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I have spoken to Ziad Fazah

 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
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Solfrid Cristin
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Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 1 of 104
09 November 2011 at 10:09pm | IP Logged 
This evening I spoke to Ziad Fazah. The real Ziad Fazah. I was so disappointed when a fake one turned up a couple of weeks ago, that another member of the forum kindly asked me if I would like to speak with Ziad Fazah myself, I said yes of course, and after an initial e-mail exchange, we agreed that I call him this evening and we ended up speaking for 40 minutes.

Everyone who have spoken to him before, have underlined what a kind and gentle man he is, and I can only agree to that. I had planned to ask him a gazillion questions, but he asked me so much about myself, that I only got to ask him a few.

We talked in Spanish, English, French, German and Italian, and he said a few words to me in Norwegian and Russian. He is fluent in Spanish, English and French, and both his German and Italian was better than mine as far as grammar and vocabulary goes. He had written an e-mail to me in Norwegian, but he said he needed to refresh it before he could talk it actively, and that he was happy to have occasion to practice it with me when he had done so. The shortness of our Russian conversation was due to the fact that I am not functional in Russian, so I only understood about half of what he said. As far as I understood, the languages we spoke in, plus Portuguese and Arabic are the only languages he uses on a regular basis, so he needs some time to go over his other languages before he could use them actively. When I asked him, he confirmed that he spoke 59 languages.

We agreed to talk again, and I must say it was a pleasure to speak to him. He mentioned the Chile-video, and said that he had been told that he would be interviewed in Spanish only, and would not be asked to speak any other languages, and got the shock of his life when people from many languages he did not use on a daily basis were there to quiz him. He also said that he was asked to come again later, and that this time everything went well, but that that video of course was not posted on the internet.

I am full of impressions now, but will write more of what we talked about tomorrow. I will call him again, and will hopefully be able to ask him more. If any of you have any questions you would like to ask him, I can pass them on.

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Fasulye
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 Message 2 of 104
09 November 2011 at 10:20pm | IP Logged 
Thanks a lot for this post, Solfrid Cristina! As far as I know you are the first person of this HTLAL - forum who has spoken to Ziad Fazah directly and gives use here an authentic impression. For me personally this information is more valuable than these You Tube videos about the TV-Show stunt.

Fasulye


Edited by Fasulye on 09 November 2011 at 10:23pm

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meramarina
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 Message 3 of 104
09 November 2011 at 11:12pm | IP Logged 
What an fascinating experience! Thanks for passing it along to the rest of us!

I don't know too much about Mr. Fazah other than what I've read here, but would love to hear more about his languages and accomplishments. He is very welcome to join us here if he is available to tell us a little more about himself and his language studies. He may know about the forum already, and I understand that he must be a busy man, but please let him know that we would be very much honored to hear from him!
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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 4 of 104
09 November 2011 at 11:29pm | IP Logged 
There are at least two other members who have spoken to him, Keith and Portunhol come to mind (related thread: Recent interview with Ziad Fazah)
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Solfrid Cristin
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Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3810 days ago

4143 posts - 8863 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 5 of 104
09 November 2011 at 11:42pm | IP Logged 
@Fasulye: I know there are other members of the forum who have talked to him, but I do not know how much they have posted about it. I can however confirm that his speaking abilities are very good in the languages we spoke. Videos are hard to judge from, as you do not know whether someone is just reading a text, or if they have rehearsed it, but in a conversation weak points are more difficult to hide.

@ Meramerina: I am almost a little afraid of passing that on, even though I am sure he would be happy for the invitation, for the simple reason that we have tended to be very critical of everyone with claims of many languages. I am sure that he could speak for himself, but I would feel bad about recommending him to post her, only to get torn to pieces. A lot of unkind words have been said about him, I have said some of them myself, and I would feel horrible if he came here, only to get ambushed.
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meramarina
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 Message 6 of 104
10 November 2011 at 12:13am | IP Logged 
I understand and you are right about that, I would not want him to have to deal with any disrespect by any means here. I think he has been invited before, so just tell him that his achievements are a great inspiration for those of us here who aspire to learn many languages. (and of course those of us who have already do so!)
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newyorkeric
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 Message 7 of 104
10 November 2011 at 2:51am | IP Logged 
We had a member who claimed to be taking lessons from ZF, and I believe he said that ZF was aware of the forum.
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newyorkeric
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 Message 8 of 104
10 November 2011 at 5:49am | IP Logged 
The member is dave_m. Here is something he wrote:

I have just called Ziad and sent him a link to this forum. He was astonished that he even has fans. Hopeully I can convince him to come on these boards. He is also hoping, if anyone has any contacts, to do shows in the US where people challenge him with native speakers of many languages like he has done in Brazil.


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