Language Matters: How Hyperpolyglots Think

A “polyglot” is someone who speaks multiple languages.  A “hyperpolyglot” is someone who speaks six or more languages.

What’s it like inside the heads of these talented linguists?  The Guardian talked to four of them for their fascinating insights.

One hears languages like music, learning new sounds and grammar from the lyrics of songs.  She thinks in multiple languages, switching between them to find the perfect word for the idea she wants to express.  The language she chooses can affect her mood.

Another only spoke English until age 21, but has spent the last ten years traveling the world and learning languages along the way.  He credits many of his amazing experiences to being able to speak the language of the locals and make connections to people that would have been impossible if he only spoke English.

All of them have a passion for learning languages, and all of them know that speaking multiple languages opens doors to understanding people in new and different ways.

It makes me wonder: is speaking only one language like using only one color to paint?  Like using only one key of music?  How much do those of us who only speak one (or even two or three) languages miss out on?

How many languages do YOU speak?

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