In our thriller series The Orphan Trilogy our (fictitious) Pedemont orphans all speak a large number of languages and are therefore polyglots. Although we never actually specify how many, it’s implied that each orphan can speak dozens of languages.
They also have the ability to learn new ones quickly, and more than once we show our orphans, or orphan-operatives, completely mastering languages in the days leading up to a new mission.
While this may seem far-fetched, there have been persistent reports of CIA agents mastering languages within one week. If true, this is most likely a direct result of classified learning techniques or brain technologies not available to the general public.
Besides speculation on secret language techniques and suppressed technologies in the world of espionage, is speed learning languages really possible? We explore this in our new release book GENIUS INTELLIGENCE: Secret Techniques and Technologies to Increase IQ.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
In 2004, British autistic savant Daniel Tammet shocked Icelandic peoples when he appeared on live television to demonstrate his almost-overnight mastery of their notoriously complex language. Tammet spoke fluent Icelandic, having only studied the language for seven days.
Autistic savant Daniel Tammet…shocked Icelandic peoples.
Besides savants like Tammet and others born with rare genetic gifts that allow for such rapid memorization skills, is polyglotism, or the ability to master multiple languages, achievable for the average person?
Notable polyglots throughout history include the following (with numbers in brackets corresponding to the amount of languages they spoke fluently): Cleopatra (9), Mithridates VI of Pontus (22), John Milton (11), Noah Webster (23), Arthur Rimbaud (10+), Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti (39), Friedrich Engels (20+), Nikola Tesla (8), José Rizal (22), Harold Williams (58), Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan (36) and Kenneth L. Hale (50).
Memory is obviously a major part of mastering languages quickly. Perhaps one Joshua Foer, a former journalist who became a mnemonist – someone with the ability to recall unusually long lists of data – has some answers for those desiring to be polyglots.
Foer authored the bestselling book Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, which chronicles his journey to becoming a memory expert. The book also describes how after only one year of training he was able to become USA Memory Champion.
“Memory is like a spiderweb that catches new information,” Foer writes in Moonwalking with Einstein. “The more it catches, the bigger it grows. And the bigger it grows, the more it catches.”
Irishman Benny Lewis is a contemporary polyglot who speaks 12 languages fluently. Lewis, who taught himself Dutch in only six weeks and proved it by recording a video of himself being interviewed in Dutch, runs a website devoted to teaching others how to speed-learn languages.
The self-confessed “mediocre student” has also published a book titled Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World, which has received excellent reviews.
“The book is everything I’ve learned in 11 years of full-time language learning,” Lewis told UK news site Metro in an article dated March 13, 2014. “It’s all the changes in mentality and, of course, the techniques, because there are plenty of tricks to mastering a language from scratch.
“Language books are generally written by people with PhDs in linguistics or born into multilingual environments and I didn’t see anything that was relatable. I did poorly in school – barely passed German – and felt people would relate to that.”
Some of Lewis’ simple language learning techniques include: speaking the language from day one rather than studying text books; listening for specific words or segments you recognize rather than entire sentences; making vivid mental associations in order to remember certain words.
Bulgarian educator and psychiatrist Dr. Georgi Lozanov (1926-2012) created an education system known as Suggestopedia, which is primarily used for speed learning languages.
Although Baroque and classical music is extensively used in the curriculum, Suggestopedia (also sometimes called Suggestopædia) involves a lot more than just listening to specific compositions. Essentially, the controversial and unproven learning method incorporates a combination of passive and active learning. It also employs various arts – including singing, music, drama and paintings – to put the mind in the most suggestive state for learning.
Admittedly, Dr. Lazanov’s education system is not a conclusive method for speed learning foreign languages and has been written off as mere pseudoscience by some researchers. However, a report on Suggestopedia by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) makes for interesting reading.
Compiled by UNESCO education experts at a meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1978, the report concludes: “There is consensus that Suggestopedia is a generally superior teaching method for many subjects and for many types of students, compared with traditional methods. We have arrived at this consensus following a study of the research literature, listening to the testimony of international experts, observing films portraying Suggestopedia instruction and visiting classes in which Suggestopedia is practiced.”
Dr. Lazanov claimed throughout his career that foreign languages could be mastered in a tenth of the usual time by following his methods.
From the numerous examples listed in this chapter, it should be clear that learning multiple languages in rapid time is possible. And, unlike naturally-gifted savants such as Daniel Tammet, it should also be noted that Benny Lewis and many other historical and modern polyglots are essentially savants-by-training.
Therefore, it does indeed appear possible for the layman to acquire the necessary skills to become a polyglot.
To read more about polyglots and savants check out GENIUS INTELLIGENCE: Secret Techniques and Technologies to Increase IQ: http://www.amazon.com/GENIUS-INTELLIGENCE-Techniques-Technologies-Underground-ebook/dp/B00QXQQWXO/
To view the discussion thread on genius intelligence (the phenomenon) in our ‘Underground Knowledge’ group on Goodreads check out: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/142309-29-conspiracy-theories—a-discussion-group >>> Everyone’s welcome!