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.
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.
- Who is bilingual? (psychologytoday.com)
- The Greatest Linguist Ever to Live (socyberty.com)
- Bilingualism’s best kept secret: How extensive it is (psychologytoday.com)
- Mysterious language spoken by less than 1000 people, discovered in remote village [Mad Linguistics] (io9.com)
- The Language Archive (variety.com)