New York Times: Babel No More is “gripping,” “entertaining,” “informative”. Here’s the review from the Times. (Graphic by Ian Adelman). Babel No More by Michael Erard is described on the front cover as “the search for the world’s most extraordinary language learners.” The book. Among the most surprising qualities of “Babel No More,” Michael Erard’s globe- trekking adventure in search of the world’s virtuosos of.
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In the tradition of the bestsellers Word Bahel and The Language Instinct comes a fascinating exploration of linguistic superlearners whose abilities shed light on the intellectual potential in us all. What do an Italian cardinal, a Connecticut blacksmith, and a German diplomat have in common with an MIT linguist, a Hungarian translator, and a Scottish church organist?
They In the tradition of the bestsellers Word Erardd and The Language Instinct comes a fascinating exploration of linguistic superlearners whose abilities shed light on the intellectual potential in us all. They were all “hyperpolyglots,” “language superlearners,” or “massive multilinguals.
Hyperpolyglots – people who, by one definition, can use six or more languages – are fascinating not simply because what they do is out of the ordinary.
Rather, their accomplishments serve as a point of reference for the rest of us; in some ways they are what the author calls a gifted neural tribe, absorbing language for reasons, and with methods, babe few people would emulate. But they are also marked by simple, if dogged, methods: Taken together, their pursuits present a natural experiment into the limits and the nature of memory and language. Part scientific detective story, part travelogue, part valentine to anyone who’s ever hoped to sprechen or parler something other than a mother tongue, Babel No More takes us all over the world to look at language learning in an entirely new way.
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Lists with This Book. Oct 22, Jeremy rated it really liked it Shelves: The main reason I picked this book up was that it featured the hyperpolyglot Alexander Arguelles who I follow on his youtube videos, his website and on the website how-to-learn-any-language. I am no polyglot myself but I have studied a fair few languages and have a fascination with them, and have done John McWorter’s three linguistics courses on The Great Courses. Currently apart from my native English, I have a B2 level in Spanish, have Japanese “on ice” to borrow a phrase from the author.
It erars around B1 level when activated and have started learning French. Despite all the criticism that this book has received, this is truly an important book. Michael Ernard delves into the lives of many important hyperpolyglots while addressing the important aspects and difficulties of multiple language acquisition, shattering many misconceptions, while trying to find psychological links between successful language learners.
The author doesn’t have all the answers and he is open micheal this. Except for a few parts of the book I think Bavel Erard has done a more than adequate amount of research – travelling the world to meet hyperpolyglots, working his way through items belonging to Mezzofanti in an Italian library, setting up an internet survery for hyperpolyglots michwel getting a decent sample size, interviewing various experts in the related academic fields note, importantly there is no real academic research done on hyperpolyglottery, only really on bilingualism and trilingualism Yes there can always have been more research, in particular more quantitative research The author babeel is very aware bael the need for thisbut for the first of it’s kind I think the author should be applauded.
Just please no more brain-as-a-globe models, something that I feel seriously insults the intelligence of the reader! Lastly I leave you to watch Alexander Arguelles’s review of the book: View all 3 comments.
Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners
Feb 02, David rated it it was ok Shelves: Learning foreign languages is a topic that interests me michaael — since retiring from my career in statistics I’ve made a concerted effort to achieve mastery of Spanish and French, and hope eventually to add Italian and Portuguese to that list. Habel the last few years I’ve given a fair amount of thought to efficient strategies for language acquisition, as well as to the challenges of switching among languages.
I don’t have any simple answers. Neither does Michael Erard, which is probably a point Learning foreign languages is a topic that interests me greatly — since retiring from my career bzbel statistics I’ve made a concerted effort to achieve mastery of Spanish and French, and hope eventually to add Italian and Portuguese to that list.
Neither does Michael Erard, which is probably a point in his favor. In researching this book etard set out to investigate the phenomenon that he refers to excruciatingly, in my view as “hyperpolyglottery”.
Acknowledging the difficulties inherent in judging such concepts as erar or “mastery” particularly in the case of historical figuresErard adopts a working definition of a “hyperpolyglot” as someone who exhibits mastery of at least six distinct languages.
By studying a number of hyperpolyglots, he hopes to gain insight into the process of language acquisition. The results of his research are frankly disappointing.
The book introduces us to a number of reasonably entertaining characters, though one of its primary conclusions seems to be that claims of “hyperpolyglottery” it hurts me to type that “word”, it’s so ugly are invariably exaggerated. The tribe of those claiming extraordinary linguistic capacities is rife with mivhael and self-promoters. And the evidence provided by the michaeo number of people whose linguistic abilities seem genuinely exceptional amounts to little more than a series of case studies.
Babel No More | The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners
There are many anecdotes, but little in the way of firm conclusions. One suspects that Doctor Erard must have been a little disappointed by the results of his investigation.
