TED Conversations


This conversation is closed.

How many languages is it possible to know?

I admit that I am not a genius. I have never had an idea that I would end up speaking more than one language but it happened.. in my early 20s I found myself speaking more than 4 languages... few years later a coupe of languages came along and I learned them as well... Why? I don't know.
true to be told I didn't go to university for this, I only went for Communication Science. after learning all those languages, it made me believe;
if I can, then anyone can (but maybe not everyone)

How many languages do you speak?
If you could learn one more foreign langues, what would it be?
What stopped you from learning more than one (if you speak only one)
why is it so important to learn any foreign language when we want a global village, and what language should be spoken in that village?

an interesting article to be read about the capacity and ability of human brain in learning and knowing languages:



Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 11 2013: I want to say an infinite number of languages, but somehow I believe that the number is quite finite, if we mean speaking, understanding, reading and writing a foreign language at more than the average asking-for-street-directions-in-a-foreign-country level. Learning the basics is one thing, actually using a language for, let's say, professional purposes is a whole other ballgame. All in all, though, depending on whether one is bilingual or, even better, trilingual, I say depending on where you live (the Netherlands, for example) and how much time you invest in it, learning a fairly extended number of languages is feasible.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.