Many individuals across the world share one thing in common – they are multilingual, and can speak a number of different languages.
However, I was taken aback by recent reports of one 22-year-old chap who can speak a grand total of 11 languages.
Alex Rawlings, currently studying at Oxford University, speaks Afrikaans, Catalan, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Russian and Spanish – all languages which Lingua Translations provide translation and interpreting services for.
Alex’s superb fluency has resulted in him winning a national award, and he has subsequently been named the UK’s most multi-lingual student.
The competition was set up by renowned publishers Collins, who produce dictionaries in various languages, and targeted individuals aged between 16 and 22.
Alex was helped along the way from an early age. His mother is half Greek and as a youngster she would speak to him in English, Greek and some French too, whilst he is currently studying German and Russian at university.
Like all the staff at Lingua Translations, Alex has a true passion for languages, and his upbringing and travel to various countries has significantly aided his multilingualism.
For Alex, he finds the easiest way to learn is by context, and that song lyrics are much easier to pick up than a list of words, for example. Like us, he also believes that each language has its own personality, helping to distinguish between them, but also allowing him to see similarities easily.
Driven by a desire to see more places and meet new people, Alex is eager to continue to learn new languages and become fluent in each, stating in media reports that his next is likely to be Arabic. “I think it’s beautiful and I’ve always wanted to learn it. After Russian, I think it will be easier to learn.”
Here at Lingua Translations, we take great pleasure from reading and hearing about such stories. Are you fluent in more than one language, or would you love to learn more? Let us know via the comment box below.
Lingua Translations provide a diverse range of translation and interpreting services across almost 200 languages. For more information, head on over to our languages page.