On Ioannis Economou and Polyglots
Ioannis Economou is a marvelous example of how much easier language-learning is than you think. The Greek translator claims to speak, read, and understand nearly all EU languages, and then some.
Over the ages, there have been numerous polyglots, self-proclaimed or otherwise. The earlier in history you go, the more impressive (and to some, questionable) claims of “polyglotism” become, considering the dearth of resources during those times. Giuseppe Mezzofanti did not have the ability to switch on his TV or computer and watch the news in Hungarian, yet learn the language fluently he did, along with a few dozen others. Quite dazzling.
What is the secret of learning so many languages? Here’s Ioannis Economou’s take: There is no secret. Make language learning part of your daily routine, in thinking, watching TV, surfing the internet, browsing the news, interacting with others. Once you learn a language, keep in touch with it, which is fairly easy with the help of technology. No need to travel to China or Arab countries to practice Chinese or Arabic. Insist, persist, persevere and always try to be in contact with the language, never losing touch with it. Always keep it as a part of your daily routine.
Well said: Insist, persist, persevere. Make it a habit. It will pay off.
For my favorite books on language-learning, and on becoming a polyglot, visit InstaLang’s Book List.