I certainly was, though I give him credit for trying. Nov 08, Ruchira Datta rated it really liked it. Erard writes on pp. In one case recorded by British psychiatrist Felicity de Zulueta, her psychotic patient, a native English speaker, switched into Spanish because he knew that Zulueta also spoke the language. Both were then surprised that his Erard writes on pp.
Both were then surprised that his hallucinations and disordered thoughts disappeared. In three other cases, Zulueta’s patients had disordered thoughts or heard voices in the language they had learned first and used most. Using a language that they spoke less frequently overall and learned later dismissed their delusions. In another case, a patient was equally psychotic in Italian and English, but heard voices only in Italian, her mother tongue.
Not only that–in English she denied that she heard voices at all, whereas in Italian, she readily admitted hearing them. Other patients hear friendly voices in their native languages, hostile ones in their second languages. A subsequent researcher quipped that the more competent an insane person was in a language, the higher their degree of psychosis. Some scientists bbabel suggested that the extra effort of using a second language jolts people out of a deluded state into reality.
Others suggest that the deeper relationship to your first language makes you less inhibited, and so more likely to express what’s troubling you. In a language learned later, you can hide from your true self. Jan 01, Will Mego rated it liked it Recommends it for: This book quickly began at 5 stars for me, but dropped to three by the end.
I did mchael it, and I do recommend it, however. The author sets the book essentially as an epic quest to find, as the title eraard, the most extraordinary language learners.
Really, we’re speaking less of people who learn well, so much as people who learn many languages, followed by argument about how well these “Hyperpolyglots” learn, how deeply they learn, and to what end. As a person who enjoys language and the learn This book quickly began at 5 stars for me, but dropped to michhael by the end. As a person who enjoys language and the learning of new language, I was deeply interested in this book.
Beginning with a case study of one historic polyglot, for what to me felt a little long, we eventually make our way to some other historic cases, then at last to some living examples. However, as the author comes into contact with brain researchers, and IMO hampered by his own admitted “positivism”, here expressed by a need to use numerical data to squeeze meaning out of case study, we digress into a number of speculations about the functioning of the brain, accompanied by in case the author is reading, I apologize quite sincerely, but it gabel be said possibly the most awkward descriptive model of locations within the human brain, ever.
I’m sure some people will be quite happy with it, but trying to picture hands upon a tilted inflatable globe of the world in order to picture where a discrete tissue structure isn’t doing it for me. I ended up thinking about the scene in Chaplin’s The Great Dictator where the Adenoid Hynkel character dances around with a globe-balloon.
The book is at it’s absolute strongest in the middle, where having finally moved on from the first figure, we find other stories, and then meet some living people. At this point, you’re going to be hooked. At this point, the book has earned 5 stars from me. One star was lost simply through endless re-explanations of possible causality, accompanied by “cliff-hanger” style breaks in the text implying some amazing discovery or unbelievable event.
I’m still not totally sure what bable thing we were being lead to about Krebs’ brain.
Increased white matter someplace around Omaha, Nebraska or a pinkie around Gibraltar, I’ll guess. But where the book erars down, and thus losing the other star comes nearer the end, where contradictions bahel to arise.
While saying there’s no connection between this and banel, he suggests there are. While more or less suggesting non-polyglots have a dimwitted obsession with methodology, he continually returns to nabel descriptions of it for every case study, and even closes the book mihcael a number of suggestion sections complete with italics.
The book spends so much energy building it’s own vocabulary of power words that by the end, you’ll be reading sentences about neural tribes of hyperpolyglottery should that be hyperpolyglotteracy though?
Yes, I spent some time just now giving it and the author a hard time. A little less reliance on hard numbers or MORE, proving somethingand a few less literary “devices” like the recapitulation-coda ending, cliffhangers, emotionally charged language where events don’t warrant and this would have easily been a 5 star book.
It just gave two away by the end is all. Aug 07, Louise rated it it was ok Shelves: The author has notes, interviews, research, studies and contacts to help him study the fascinating group of people he calls hyperpolyglots – those who have mastered 7 languages or more.
If you are looking for definitive information, you won’t find it here. While there is information interspersed throughout the rambling text not much of it is useful or enlightening.
The book is a hodge-podge. For the few hyperpolyglots he meets, the portraits are sketchy, showing the time commitment that learning The author has notes, interviews, research, studies and contacts to help him study the fascinating group of people he calls hyperpolyglots – those who have mastered 7 languages or more.
For the few hyperpolyglots he meets, the portraits are sketchy, showing the time commitment erafd learning and maintaining languages takes, but little else. There is a trip to India which merely raises awareness that it is a multi-lingual country. The author’s babe is a compilation of internet surveys which would have little merit if there were to be a peer review. One example of the disorganization is the issue of shadowing, bbel could have, if well presented, provide a clue as to how languages can be acquired.
Is this tongue in cheek? It isn’t until p.