He seemed to be okay with reading the Persian, but he failed utterly at grasping what the Russian speaker was saying. And wasn't there some Chinese in there too?
One interesting polyglot is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Tammet
, a man with Asperger's syndrome (a so-called "savant"). I heard about him because of his televised appearance in which he was challenged to learn Icelandic in a week and speak it with natives on a talk show (which he did, very successfully).
As well, "Tammet holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes."
Amazing what the human mind is capable of.
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