9 Languages and Counting: The Linguist

I’ve recently met and starting working with a rather amazing individual.

Typically, most people are pretty impressed to find out that someone is bilingual. Trilingual, three languages, is amazing. Four starts to approach the realm of the unbelievable, or the savant.

But Steve Kaufman, a former Canadian diplomat, speaks and reads in 9, yes, 9, that is NINE languages! Those 9 include 6 European languages – English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Swedish – and three Asian languages – Japanese, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

Oh and by the way, in his spare time he’s learning Korean and Portuguese.

Steve and his son Mark have started up a website for teaching language learning. They’ve started with English. Where does a lowly English speaker like me fit in? I’m going to be helping with some guerilla marketing, perhaps some product and market definition, and a few other things here and there, all on a contract basis.

My biggest question is: how on earth can a person learn so many languages, and keep them all straight? I guess this is Steve’s answer: do what you enjoy doing.

That’s the philosophy behind The Linguist language learning site as well. The goal is to make language learning as fun and painless and possible – while delivering quick results.

I’ll post more about that in a couple of days.