What is it - to speak in 40 languages ​​and speechless

What is it - to speak in 40 languages ​​and speechless

Alexander Arguelles, polyglot, 48 years old:

"How many can remember, always interested in languages. As a child, we often traveled with his family, and my father, a polyglot self-taught, with apparent ease talked with any counter, easily switching from one language to another. To me it made a great impression from time to time, but at the same time I was timid in his presence.

I can not say, that the languages ​​were given to me easily. In 11 years, I slowly mastered French in school and nearly gave up languages ​​altogether. But when the university took the German, things went differently - I loved the German writers who read in translation, and wanted to know them in the original. Since then, it has become my main motivation: when it begins to appear the meaning of a foreign language, you experience a revelation. Learn German, I'm not going to stop. Soon followed by French, Latin, Greek and Sanskrit. In the twenty-something I had already decided that spend the rest of my life on it, to learn as many languages ​​as possible.

I am often asked what is the secret, and it was true that some people just have a gift to learn new words and phrases? I did not say anything new: all my secret - this endless time spent on reading, grammar, as well as on my own technique, which I call the "tracings": walking briskly, I listen with headphones unknown language and recite it sounds. Until I started a family and children, I worked 16 hours a day. I rewrote the lyrics in Irish, Persian, Hindi, Turkish, Swahili. Gradually my inner image of all these beautiful language becomes clearer and clearer. The work is difficult, but it pays for itself with a vengeance. I learned Spanish, and there was a moment when a living language, which I had often heard around him as a child, suddenly began to open up to me, as if I removed the wax out of your ears. It is for these moments I hunt, it has become a kind of addiction. Like what happened to me in Sweden when I heard speak Swedish, it seemed a combination of elements that were already familiar to me. After three weeks, I could somehow participate in conversations at a fairly sophisticated level.

Today I read in the forty languages, and most of them can speak fluently. I studied for my life much more. Exotic languages ​​are often more difficult puzzles. I spent eight years a professor in Korea, and for almost a decade took me out to achieve in the medium level of Korean language. We now live in Singapore, and at home, if not my wife-Koreans, I communicate with his sons in French, and with it - in English. If my wife and I do not want children to understand our conversations, we go to Korean.

When I speak in a foreign language, I was transformed, becoming other, more talkative person. If tomorrow I was kidnapped and dumped in an unknown location on the planet, probably, there are only a couple or two remote areas where I could not easily explain to people.

I was more attracted to the dead and endangered languages. I studied Esperanto, and I understand the benefits of a universal language, but it would be so boring. It is as if we have come to the botanical garden, and there would be growing the plants of a single species. I was scared that prospect. "

What is it - to speak in 40 languages ​​and speechless

Andy McKillop, editor of publishing house, 62 years old:

"That morning, as always, I took the train and went to work at the publishing house. In anticipation I opened the newspaper - I always opened the first crossword puzzle, but that day something went wrong. With over thirty years of experience solving crossword puzzles, this time I wade through the questions slowly and with incredible difficulty. I thought that perhaps it from fatigue.

In the office I sat down, turned on the computer, and then found that I could not read the writing on the screen. "Strangely, the computer does not work" - I said to my assistant. She laughed. Although at the time I did not understand it from my mouth was heard meaningless nonsense.

Alarmed colleagues phoned to my wife, Beth, and she took me to drive straight to the hospital. There, we have confirmed that I had a minor stroke that damaged part of the brain that is responsible for communication. My condition called aphasia: a man with such a violation is difficult or impossible to perceive and produce speech. When Beth asked a specialist, how many will take my recovery, he said only: "If I'd known."

The deteriorated during the first days of my condition significantly. I did not understand what they say to me around, he could not say anything coherently. I could neither write nor read. After a couple of days I had to use the bathroom, and then I realized that I could not read the writing on the door. Then the first time I said to myself: "My God, this is serious." And the only time to cry. I was released a week later, and I set a goal to get better to have a few months to return to work. I started going to a speech therapist three times a week, getting home from his job, which would have restored my vocabulary and grammar. I looked at a simple picture and tried to describe them as my restless mind was wandering in the dark and could not find the words.

I slept for a long time and is still incredibly tired, but otherwise felt completely healthy. But it was not so in my life. Sitting at a table with his wife and children, I have only heard muffled rumble. I could not distinguish the sound of each other, whether it be a dog barking in the street, the music somewhere in the background, or addressed to me the words of his wife. It just pisses me off. Utter something functional, I was only able to in a month: "Pass the salt, please," "Let's go for a walk." But normal conversation remained elusive for me. I could not read a newspaper. When I sit down to watch your favorite TV series - "The Sopranos" - he does not understand a word.

Despite the fantastic support of colleagues, it quickly became obvious that I can not return to their former duties. I could not really read or talk on the phone. "Defective" - ​​that's what the epithet constantly comes to my mind. 25 years old, I thought publishing their vocation. I used to spend all their time in meetings, taking home three manuscripts in the day. I loved the book. I was not ready to say goodbye to my old "I". From time to time I choked incredible anger. In the darkest months, I devoted myself to correcting labor. I spent hours on a two-page description of some simple things like a pencil. Unable to cope with the novels and newspapers, I tried to switch to poetry and found that short lines are easier for me. It came back to me, and I re-learned to read, although much more slowly than before. I also learned patience and the ability to switch off from conversations, behind which is still not keep up. I began to spend more time outside, in the garden, and eventually found a part time - take care of the seedlings a couple of days a week. I gave myself an opportunity not in a hurry and started to enjoy it.

I gradually dropped his previous life as the old skin. I mourned her death and reconciled with the fact that I have. Today, 10 years later, one day a week I'm sitting with his grandson, and my relationship with my family stronger than it has ever been. I stopped being ambitious publisher, I no longer read through 10 books a week. I - a family man and a gardener with aphasia, and if I will be able to read 10 books a year, this is a great success. "