What is a Hyperpolyglot

What is a Hyperpolyglot?


As a “hyper-polyglot,” Vaughn Smith of Gaithersburg, Maryland, speaks at least 11 languages. It basically indicates that picking up new languages is simple.

The Washington Post recently confirmed that Smith is fluent in or is able to carry on a conversation in essentially all of the European languages, including Welsh, Irish Gaelic, and Scottish Gaelic. It is not uncommon to meet someone from, say, Belgium or Switzerland, who can speak four or five European languages.

The modest and compassionate man is fluent in a number of tribal languages, including Lakota, Salish, Navajo, and Nahuatl. From the far East, he is conversant in Japanese, Mandarin, Sinhalese, Indonesian, and Amharic (Ethiopian). From the center of the map, he is conversant in Hebrew and Arabic.

Vaughn says the appeal is to connect with people because when you speak their language, people are friendlier and happier. Given that he had trouble participating in class and reading others’ emotions, he and his mother both believe that he may be autistic to some extent. The passersby would probably not guess that he was on the autism spectrum, though, similar to his proficiency in 40 other languages.

It seems poetic—almost a paradox—that he may have developed an exceptional talent that seems designed to help him interact with others as a result of his disease.


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