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Most languages spoken by someone you know?


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My neighbours have a very linguistically diverse family. They each speak a combination of 4-6 languages. The mother speaks Japanese, Russian, english, french and one more that I can't remember. The father speaks Greek, Russian, English, French and Spanish. They speak to each other in Russian. Both their children speak Japanese, Greek, english and french. They speak to each parent in their language (Greek/Japanese). Isn't that crazy?

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I know two people who speak so many languages they sometimes forget how many they know.

One of them was in the military so he learned Tagalog when he was stationed in the Philippines and Chamorro when he was stationed in Guam. However, growing up he spoke Russian at home and he had a good friend from Turkey who taught him Turkish. Whenever they hung out, they spoke Turkish together and the friend's family helped out. In addition those, he learned Spanish from working in a restaurant with many Mexican coworkers. Then with his knowledge of Spanish he studied Portuguese, Italian, and French on his own. If I remember correctly he learned German in college and from there studied Swedish and Norwegian. Sometimes people will be speaking a language that he doesn't know, like Dutch, and he'll understand.

The other guy I know is an old British man who studied at Oxford. He's well versed in Greek, both modern and ancient, Latin, German, French, Spanish, and Italian. When he was 70 he started learning Japanese and by now he speaks it quite well.

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I only know one person who speaks fluently in two languages. Thirteen languages is very impressive, I have always thought it is clever how if you speak more than one language that you don't get confused with the words and say the words in the wrong language. Most of the people I know can only speak in English other than a few random words of another language.

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