Meeting a person who can fluently speak more than two languages is always impressive. However, it is mind-blowing to meet someone who can speak more than 12 languages. People have learned many languages over the years, which raises a question - how many languages can a person learn?
How Do you Label People who Speak Many Languages?
A person who is fluent in one language is referred to as a monolingual. Forty percent of the population falls in this category. Those who can speak two languages are bilingual, and they make up 43 percent of the people. Thirteen percent are trilingual, and they can speak three languages fluently. Multilingual is fluent in more than four languages, and they are only 3% of the entire population.
Some people can speak more than five languages, and they are known as polyglots. They are less than one percent of the population. Hyperpolyglots are fluent in more than 12 languages, and they are sporadic to find. It means that there are people who speak more than 12 languages in the world.
One Person Can Speak Many Languages
Currently, there is only one living human being who speaks 59 languages. Ziad Fazah is the person who knows the most languages in the world. He was born in Liberia but later moved to Lebanon. His record of 59 languages still stands, although some polyglots in the past might have surpassed his record.
How Many Languages Does the Average Person Speak?
An average person can speak two to four languages in a lifetime. However, human brains work differently, and an average person's brain can handle a maximum of four languages. It takes one year to learn the basics of a language for an average person. However, it requires persistence and frequent interaction with the language to master it.
How Many Languages Can a Person Learn?
Since an average person can learn four languages, what about polyglots and hyperpolyglots? Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question because the desire and motivation to learn different languages differ. However, with the right motivation, a person can learn as many languages as possible.
Sir John Bowring, a Hong Kong governor in the 19th century, was said to know more than 200 languages. He was also fluent in 100 languages. In history, he is the polyglot who knows most languages. It is an example that shows human beings are not limited to the number of languages they can learn.
What Is the Key to Learning Many Languages?
As mentioned earlier, the motivation and purpose of learning create successful polyglots. Some people learn to fit in various careers, and some learn to travel the world. Inspiration and purpose can drive you to be a master of diverse languages.
The most successful career that relates to being a polyglot is translation services. Due to globalization, the demand for language translation services is high. A person who knows more than six languages can handle different clients conveniently. Those who are conversant with more than 12 languages have an added advantage in the industry.
Can you Get Confused by Different Languages?
It depends on the ability and motivation of a person. Some individuals can learn many languages without getting confused. However, learning similar languages can also create confusion. For instance, Spanish, French, and Italian are almost identical in some aspects. They may confuse you! The mix-up is, however, lost after getting deep into the languages.
Tips for Learning Many Languages
If you want to learn many languages, get the purpose and motivations right. It is also advisable to learn two or three languages at the same time. It saves your time, and it also broadens your vocabulary. You should also choose your preferred method of learning and do not rush the learning process.
Benefits of Learning Multiple Languages at the Same Time
Learning multiple languages at the same time helps you understand the similarity and differences between languages. It also enables you to avoid getting bored. Learning more than one language is so much more exciting! The process of learning becomes more enjoyable, and anyway, being multilingual has many cognitive benefits. Learning multiple languages at the same time also increases brain size, and it contributes to brain growth.
Do you Have a Limit?
The answer is yes. You should not learn more than four languages at the same time. Learning five languages creates overload and confusion. It is also advisable to learn similar languages at the same time.
Methods you Can Use to Learn Different Languages
You have many ways to learn foreign languages. Some people use video and audiotapes; others use films, music, books, newspapers, and magazines. Regardless of the method, translation services can guide you. Document translation services help you translate a document in a resourceful way.
Challenges When Learning Many Languages
Time management is the main challenge. People do not find time to learn different languages. Lack of consistency is also a severe encounter. People get bored on the way, especially if the languages taken are complex. Lack of proper goals makes it hard to learn many languages.
How to Overcome the Challenges
It would be best if you created a learning schedule that runs throughout the learning session. For example, if you want to learn a language in 12 weeks, you should create a plan for the 12 weeks. You should start with simple and related languages and finalize with the challenging ones. Your routine should also be in line with your personal life to create balance.
It is also essential to always stay focused on your goals. Your goals usually force you to continue learning when it gets complicated. For instance, if you want to feature in language translation services, the desire should keep you going. It would help if you also made the language learning process fun to avoid tediousness.
If you want to learn many languages, start today. There are many certified translation services out there, so you do not have a reason to give up. Translation services ensure that you understand your preferred language in the most convenient way possible.