Is there a limit to how many languages you can learn?

Guest   Sat Aug 04, 2007 1:14 am GMT
Soon we will be able to genetically engineer humans to make them much smarter, as well.
die Wahrheit   Sat Aug 04, 2007 2:07 am GMT
If it were possible to genetically alter a person so they would be smarter and speak every language, would we really want a person who could?

In my lifetime, I have found that it is the limitations of another that makes a person great.

For myself, knowing a language (German) that others did not has been a good thing for me. It didn't matter how clever, skilled, young, or rich my competition was...I have always been employed above them because I was able to fill a function as a translator or cultural advisor that no one else could.

I hate to use this quote, but it is a really good one. I heard this from Liam Neeson in Star Wars, "The ability to speak does not make you intelligent."

Food for thought.
K. T.   Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:23 am GMT
Soon we will be able to genetically engineer humans to make them much smarter, as well.-Guest

But how will we make them wiser?-K. T.

In my lifetime, I have found that it is the limitations of another that makes a person great.-Die Wahrheit

...or at least makes one person seem more impressive than another person.
Franco   Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:24 am GMT
It's pure fact, that we will create computers analogous to people, they will surpass us, and take control over Earth. A new, living, thinking, reproducing species. Esentially, humans are just computers anyway.
die Wahrheit   Sat Aug 04, 2007 2:31 pm GMT

If that is fate, then that is fate.

Maybe we should all stop learning all human languages and just start learning binary since that's what our future masters are going to speak anyway ;-)
furrykef   Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:28 pm GMT
Binary comes in languages too. After all, learning the Latin alphabet is only the first step towards learning a European language, and you have to learn them all individually. Should I learn to speak x86-64, Itanium, or something else? Hmm....

- Kef
Guest   Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:32 pm GMT
I think that computers will want to speak a logical language like Lojban.
furrykef   Sat Aug 04, 2007 9:03 pm GMT
Funny you say that, since I'm actually studying Lojban right now.
!!!   Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:01 pm GMT
Other Franco-shits, we can't get enough of these Franco-craps, please post again!!! We need to laugh!
cornelio   Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:44 pm GMT
My own limit is 40 languages but fortunately I have not reached it.
Franco   Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:56 am GMT
Why it's fortunate? Is it you don't want to reach the limit before the brain implant is invented, allowing you to not have to take a break?
Brain implant   Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:22 am GMT
Come to papa!
Luke   Sun Aug 12, 2007 6:23 pm GMT
Let's work this out. I'll take speaking a language to mean being at native level. Full time, keen work would take about 2 years to acquire a language to this level. (Of course, if you're not worried about "feeling" the language and don't care about grammatical errors, then in theory, you could learn a language every three months or so.)

So, say you start when you're 10 and live until you're 100 then you could in theory have native level proficiency in 45 languages. Of course in practice you wouldn't do that, as doing a full 9 or 10 hours of study each day just isn't practical, especially every single day of your life.

In reality, there's no reason why you couldn't be a good native level speaker of between 10 or 20 languages. That is if you're prepared to put in the hours. I imagine most people would devote themselves to about 3 or 4 and learn 10 or so more in a not so in depth way. It's up to you. How much time are you willing to put in?

Also, take into account that some languages like Portuguese and Spanish are very similar, so once you've learnt one transitioning to the other is not too difficult.
Vytenis   Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:59 am GMT
No limit. I think practically no limit. Of course, the lifespan is limited to learn, but otherwise I think no limit, human possibilitries are really amazing.