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torstai 4. joulukuuta 2014

Ziad Fazah, Polyglot who spoke 58 languages

Ziad Fazah is definitely my hero. Here is a video where he shows his language skills in a tv-show. I like the courage he has in a difficult interview and the strong attitude he maintains. The video is also a bit funny.


Background

So lets talk more about Ziad Fazah. He is lebanese who was born in Liberia in 1954. Already an interesting starting point, an arab who was born in an African country. This was because his dad had work there. He lived here and there including native Lebanon and moved at some point to Brazil where he lives currently.

Language skills

Ziad claims to speak these following 59 languages:

AlbanianAmharicArabicArmenianAzerbaijaniBengaliBulgarianBurmeseCambodianCantoneseCypriotCzechDanishDutchDzongkhaEnglishFijianFinnishFrenchGermanGreekHebrewHindiHungarian,IcelandicIndonesianItalianJapaneseKhmerKoreanKyrgyzLaotianMalagasyMalayMandarinMongolianNepaliNorwegianPashtoPapiamentoPersianPolishPortugueseRomanianRussianSerbo-Croatian,ShanghaineseSinglishSinhalaSpanishStandard TibetanSwahiliSwedishTajikThaiTurkishUrduUzbek and Vietnamese

Scandals

The video above is from the chilean tv show "Viva el lunes" where he was asked to speak with some diplomats with their native languages. Ziad wasn't prepared to speak any languages because he was informed that this was only an interview and not a language test.

So this video contains the worst fails he made.

He was at one point in the Guinness Book of World Records listed as the man who spoke the most languages on earth. That category was afterwards deleted because it's so hard to define who really speaks the most languages and at what level.

My comments

Ziad has published his own books and he hasn't been afraid of being in publicity and being confident even after pretty epic fails.

I will definitely adopt his confidence of being like a boss after failing to do something I have claimed to be able to do.

It's a great learning experience to see his videos and I have to take steps forward in being the most amazing polyglot ever seen. We shall see when I'll post my first youtube videos.

Here are some blog posts about Ziad Fazah if you want to know more: 

http://thelinguistblogger.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/the-many-languages-of-ziad-fazah/
http://ardentagnostic.blogspot.fi/2009/03/ziad-fazah-man-who-does-not-speak-59.html

tiistai 2. joulukuuta 2014

The most glorious Polyglots of the History

What does polyglot mean ?

The term polyglot is used of people who speak several languages but the definition varies when you can be considered a polyglot. Rumours from wikipedia and the internetses whispered to my ear that you need to have a profiency in 6 languages to be a polyglot.

Also it's hard to define when one really has a profiency in a certain language. As a polyglot prophet I will tell my definition when you can say that you know a language.

Definitions from the legendary polyglot prophet: 

1. Talking. You are able to survive in any basic life circumstance with that language. That means buying stuff, telling naughty jokes, asking directions, seducing people around you and all this regular stuff, you know ! I know you know ;) These all show that you have got the logic of how the language works and you can improvise basically anything by combining different sentences.

2. Writing. You are able to write in this language and know their writing system. You don't need to be a Shakespeare, but at least you know how to write the things you spit out of your mouth.

3. Reading. You are able to read at least childrens' books and comics. Usually understanding written language is the easiest part in learning languages.
So if all these points are fulfilled you can consider having a profiency in a language. 



I have listed polyglots here, whom I admire and who I will leave into my shadow some day >:)




1Dr. Carlos do Amaral Freire 100

This brazilian scholar, linguist and translator stated publicly to have studied over 100 languages and 60 of them he had translated into portuguese. The University of Cambridge thinks he is one of the greatest scholars of the 21st century.

Impressive guy but I don't know if it's enough to be an admired and worshipped legend.





2. Uku Masing 65 

Uku is not from a khoisan tribe even though his name sounds like it. He isn't still alive nigga either ! Uku Masing is an Estonian linguist, theologian, ethnologist and a poet who lived between the years 1909-1985. Legends tell he knew approximately 65 languages (very precise information xD) and he could translate 20 languages. 

This is not a surprise when you think about how boring country Estonia was during the Soviet Union era. Uku had the advantage of having such a boring environment that he could concentrate very efficiently in languages. 





3. Bulcsú László 40

I don't even know how to pronounce this name. Mister Laszlo was Croatian and he spoke more than 40 languages. Besides the usual languages like English, French, German and Latin he spoke some old dead languages like Akkadian, Hittite, Sumerian and Sanskrit. 

Besides being able to read ancient scripts there's always the advantage of talking naughty really loudly somewhere with dead languages because nobody understands them. Pretty cool, maybe I'll learn Sumerian some day to read the original Gilgamesh. 





4. Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti 39

Mezzofanti is the Da Vinci of the polyglot community. He spoke 39 languages fluently. 29 of them were frequently tested and he spoke them with a rare excellence. Here are some of these languages: 

Biblical Hebrew, Rabbinical Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic, Ancient Armenian, Modern Armenian, Persian, Turkish, Albanian, Maltese, Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, English, Illyrian, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Chinese





5. Ioannis Ikonomou 32

Ionnis claims to speak 32 languages fluently. It might be true while he's a translator at the European Commission.  





6. Friedrich Engels 20

The Robin in Marxism if Karl Marx was the Batman ! Many people don't know that he mastered over 20 languages (or maybe it's just me). 





7. Timothy Doner 20

Timothy has a YouTube channel called "PolyglotPal" and the New York Times also tested his ability to speak different languages. Tim can speak the following languages:  

English, French, Hausa, Wolof, Russian, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabic, Pashto, Persian, Mandarin, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Dutch, Xhosa, Swahili, Hindi and Ojibwe




8. Alex Rawlings 11

Another polyglot from the YouTube era. He was a student at Oxford University and was named Britain's "most multilingual student" in 2012. Native speakers tested his fluency in 11 languages. 

 English, Greek, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Hebrew, Catalan, Spanish and Afrikaans





9. Sukarno 10

Yes, it is the first President of Indonesia and he was a polyglot. I wonder if the "magnificent" US and A has had even bilingual presidents xD 

Sukarno spoke Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese, Indonesian, Dutch, German, English, French, Arabic and Japanese. Pretty impressive list. 





10. Cleopatra 9 

The last ruling Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra ! According to the Roman biographer Plutarch, she could speak nine languages. Her native language was Greek and she was the only member of her dynasty to speak Egyptian. The original language of Egypt isn't in existence anymore and hasn't been in centuries. 





11. Nikola Tesla 8 

Superhuman from Serbia Nikola Tesla. One of the most amazing inventors of the world history who has inspired people like me or Elon Musk. The world needs more people like him. Too bad he wasn't that interested about girls ever :( Outstanding people like him should seriously spread there genes more, it's pretty fun also. 

He was capable of speaking Serbo-Croatian, Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Latin. 





12. Zdeno Chara 7 

Zdeno Chara is a colossal ice hockey player in the NHL. Actually the biggest player and his shot is one of the most powerful in the earth. He can speak Slovak, Czech, Polish, Swedish, Russian, German and English. 
This is outstanding for an ice hockey player. After all those hits they get it's great that someone is still capable of speaking that many languages.  

These were just some of the great polyglots, the complete list is here 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_polyglots in the holy bible of the human intelligence of all times, wikipedia !!