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.Â It also is used to describe â€œwidely diverseâ€ cultural or ethnic origins.
Or you could say that a person has â€œpolygotticâ€ tendencies or he or she is â€œpolyglottous.â€Â I could on and on but you get the idea.Â Learning language can be fun, eh? (A shout out to my Canadian friends).
Are You a Polyglot and Donâ€™t Know it?
In Michael Erardâ€™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.Â 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?Â Giuseppe Mezzofanti is known for speaking at least twenty-four languages.Â According to one account of English tourists who found him at the Vatican, the good Cardinal claimed to speak forty-five languages.Â After a while I guess you stop counting.Â Erard defines the cardinal as a hyper-polyglot.
But what really makes a Polyglot or hyper-polyglot?Â Without giving the whole book away.Â Erard proposes that there are common characteristics among polyglots.Â One key characteristic of polyglots is their social skills.Â Whether theyâ€™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 â€œrightâ€ grammatically. In other words, they employ whatever tools are available at the time to get their point across, including body language.Â Itâ€™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.Â A hyper-polyglot is someone who can master 6-10 languages with facility.
Another example of this is a participant we had in our â€œSuper Thinking + Spanishâ€ course by name of Sree.Â Â 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 â€œlingoâ€ so to speak and quickly absorbed the techniques and information in class.Â You see many folks from India speak several languages because itâ€™s required in school and itâ€™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
In Michael Gazzanigaâ€™s book, Natureâ€™s Mind: Biological Roots ofÂ 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). Â 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. Â That would explain to me why she quickly went â€œto the head of the class.â€
(Hereâ€™s a note of disclosure.Â I do not have an affiliation with either the two previous books or their authors.Â I just hope theyâ€™ll be useful to you â€“ 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 â€œSuper Thinking + Spanishâ€ course can help you discover your inner polyglot.
In â€œSuper Thinkingâ€ we employ both new and old technologies to achieve results.Â It seems that your progress is unlimited.
Iâ€™ve seen how course participants grow exponentially in their abilities to adapt, absorb, create, and communicate in a language that shortly beforehand they couldnâ€™t speak. Â Thatâ€™s one thing that makes language learning fun and captivating for me.
â€œSuper Thinking + Spanishâ€ is one way to expand your neural pathways and create a sophisticated brain structure to take on other learning challenges.
Letâ€™s face it.Â Itâ€™s been said (Shakespeare) that life is a stage.Â 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?
â€œThe proof of the pudding is in the eating.â€
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 byÂ
Michael Gazzaniga: The Distributed Networks of Mind at The University of Edinburgh