LINGUIST List 7.1074

Thu Jul 25 1996

Disc: Multilinguality

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Antonio Mariscal, multilinguality prodigies
  2. Hans Alberg TX/UF VL5002 95666, Re: polyglotts

Message 1: multilinguality prodigies

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 10:09:31 PDT
From: Antonio Mariscal <>
Subject: multilinguality prodigies
Dear Dr. Fosse:

	To master in terms of the account given by Byron on Mezzofanti
means fully capable of speaking and discussing any subject as if you
were a native from the country whose language you have just
learned. The languague in question, learned in 48 hours was Swedish
and Byron states clearly that Mezzofanti was able to speak it as if he
were a native of that country.

	Byron was not a credulous man. He in fact, from other comments
in his works, we can see that he doubted the hability of Mezzofanti,
and confronted with him, started to test him in every language in
which he was capable of saying something, no matter if it was only a
greeting phrase or a curse. And according to his testimony Mezzofanti
answered to him in such a way that Byron had to admit that Mezzofanti
could speak every one of those languages better than most natives. In
fact he states clearly that Mezzofanti surpassed him even in English!

	By all accounts of the 117 languages that Mezzofanti knew, at
least 60 are recognized by different authorities to have been mastered
in the full sense of the word: speaking and writing them even better
than most natives. It was difficult to test Mezzofanti in some rather
rare dialects that he could speak.

	Once more I would like to stress that the method may well be
more important than the exact number. The fullest account of a method
for learning languages in the same way that Burton or even Mezzofanti
did it is given in the autobiography of Heinrich Schliemann.

	I hope you will find this information useful.

				Yours faithfully,

				Antonio Ruiz Mariscal
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Message 2: Re: polyglotts

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 07:53:04 +0200
From: Hans Alberg TX/UF VL5002 95666 <>
Subject: Re: polyglotts

Hi, In the book "Konsten att laera sig spraak" by Erik V. Gunnemark
four big polyglotts are mentioned:

Eugen M. Czerniawinski Russia (reads more than 50)
Arvo Juutilainen (Finland reads almost 60)
Donald Kenrick (UK reads 70)
Pent Nurmekund Estonia can translate from 80 languages

Best regards
Hans Alberg
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