out to my Canadian friends).

Are You a Polyglot and Don’t Know it?

Discover Your Inner Polyglot

Babel No More
By Michael Erard

In Michael Erard’s book entitled, Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners, the author explores the idea of what makes a polyglot and hyper-polyglot.

He begins by tracing the steps of an early 19th century priest who wanders the world looking into monastery and church libraries to research language.  The priest eventually becomes a professor of oriental languages at the University of Bologna and later becomes a cardinal in the Vatican in Rome.

What’s his name?  Giuseppe Mezzofanti is known for speaking at least twenty-four languages.  According to one account of English tourists who found him at the Vatican, the good Cardinal claimed to speak forty-five languages.  After a while I guess you stop counting.  Erard defines the cardinal as a hyper-polyglot.

Discover Your Inner Polyglot

Cardinal Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti

But what really makes a Polyglot or hyper-polyglot?  Without giving the whole book away.  Erard proposes that there are common characteristics among polyglots.  One key characteristic of polyglots is their social skills.  Whether they’re extroverts or not they tend to find themselves in social situations that require them to communicate in a foreign language.

Polyglots focus on communication rather than getting it “right” grammatically. In other words, they employ whatever tools are available at the time to get their point across, including body language.  It’s a pragmatic approach.

So a polyglot is simply defined as a person who can speak and master more than one language (4-5) because they desire or have to communicate in a foreign language.  A hyper-polyglot is someone who can master 6-10 languages with facility.

Another example of this is a participant we had in our “Super Thinking + Spanish” course by name of Sree.   Sree was an American, originally from India, who spoke three languages. She decided to learn Spanish because her young son was just starting a course at school and she wanted to participate.

To make a long story short, Sree very soon picked up the “lingo” so to speak and quickly absorbed the techniques and information in class.  You see many folks from India speak several languages because it’s required in school and it’s practical for someone to get along living in a multicultural/language country. I told to her that she certainly has the characteristics of a polyglot.

The Science of Language

Discover Your Inner Polyglot

Nature’s Mind
by Michael Gazzaniga

In Michael Gazzaniga’s book, Nature’s Mind: Biological Roots of  Thinking, Emotions, Sexuality, Language, and Intelligence, he points out that new neural pathways build each time a person learns a new language.

These increasing complex highways create a sophisticated neural network (neural plasticity).  This explains why the more languages an individual learns, the faster higher retention and mastery occurs.

Sree already knew three languages and desired to acquire a fourth to work with her son.  That would explain to me why she quickly went “to the head of the class.”

(Here’s a note of disclosure.  I do not have an affiliation with either the two previous books or their authors.  I just hope they’ll be useful to you – they have been to me.)


You Too Can Discover Your Inner Polyglot

Whether you desire to be a polyglot or just learn another language, the “Super Thinking + Spanish” course can help you discover your inner polyglot.

Super Thinking + Spanish Group Sentence Creation

Super Thinking + Spanish Session Sarasota Florida
Sentence Creation with Support Group
Photo by Hispanic Globe

In “Super Thinking” we employ both new and old technologies to achieve results.  It seems that your progress is unlimited.

I’ve seen how course participants grow exponentially in their abilities to adapt, absorb, create, and communicate in a language that shortly beforehand they couldn’t speak.  That’s one thing that makes language learning fun and captivating for me.

“Super Thinking + Spanish” is one way to expand your neural pathways and create a sophisticated brain structure to take on other learning challenges.

Let’s face it.  It’s been said (Shakespeare) that life is a stage.  Life is a school too and we have signed up for it whether we like it or not, so why not make it fun and productive?

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote, Chapter XXIV


Here’s a long video of Michael Erard’s discussion of Babel No More at Google:


If you’re interested in some of the latest brain research, here’s a long video by 

Michael Gazzaniga: The Distributed Networks of Mind at The University of Edinburgh



, , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »