Speaking in Many Languages


There are millions of people, even in the mostly monolingual US, who speak more than one language at home. Competence in three languages is not unusual, and we’ve all heard stories of grandmas and grandpas who had to master four or five languages on their way from the old country to the new. In India it is common for people to go about their business every day using five or six different languages. But what about 10, 20, 30, 100 languages? What’s the upper limit on the number of languages a person can know?

Stories of Mezzofanti’s language prowess are so legendary, they may be merely legends. But it is clear from Erard’s time among the hyperpolyglots that with the right kind of natural talent, motivation, and hard work, remarkable feats can be accomplished. The psycholinguists Erard talked to said there was “no theoretical limit to the number of languages one could learn.” There was only the limitation of time.

“Silence is the language of god,  all else is poor translation.”

A different language is a different vision of lie. Federico Fellini

 Language is the light of the mind.

The English language is a work in progress. Have fun with it.

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.

If you can learn the language, why not learn the accent?

‘‘A different language is a different vision of life’’

To have another language is to possess a second soul. – Charlemagne

If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, That goes to his heart. – Nelson Mandela.

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