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Babel No More / Mezzofanti’s Gift

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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translator2
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 Message 105 of 149
11 February 2012 at 12:41am | IP Logged 
Babel is Not a Curse
Jean Harzic, former CEO of Alliance Francaise in Paris, speaks about the French language and cultural diversity. Learning a dozen languages, or even five or six, is beyond the reach of most of us. But if English and information technology are two tools that have become indispensable, learning a major language of communication and culture, whether it's French, Spanish, Portuguese, or German, helps to avoid a dangerous standardization: one language, one way of thinking.
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Fasulye
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 Message 106 of 149
11 February 2012 at 7:32am | IP Logged 
Here comes Babel No More's mutlilingual Mezzofanti You Tube video featuring Michael Erard and his multilingual internet friends.

Babel No More's multilingual Mezzofanti video

I had the last minute chance to participate in this video project.

Some subtitles of the Mezzofanti trailer video have been mixed up, so have a look at the video version with corrected subtitles:

Corrected version of the "Babel No More" multilingual trailer video

Fasulye

Edited by Fasulye on 13 February 2012 at 9:21am

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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 107 of 149
11 February 2012 at 11:08am | IP Logged 
Cool stuff! I have to watch it at least once more before sending my answers (two mystery languages left).
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Fasulye
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 Message 108 of 149
17 February 2012 at 9:14am | IP Logged 
There is another podcast interview with Michael Erard on "Babel No More":

Podacast interview with Michael Erard on Public Radio Tulsa

Fasulye
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Zwlth
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 Message 109 of 149
22 February 2012 at 4:53am | IP Logged 
I really enjoyed this book while I was reading it. But, when I reflect back upon it, I find one aspect of it rather disturbing. I like to think that I elected languages as my field of scholarship and that I have gotten good at them because I work hard at them. The book rather strongly implies that this is not the case. It wasn't my free choice - I probably have an oddly shaped brain. Or maybe I've only done it as a way to channel my OCD. Or maybe I've got Aspergers even though when I take the Aspie-Quizz I score in the normal zone. And should I lose sleeep wondering if I'm a latent homosexcual even though I've never thought of that before?

Is anyone else troubled by any of this?
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Michael K.
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 Message 110 of 149
22 February 2012 at 2:53pm | IP Logged 
I wouldn't worry about it, and I'm not sure if you're being serious or sarcastic.

The author even says they don't know if they are hyperpolyglots because they have unusual brain structures or if their brains have changed because they are hyperpolyglots.

Prof. Arguelles agrees with your thesis: that hyperpolyglots have succeeded because of hard work and discipline and not because of unusual brain structures.

If you really are worried about the structure of your brain, any mental disorders you may or may not have, or your sexual orientation - we have doctors and counselors for that. Don't worry or lose sleep over it.
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Zwlth
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 Message 111 of 149
23 February 2012 at 7:44am | IP Logged 
I'm not worried about myself. I'm worried that the effect of the book will be to cause its readers to make these assumptions about polyglots. When I'm introduced to new people, the fact that I'm a polyglot does tend to get mentioned. So maybe from now on those who have read Bable No More will immediately think "oh, he's gay, autistic, and can't tell left from right." That's not exactly the kind of first impression I'd be keen on making even if any of that did apply to me.
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zenmonkey
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 Message 112 of 149
23 February 2012 at 8:33am | IP Logged 
We must have read a different book.

The discussion about those clusters suggests that certain people with specific elements of laterized brain development might have a higher tendancy to various (but not necessarily inter-related) behavioural 'determinisms'. In language learning, the facility to learn languages easily, does not guarantee that you will be a polyglot, just like hard work will deliver even without some special 'gift'.

If people peg you like that from a few lines in a book, do you really care? Maybe it will get you more dates! :P

In 6 months time, no one will mention that book to you.


Edited by zenmonkey on 23 February 2012 at 8:39am



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