Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Most languages spoken by one person?

  Tags: Polyglot
 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
15 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
proevofanatik
Newbie
United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4742 days ago

15 posts - 15 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, French

 
 Message 1 of 15
05 March 2008 at 7:01pm | IP Logged 
WorId's Greatest Living Polyglot:
Brazilian makes his point in a mere 56 languages
BY TOVA CHAPOVAL
Rio de Janeiro

When police in Rio picked up an illegal alien babbling in an apparently unintelligible tongue they turned to Ziad Fazah, reckoned to be the world's greatest linguist. "I soon realized he was from Afghanistan and spoke a dialect called Hazaras," the 40 year-old Lebanese immigrant said. Through Fazah's help, the man was able to explain how he had been tortured by the Russians and was able to get asylum here. Fazah, who has been living in Brazil for 21 years, is fluent in 56 languages, winning him a mention in the Brazilian edition of the "Guinness World Book of Records" as the world's greatest living polyglot.

Fazah said his work is much in demand with Rio police. Recently he was called to interpret for another illegal alien who came from Eritrea, in northern Ethiopia. The man, who spoke a dialect known as Tucurum, was eventually deported. "Unfortunately the police couldn't pay me," Fazah said in flawless English. "But they said that if I ever have any problems I could call on them any time"

Fazah was born in Liberia but while still an infant moved with his Lebanese parents to Beirut. "By the time I was 17, I spoke 54 languages," Fazah said during an interview at his small, dark apartment in the middle-class neighborhood of Flamengo. Aside from his mother tongue of Arabic, and French and English which he learned at school, Fazah taught himself all the languages. He began with German and moved on to such Far Eastern tongues as Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese and Japanese.

At the age of 17 the Lebanese government called on him to interpret for a visiting delegation from Turkey. "When I began learning Chinese I went to the consulate of Formosa but they told me I couldn't learn it by myself," said Fazah. Determined, he bought a grammar book and a dictionary. "Two months later I went back to the consulate and they were so amazed they offered me a trip to Taipei. But I was in school at the time and could not go."

Despite his language skills Fazah has traveled very little outside of Lebanon and Brazil. At the age of 18, after graduating from the American University in Beirut with a degree in philology, Fazah moved with his parents to Brazil. His father had been living in Colombia and his mother, fearing civil war would break out, advised her husband not to come home. Instead, she joined her husband in Brazil. Fazah, who is married to a Brazilian and has one son, began working as a tutor in Rio de Janeiro, giving private lessons in Swedish, Danish, German and French.

Two years ago Fazah came to international attention when he had his abilities tested on a televised program in Spain. "They brought in people from Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand," said Fazah, whose business cards proclaim the fact that he "reads, writes and speaks 54 languages fluently." (Since printing the cards he has picked up two more languages.) He also participated in a program in Greece, where he was tested in Hungarian, Czech, Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

While in Spain, Fazah said he was contacted by an Israeli official. "They asked me if I was interested in working for the Israeli government but I feared what the Palestinians would do to me," said Fazah, who is Greek Orthodox. In the early 1970s Fazah also had a run-in with officials from the U.S. consulate, who were suspicious of his abilities to speak Chinese and Russian. "They feared I was a terrorist and asked Brazilian police to bring me in for questioning but after two hours I was let go."

Fazah is still learning new languages. The latest one he picked up was Papiamento, a Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish mixture spoken in the Caribbean islands of Aruba and CuraƧao. Fazah, who can learn 3,000 words in two to three months, said Mandarin was the hardest language to learn because of the vast number of idiograms. Fazah claimed that in seven years he can learn the rest of the world's estimated 3,000 dialects. But his dream is to create a universal language that would be written as it is spoken. He would also like to work as a U.N. translator. "I feel a person with my skills is wasting his time in Brazil," he said.


1 person has voted this message useful



Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 5073 days ago

4474 posts - 6725 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 2 of 15
05 March 2008 at 7:06pm | IP Logged 
Unfortunately, no, he is not.

1 person has voted this message useful



ilanbg
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5044 days ago

166 posts - 189 votes 
Speaks: French, English*
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (classical), Persian

 
 Message 3 of 15
05 March 2008 at 10:03pm | IP Logged 
proevofanatik wrote:
Two years ago Fazah came to international attention when he had his abilities tested on a
televised program in Spain. "They brought in people from Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand," said Fazah,
whose business cards proclaim the fact that he "reads, writes and speaks 54 languages fluently." (Since printing the
cards he has picked up two more languages.) He also participated in a program in Greece, where he was tested in
Hungarian, Czech, Korean, Chinese and Japanese.


I like how he makes specific mention of this, but the news article doesn't mention how much he embarrassed
himself...

There is no doubt about it, his language abilities are unprecedented. But he is hardly modest, and oversells
himself...
1 person has voted this message useful



rggg
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Mexico
Joined 4959 days ago

373 posts - 426 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Malay
Studies: Romanian, Catalan, Greek, German, Swedish

 
 Message 4 of 15
12 March 2008 at 9:55am | IP Logged 
54 languages? and he speaks them fluently? really?

I mean I can easily understand/accept that a person speaks 15 or 20 languages, but 54!!!....it's a little hard to believe.

I might be jealous ....... ok let me re-phrase that ....... I'm just plain jealous :)

Take care!!!


Edited by rggg on 19 August 2009 at 4:21am

1 person has voted this message useful



SamD
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5293 days ago

823 posts - 987 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French
Studies: Portuguese, Norwegian

 
 Message 5 of 15
13 March 2008 at 9:36am | IP Logged 
I can't help but wonder how a person can find time to not just learn but maintain 54 languages.

Edited by SamD on 13 March 2008 at 9:36am

1 person has voted this message useful



Marc Frisch
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 5299 days ago

1001 posts - 1169 votes 
Speaks: German*, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Italian
Studies: Persian, Tamil

 
 Message 6 of 15
13 March 2008 at 10:24am | IP Logged 
"By the time I was 17, I spoke 54 languages" Yeah, right. And pigs can fly.
You only need to look at the video where they tested his abilities to see that he's a hoax. His Persian, Mandarin, and Russian were definitely lousy.


3 persons have voted this message useful



shapd
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4783 days ago

126 posts - 208 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Modern Hebrew, French, Russian

 
 Message 7 of 15
13 March 2008 at 5:28pm | IP Logged 
There is a long long thread in this forum discussing his abilities or lack thereof. Many feel he is either a charlatan or naive in appearing on those TV programs and expecting not to be stitched up. On the other hand, there are one or two people who claim to have met him and been taught by him and are convinced he is the real thing. There are considerable doubts whether he could have had access to the amount of material he says he found at a very young age to learn his languages.
1 person has voted this message useful



SamD
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5293 days ago

823 posts - 987 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French
Studies: Portuguese, Norwegian

 
 Message 8 of 15
14 March 2008 at 9:42am | IP Logged 
At what point in your language studies can you say that you speak a language? If you set the bar low enough, it's not so difficult to say that you "speak" 54 languages.


1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 15 messages over 2 pages: 2  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.3438 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2021 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.