The concentrated vs the disconcentrated polyglot


Map showing the distribution of language famil...

Supertribal linguations in geographic space

I posted this on here today, when it seemed a fruitless discussion on what should be a fun activity, a play with words, was turning into the next Punic War, if you’ll pardon the Pun.

There’s more than one way to be a polyglot. Let’s allow the not-strictly-true-but-true-enough assumption that the average word in any linguist‘s portfolio takes the same time to learn, and let’s give a value of one minute to that.

Now, say one polyglot has learned 60,000 words taking 60,000 minutes of his life but these are divided over 60 languages. This Polylot speaks 60 languages with one thousand words in each language.

Another has learned 60,000 words taking 60,000 minutes of his life, but these words are concentrated into 4 languages. He speaks 4 languages with 15,000 words in each language.

Questions:

1. Which of these two polyglots has learned more language?

2. Which is the greater linguist and polyglot?

3. Who has worked harder?

4. Who has the greater achievement?

5. Who has the more impressive achievement?

6. Who gets more utility from his work?

Anyone who can answer these questions, kindly go ahead.
Because I can’t.

About David J. James

53 year old accountant who loves languages, literature, history, religion, politics, internet, vlogging and blogging and lively written discussion. Conservative Christian, married to an angel, we have three kids, and live in Warsaw, Poland. I can help you with company set-up, bookkeeping, payroll, tax, audit and due diligence all over Poland and the region.

Posted on 01/11/2010, in Blog only, Gold List Methodology, Languages and Linguistics, My posts on other fora/blogs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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