Richard Simcott, the hyperpolyglot

As somebody trying to increase my fluency in another language, people like this simultaneously gain my unbridled respect as well as pure jealousy. British polyglot Richard Simcott speaks 16 (yes, 16 languages), most of which are at a near-fluent level.

For me, the most impressive thing is not so much the number of languages, but the linguistic diversity of them. Many polyglots can bolster their numbers by gaining fluency in languages closely related to one another (e.g. Spanish, Italian and French), but Simcott’s expertise is impressively far-reaching. His spoken languages include Romance languages like Italian, Spanish, French and Romanian, but he has also gained mastery of Slavic tongues like Czech, Serbian and Russian, Germanic languages like Dutch and German, Scandinavian languages such as Swedish, and even Welsh, a Celtic tongue.

Watch the video above (make sure to turn annotations on for closed captions!) to hear him seamlessly switch between languages and deliver an incredibly proficient blurb in each language, with his accent switching effortlessly to accommodate the phonemes of the different tongues.

It seems that his undying passion (and considerable talent) for learning languages isn’t the only thing that has helped Simcott reach such an impressive spoken level in all these languages – a variety of studying abroad and job placements around Europe, a Macedonian wife, a Welsh heritage… all of these factors has encouraged him to gain proficiency in a wide variety of languages, and his achievements are certainly inspirational to anybody who is trying to improve their language skills, even if like me it’s only in one language!

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