Oh my god, I feel like such a dope right now. While I can barely master English, and have a few Spanish phrases (mostly having to do with alcohol) under my belt, and took six years of French that I've mostly forgotten, genius 17-year-old Timothy Doner has learned 23 languages and is learning more! He knows everything from French and German to Farsi and Arabic and some languages that only remote African tribes speak. This is CRAZY. And he apparently taught most of it to himself. Holy crikey.
Timothy is called a "hyperpolyglot," one of those people who can easily pick up a foreign language. Most of them Timothy taught himself in only a few months. I mean, it's one thing to learn a European language that's similar to English -- it's another thing to learn isiXhosa, which contains "clicking" noises that most people other than natives can't figure out how to do.
A lot of this can come in handy. Like eavesdropping on foreigners to see if they're talking about you and then answering them. Haha! That would be fun. There was one time that Timothy was in an Israeli restaurant and heard a couple of patrons being condescending about the teen and his father eating there. So he went over and politely told them what's-what in fluent Hebrew! Love it!
And did you know that Timothy might have none other than his mom to thank for this brilliant ability with languages? According to Wikipedia, a sudden spike in testosterone levels while in the uterus could explain why some people's brains are formed so that they can easily master different languages. One neuroscientist found that hyperpolyglots have an area of the brain responsible for language that is wired differently than most brains.
So if Timothy was born with a brain that made him able to pick up languages so easily, does that mean he should still be admired for it? Well, it's still fascinating and unusual. But it doesn't sound like he has to work very hard at it. I mean, if he's picking up Swahili in a month, then this kid was just born this way. It's not much different from the guy who could suddenly play Beethoven like a pro after hitting his head on the bottom of a pool.
I don't want to knock this brilliant teen's work ethic, but 23 languages, some of them incredibly difficult, by the time you're 17 means that your brain is different from my brain. And the vast majority of brains. And that means you just got lucky. But let him try to blog, eh, eh?!
Are you impressed even if this comes naturally to him?
Image via YouTube