Multilingual teen

Ok, I'm very impressed. Tonight I met a friend's brother who is only 18, but speaks German, English, French, Dutch, and Hebrew totally fluently, and is currently studying Italian on his own. That's in addition to other stuff he does, including going to high school.

What is the word for someone who is fluent in five languages (and probably six, since I'm sure he'll ace Italian in no time)? If two languages is bilingual and three languages is trilingual, then is multilingual the only word for someone who's fluent in so many languages?

Bottom line: he's a lucky guy!


Lilly said...

Yeah, multilingual is a very fitting term for such linguistic genious! Wow, that really IS impressive. Wish I spoke that many different languages fluently.

Do you think that some people are more 'gifted' when it comes to learning new languages; you know, like it's easier for some to immediately pick up the phonetic aspects of a given language, the grammatical rules, etc.?

Margaret Larkin said...

Part of it is that he's lived in various countries while he's been young, so it was easier to learn those languages. I also think he has a gift for language, as do some other people, though I think sometimes people can learn a language if they *have* to in order to survive.

Anonymous said...

You call that boy a polyglot and you shake his hand!

Though my linguistic brain would love to listen to his various languages (let's go to my imaginary world where I speak all languages) and determine if he really is proficient in so many tongues. Still, medium-level expression in so many languages would be highly beneficial.

Someone better give the UN a heads up!

Margaret Larkin said...

Yeah, he's a polyglot but he's far from arrogant. I think he's quite proficient in those languages because he lives in an area of Germany located near Belgium and Holland, and he still makes trips to Israel and interacts with all types of people.

He's a lucky guy--I'd like to have a brain like that :D

Anonymous said...

Hi there mj! It's the multilingual teen, remember me? I know it comes a little late, but thank you so much for this nice blog about me! I've never read anything about myself on the internet - it's cool. So how are you doing over there in Chicago?
- Greatings from Aachen, Germany.

Margaret Larkin said...

Hey! Long time no see! How's it going? I'm bummed that Daniel is moving :( Which means you probably won't visit here--so there will be no Multilingual Teen in Chicago. Feel free to contact me via email or whatever :D