Young polyglot

According to a Press Association article, a 10 year old British school boy has mastered ten languages, and is working on his eleventh. He grew up speaking Hindi and English, learnt Spanish, Italian, German and French at school, and has taught himself Thai, Swahili, Mandarin and Polish using CDs and DVDs, as part of a programme called the Junior Language Challenge. His next language is Luganda, one of the major languages of Uganda.

He is quoted as saying:

“Learning these languages is my favourite part of school, along with music. Learning Swahili was probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced and Mandarin Chinese was hard, too.”

A related article in The Hindu quotes the Deputy Headmaster of his schools as saying that “Arpan is a language genius, a natural when it comes to listening to an exact pronunciation and repeating it perfectly”.

His ambition is to become a surgeon and to work in various countries, which is one reason why he’s learnt the languages.

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This entry was posted in Language, Language learning.

5 Responses to Young polyglot

  1. Rmss says:

    I saw it on tv the other day. Really interesting, but I’m wondering what’s his level in the languages. He has to keep up with each and every of them because of his young years there are a lots of things he still need to get an understanding of.

  2. BG says:

    I wonder what instrument he plays or if he sings and how much music helps in learning languages. I play a few band instruments and am pretty good at learning languages IMHO.

  3. Simon says:

    BG – he plays the violin in the National Children’s Orchestra.

    I’m sure having an ear for music helps with learning languages, especially with pronunciation and intonation.

  4. James says:

    well it often does. but I have a friend who was a pro musician and their accent in Spanish is rather strong. Very strong actually. So it can help but is not automatic

  5. Alan Coady says:

    Excellent website, Simon. As a guitar teacher in schools, who considers music to be a language (although obviously more abstract than most), I was heartened to read the pupil’s quote in this story and posted a link to it, to the blog in general and to your top class website.

    You can see the post at http://edubuzz.org/blogs/alancoady/2007/11/18/12-if-you-count-music/

    Best wishes

    Alan