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Comment on Mezzofanti biography

  Tags: Mezzofanti | Biography
 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
michael erard
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United States
michaelerard.com
Joined 4302 days ago

24 posts - 106 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 1 of 1
11 November 2014 at 7:30pm | IP Logged 
Hi all,

Everyone on HTLAL is familiar with the controversy that swirls around Cardinal Mezzofanti. Here's an opportunity to
comment on specific parts of his story, as recorded in the biography that Charles Russell wrote about him. Was he
real? A myth? What are the best standards to use to decide whether someone "knows" a language? HTLAL members
have a lot of relevant expertise on that last question. Now you can weigh in and shape the public's perception of
polyglottery.

There are two excerpts from Russell's biography up at Genius.com, which wants to "weave itself into the fabric of
the Internet" and annotate the world.

http://x.genius.com/Charles-william-russell-the-life-of-card inal-mezzofanti-excerpt-1-annotated

http://x.genius.com/Charles-william-russell-the-life-of-card inal-mezzofanti-excerpt-2-annotated

The editor is very interested in contributions from the polyglot community, and I've been sent to invite you. Maybe
you've written about Mezzofanti elsewhere; feel free to copy and paste those thoughts. Maybe you want to write
other experiences or opinions. One excerpt centers around what it means to know a language (and secondarily the
issue of number of languages). In the other excerpt, Russell speculates on Mezzofanti's abilities.

I was commissioned to choose the excerpt and begin the annotations, which is why my name is at the top, but if you
contribute, your name or handle will be listed at the top as well. There's lots of room to annotate and comment on
annotations. Thanks!

Best,
Michael Erard




3 persons have voted this message useful



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