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Are polyglots at times overrated ?

  Tags: Polyglot
 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
27 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3
United States
Joined 2724 days ago

7 posts - 10 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Ancient Egyptian

 Message 25 of 27
18 June 2014 at 2:46am | IP Logged 
Polyglots aren't overrated. They do it for a reason, and I can see the value in what they do.

I'm a polyglot. I could just be studying Calculus all the time, but I study languages, especially dead ones, because I learn about my culture and other cultures, history and stuff. It's worth it, it's hard work, but it's worth it. I'm glad I can do it, most people can't. You've got to have the desire to do it, the dedication, and some good fortune.
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Senior Member
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1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 26 of 27
18 June 2014 at 9:02am | IP Logged 
You'd have to define more carefully what polyglottery was to answer this accurately. 3 languages? 5 languages? 5+ languages? B1 higher in all languages that count? B2 or higher in all languages that count? High fluency in languages that are unrelated (Chinese; Spanish; Arabic; Finnish etc)?

My grandmother spoke four languages: Lithuanian, Russian, German and English. My mother three: Lithuanian, German and English. My wife five: German, English, Latin, Italian, Plattdeutsch (though to be fair she would only count three - German, English, Italian - but if she wanted to show off on Youtube she'd presumably count five). I am not sure about my grandmother, but my mother at least was C1 at least in German and C2 in Lithuanian and English.

I never really thought of my mother and grandmother as polyglots, though perhaps I should. They didn't learn to show off on Youtube. They were Lithuanian refugees during the Second World War. My grandmother learnt Russian after the country was invaded (not sure to what level) and then they lived as refugees in German for some years (my mother went to a German school there) and then immigrated to Australia and learnt English.

I have a friend in Melbourne who came to Australia as a 'boat person' in the 1970s. She can speak Laotian, Vietnamese and English to a high level. Is she a polyglot?

I sometimes think polygottery is sneered at because it seems so unlikely, especially to monolingual English speakers, when in fact in the right circumstances it occurs all the time.

Edited by patrickwilken on 18 June 2014 at 9:06am

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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
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 Message 27 of 27
21 June 2014 at 12:36am | IP Logged 
I've met people who spoke 5 or 6 languages growing up. It's a matter of circumstance.

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