Stuart Jay Raj: Modern Hyperglot

die Wahrheit   Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:52 am GMT
Hmm...I found this on my Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Calendar for July 21, 2007.

"Benjamin Schulze (1689-1760) copied the Bible in longhand three times, each time in a different Indian language. He knew one hundred foreign alphabets and could recite the Lord's Prayer in two hundred and fifteen languages."

Not a modern person, but I found this to be related to the topic of the thread. Would Mr. Schulze be considered a "hyperglot?"
K. T.   Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:04 am GMT
It's my understanding that looking at the same, familiar text in several languages is a good way to compare languages.

I actually like doing this A LOT. The passage about the tower of Babel is available online in several uncommon languages for comparison.

I don't think Mr. Schulze was a hyperpolyglot, though, unless there is something more that we don't know about his communication in the languages. I agree with Mr. Lalonde at least partially on that,


I have heard or read that Sir? Richard Burton (explorer, not the actor) advised people to read the Bible in foreign languages as a learning technique. If Mr. Schulze did as you say, Die Wahrheit, then perhaps he DID know the Indian languages and that would make him a hyperpolyglot.

I noticed that everyone skipped over commenting on Mr. Raj and whether he seems like a candidate for the category of "hyperpolyglot"...LOL! Even though the interview is in Thai, there are subtitles/captions in English and Mr. Raj says various phrases in languages. I thought it would be interesting to know if he has good tones in Mandarin, etc. His Spanish was understandable. Speakers of Hindi could opine on his Hindi, etc.
K. T.   Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:08 am GMT
Oops, He only copied the Bible three times. One needs six languages for the Hyperpolyglot club. I do think, maybe some of the posters who occasionally post here may be able to join. Not yet, alas, for me.
K. T.   Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:34 am GMT

Mr. Raj has some interesting things to say about language learning and the compliments of the natives.
K. T.   Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:41 am GMT
Mr. Raj's language blog has info for people interested in these languages:

Thai, Lao, Cambodian, Mon, Burmese, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Jawa, Bali, Sunda, Melayu, Tagalog, Gu Wen (古文), Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Hokien, Naxi, Hindi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Pali, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Italian, Signed English, Auslan and other Sign Languages, and Esperanto.
simpleblob   Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:39 pm GMT
Mr. Raj 's Thai Proficiency is very good -- he speaks like a native. Though on some occasion he seems to slip to English accent, his vocabulary is huge and his choice of words is better than some natives..
K. T.   Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:54 am GMT
Thank-you for your interesting comments, S. Anything to add?
Milton   Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:31 pm GMT
I don't think that Bible or any formal/archaic style translation is ok for languages which have a different / modern form in its spoken form, think Swiss German or Brazilian Portuguese - they are one of whose languages in which written/formal and spoken/informal are very would sound like from 18th century if you used the written form in a spoken form /it is used at times, in church services and legalese, but not in normal contexts/
K. T.   Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:39 pm GMT
I don't understand your comment, Milton. Are you commenting on using "The Lord's Prayer" or using Burton's suggestion of using the Bible as a language learning tool?

There are modern language translations for the Bible in other languages other than English.
K. T.   Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:45 pm GMT
K.T.   Tue Aug 14, 2007 4:09 pm GMT
There is a long and interesting discussion about Mr. Fazah on How-to-Learn-Any-Language.Com., the Micheloud site. Mr. Raj is also discussed in another thread (section of the forum: polyglots).

I'm not sure if this is accurate, but there was some mention of having 85% understanding of a language makes for fluency (in understanding, I guess)...I kind of think this is funny. I could honestly start padding my CV with languages, then and I'd be a hyperpolyglot too. I'm sure many who post here could do the same.
Guest   Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:16 pm GMT
for me 95% understanding accounts for true fluency. Nothing less or more.
Guest   Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:11 pm GMT
He knows about 15

yes, sure and donkeys fly
K. T.   Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:10 pm GMT
I'm not sure what guest means. Mr. Raj or Mr. Fazah?

15 is pretty good, imo. That's higher than my goal.

I wouldn't count myself fluent even with 95% understanding. I've got that most of the time in Italian and I don't tell people that I speak Italian
because imo, I don't. I understood Ladino and Occitan clips here at about that level and I certainly don't speak those languages.

It really is very difficult (without level checks) to know how well a person knows a language. On the Micheloud site someone commented that Mr. Raj's Thai was almost native-like and Mr. Raj gave himself a "4" out of "5"
for Thai. At least he rates himself.

I think there is a rating scale for the EU, but I don't understand it completely. The Berlitz school is very good for this kind of rating. I know pretty much where someone's level is by learning his/her Berlitz level.

Berlitz goes beyond ordinary fluency. I'm not an academic, for example, and my language usage here doesn't indicate that I'm a glorious user of English (lol), so even as a native speaker, I don't think I'd be at the top of the Berlitz scale.
Guest   Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:50 am GMT
where can i read about Berlitz rating scale in detail?