The official definition of a polyglot is someone who speaks several languages; in general, the word describes a person who is fluent in at least four languages. But there are also the “hyperglots” referring to persons who can speak more than ten languages; by way of illustration we are showing here some unusual facts about polyglots.
You don’t have to be young to learn
Until a few years ago, many neuroscientists thought that childhood would be the best period to learn a new language and become fluent in it. However, studies have already shown that this may not be the full truth: our ability to learn languages is not substantially reduced as we age. Therefore, it is never late to start studying!
Learning a new language requires a lot of effort from our memory systems: the procedural memory – which programs the muscles for the small movements required in pronunciation; the declarative memory – making us to recall the facts, and the “implicit” and “explicit” memory – causing the words and structures to be always on the tip of our tongue. Because it stirs our memory quite a lot, the learning of a new language is a great exercise for the brain and several studies have already shown that it improves our attention and our memory. Besides, according to a York University research with immigrants, speaking two languages may postpone the onset of dementia by five years; for those speaking three languages, the diagnosis comes around six years later, while for those fluent in four or more languages, the disease can be postponed by nine years.
Reunion of Polyglots
Every year polyglots from around the planet get together in the Polyglot Gathering which usually welcomes 500 participants. The 2018 meeting took place in Bratislava, Slovakia between May 30 and June 3; you don’t have to be polyglot to participate, it is sufficient being a language learning enthusiast.
References: https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/noticias/2015/06/150601_vert_fut_segredos_poliglotas_ml, https://www.polyglotbratislava.com/, https://super.abril.com.br/ciencia/super-poliglotas-como-funciona-a-cabeca-das-pessoas-que-aprendem-dezenas-de-idiomas/