Polyglots

Polyglots

Derived from the Greek word poluglōttos, which translates to “more than one tongue”, polyglots are people who have speaking, reading, or writing knowledge of several languages. Although a person who is bilingual, fluent in two languages, is technically considered a polyglot, most consider a polyglot to be fluent in at least 3 languages.

The most common way one becomes a polyglot is by learning one language and expanding to other languages within the same family. For example, a person who becomes fluent in French will find it easier to learn Italian compared to a speaker of Japanese. The reason for this is that French and Italian are both known as romance languages and as a result share similar sentence construction and vocabulary. The familiarity between languages of the same family results in a drastically reduced time to master the additional languages of that same family.

Although less common, there are still many polyglots who learn languages that don’t belong to the same family. Typically, those who learn languages that are not related to each other tend to have a higher degree of mastery in each language. Most believe that the main reason for this is the amount of attention and time they spend learning the different concepts of each language.