· De Rossi
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Home > Mezzofanti > Biography > 1803 to 1806 > Polyglot translations
This correspondence with De Rossi, also, shows very remarkably that, however, at a later period of his career, Mezzofanti's wonderful faculty of language may have been sharpened by practice into what appears almost an instinct, his method of study at this time was exact, laborious, and perhaps even plodding. He appears, from the very first, to have pursued as a mean3 of study that system of written composition which was the amusement of his later years ; and he occasionally availed himself of De Rossi's superior knowledge and experience so far as to submit these compositions for his judgment and correction.
It is to one of these he alludes in the following letter :ó
I have in vain endeavoured to ascertain what were the twelve languages of this curious essay. As no trace of the copy is now to be found among De Rossi's papers, it seems probable that De Rossi, in complying with the request contained in the letter, returned the paper to the writer with his own corrections. But whatever these "twelve languages" may have been, it is certain that, even at the date of this letter, Mezzofanti's attainments were by no means confined to that limit. My attention has been called to a notice of him contained in a curious, though little-known work, published at Milan in 1806, Note 1 which describes his range of languages as far more extensive.
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