(Hyper)Polyglots and the Benefit of Learning New Languages

 

 

If you’re studying at EC English Language School in Brighton, you’ll be exposed to a great number of new languages spoken by your fellow students. Language is more than a method of human communication. Language is the invisible structure of our culture and our minds way of understanding that culture. Languages are organic, they may look fixed in dictionaries but check any words epistemology and one can see that words are always derived of older words and always evolving.

Take colloquialisms, idioms and slang and text talk, for example. These represent how language is constantly evolving at the hands of those who speak it. Languages are the cognitive structure for understanding a culture. In the roughly 6,500 languages each has unique characteristics not belonging to any others, these characteristics reflect the organic characteristics of the culture. This includes the environment, the peoples attitudes and their history, resulting in accents that change from region to region.

 

Cuneiform script The first written language
Cuneiform script The first written language

 

Learning a second language has huge benefits for your mind. Studies show people who learn a new language build better multi-tasking skills, improve memory, become more perceptive, have better decision making skills and learn more about their own language. Not to mention that learning a language gives you insight into the culture of that language. Some people don’t stop at a second language, but actually seek to learn as many languages as possible. These people are Polyglots (otherwise known as multilinguists). They come from all over the world with many mother tongues. Often they describe that learning each new language becomes easier and easier, as they understand the framework of a few languages it becomes easier for them to grasp others. Some polyglots, hyperpolyglots, will speak many languages fluently and will have a grasp of dozens. Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti lived in the 19th century and was known for speaking many languages fluently, such as;

Hebrew, Rabbinical Hebrew, Arabic, Chaldee, Coptic, Ancient Armenian, Modern Armenian, Persian, Turkish, Albanese, Maltese, Greek, Romaic, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Flemish, English, Illyrian, Russian, Polish, Czech, Magyar, Chinese.

What an insight into how the world thinks, hyperpolyglots must have.

 

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