|LIFE OF CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI|
Home > Mezzofanti > Biography > 1836 to 1838 > Arabic
It may perhaps be remembered, that, when Dr. Tholuck saw him in 1830, and changed quite suddenly to Arabic in the midst of a conversation in German, although he replied in that language "without hesitation and quite correctly," yet he " spoke very slowly, and, as it were, composing the words one with another." Now Dr. O'Connor informs me, that, from the day of his first coming to the Propaganda, he "fastened upon" an Egyptian student named Sciahuan, with whom he conversed continually in Arabic ; and that he also undertook (thus enjoying an opportunity of practice in two languages at once,) to instruct in it a young Maltese, likewise a student of the college. With what success this twofold practice was attended may be inferred from the fact, already recorded, that, a few years later, when M. d'Abbadie was in Kome (in 1839,) he was told by a native Syrian that Mezzofanti's fluency, as well as his knowledge of Arabic, were both admirable.
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