How many languages can a person know?

Knowing two or three foreign languages is no longer surprising. Perfect knowledge of numerous languages is the most important criterion for career growth in the age of globalization. A polyglot is someone who speaks multiple languages. Polyglots are people who speak four or more foreign languages, while hyperpolyglots speak more than four. For example, Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Rhaeto-Romance, making the average Swiss a polyglot.

The exact number of foreign languages a person can master has yet to be determined. The only thing we know for certain is that throughout human history, people have always been able to speak other languages in addition to their native one.

A professional writer that provides a “pay to have an essay written” service to students suggests that you read about some famous polyglots.

Buddha spoke 150 languages, according to legend, while Mohammed spoke every language spoken on the earth. Cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti, for example, spoke fluently in sixty languages, wrote songs in over fifty languages, and translated from 141 languages without ever leaving Italy! It is true that the Guinness World Records mentions Cardinal Mezzofanti's more "modest" ability to speak only twenty-six languages fluently. When the cardinal was asked about how many languages, in his opinion, a person is capable of knowing, he replied: "As many as the Lord God wants." A Finnish student was burned at the stake because he was able to memorize different languages fast and readily, which was deemed impossible without the help of demonic spirits.

Since then, the world has changed dramatically. People who know a lot of different languages are no longer put to death. However, science has yet to solve the essence of the hyperpolyglot phenomenon. Knowledge of foreign languages was already regarded as a sign of a high degree of civilization in the times that followed the Middle Ages. Bohdan Khmelnytsky, for example, has a linguistic armory of five languages.

Catherine the Great spoke three other languages in addition to German (her mother tongue) and Russian. Hyperpolyglots were also common among scientists and writers. Leo Tolstoy was fluent in English, French, and German, as well as Polish, Czech, and Italian. He also spoke Greek, Latin, Tatar, Ukrainian, and Church Slavonic, as well as Dutch, Turkish, Hebrew, Bulgarian, and other languages. Alexander Griboyedov studied Greek and Latin as a child and spoke German, French, Italian, and English. He eventually learned Persian, Arabic, and Turkish.

Johann Martin Schleyer, a German scientist, spoke forty-one languages. This may have allowed him to develop Wolapück, the world's first artificial language for international communication, which was the predecessor of Esperanto. Heinrich Schliemann, a prominent archaeologist, spent his spare time studying several languages. He learned about fifteen languages over the course of his life as a hobby. Needless to say, Schliemann's language skills came in handy during his excavations in many parts of the world.

What is polyglossia, or multilingualism, exactly? Is it a matter of natural ability or diligence and motivation? Is there an upper limit to which no one has yet succeeded? According to research, there is most likely no limit. Today, scientists believe that everyone who wants and needs to can learn as many languages as they wish.

We are limited only by our own desires and the shortness of human life. We can study as many languages as our energy and time will allow. The average person's brain only works at 10% of its potential, according to research. That is, we can work ten times faster and take in ten times more information. Everything depends on each individual's will, performance, drive, and perseverance.

The essential question is not how many languages we can learn, but how many we will need in our lives and how many we will allow ourselves to learn.

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