Languages and linguistics for linguaphiles, polyglots, language lovers and language geeks!
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Five Accomplished Polyglots Every Language Geek Should Know About

Powell Janulus can speak 42 different languages, and was a certified court translator for 28 of those. In his thirties, he became a court translator and got paid for each language he could translate. He was entered into the Guinness World Records in 1985 for fluency in 42 languages. He had to pass a two-hour conversational fluency test with a native speaker of each of the 42 different languages he spoke at that time. It is reported that Powell speaks the following 42 languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, German, Dutch, Frisian, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Kashubian, Lusatian, Wendish, Belarusian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Armenian, Sinhalese, Tibetan, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Croatian, Greek, Turkish, Kurdish, Finnish, Korean and Persian. In his forties he expanded his repertoire to include less common languages such as Tibetan, Romani (Gypsy), Inuit (Eskimo) and Swahili.  

Kató Lomb was a Hungarian interpreter, translator and one of the first simultaneous interpreters in the world. She was able to interpret fluently in nine or ten languages and she earned money with sixteen languages (Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Ukrainian). She learned these languages mostly by teaching herself. She is the author of the books: How I Learn Languages and Harmony of Babel and With Languages in Mind: Musings of a Polyglot

Harold Williams was a journalist and linguist who spoke more than 58 languages, including  English, Zulu, Latin, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Russian, Polish, Niue, Swahili, Dobuan, Hausa, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Old Irish, Tagalog, Hungarian, Czech, Coptic, Egyptian, Hittite, Albanian, Basque, Chinese and others.

Kenneth Locke Hale was a linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who spoke over 50 languages and studied a huge variety of previously unstudied and often endangered languages—especially indigenous languages of North America, Central America and Australia. Languages investigated by Hale include Navajo, O'odham, Warlpiri, and Ulwa, among many others.

Michael Ventris deciphered Linear B, showing it to be early Greek and was an impressive linguist, though an architect by profession. He knew a wide range of European languages (during wartime training in Canada, he commented on hearing Polish and Ukrainian being spoken in the streets of Canadian cities) and before his death in a car crash in 1956, he was able to talk to Linear B symposium participants in their own languages. 

Add your favorite polyglot in the comment section below. Please include full name, brief bio and link if possible.

Netflix Streaming Movies in 45 Lesser-Studied Languages from Albanian to Georgian and from Igbo to Zulu

[Last Update: January 18, 2017] (* = added since last update)

Netflix offers movies in a wide variety of foreign languages. The problem is that they can be difficult to find without checking the audio track content of each movie individually. I decided to make this list after finding some lesser-studied languages and I hope this will also be useful to others.

This list will be periodically updated to keep it as current as possible. Please comment if you find anything I'm missing.

See Also:
Click Here for Movies Featuring Languages / Linguists

The Forgiveness of Blood


A Borrowed Identity
Eyes of a Thief
Horses of God
Return to Homs
Salt of the Sea
* Sandstorm
The Square
Under the Bombs
When I Saw You

Sesh Sanghat

Tasting Menu

The Trap
* You Carry Me

The Country Teacher

An Afghan Love Story
The Black Tulip
Tell Spring Not to Come This Year

A War
After the Wedding
Antboy: Revenge of the Fury
* Department Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes
* Department Q: The Absent One
Expedition to the End of the World
The Hunt
What we Became

* Black Book
Black Out
* Bon Bini Holland
Everybody's Famous
Kill Zombie!
North Sea Texas
The Deflowering of Eva van End
Time of My Life
* Tricked


Ben X

In Bloom
* The President


* Famous in Ahmedabad

Atomic Falafel
* Baba June
Big Bad Wolves
Hot House
* Orientated
Room 514
The Attack
The Bubble
The Flat
The Matchmaker
Zero Motivation

Click Here for Movies in Hindi 

White God

* Rams

Onye Ozi

Look of Silence
What They Don't Talk About...
The Act of Killing

* U-Turn

Valley of Saints


The Gambler

The Dead Lands

* 1000 Rupee Note
* Sairat 

About Elly
Jafar Panchi's Taxi
Manuscripts Don't Burn
* Those who Feel the Fire Burning

* III - The Ritual 
11 Minutes
In the Name of Korczak
Jack Strong
Starting Point

Mitti Wajaan Maardi
* Saaday CM Saab
Zinda Bhaag

* Ixcanul

Beyond the Hills
Child's Pose
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
Tuesday, After Christmas
When Evening Falls on Bucharest

When Day Breaks

Last Hijack

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting Existence
Gentlemen and Gangsters (TV show)
Simon and the Oaks
We are the Best

Norte, The End of History
On the Job
The Road

* Interrogation
Theeya Velai Seyyanum Kumaru

At the Gate of the Ghost
Mercury Man
Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
Power Kids
The Gangster
The Protector 2
This Girl is Badass
Vengeance of an Assassin

A Gesar Bard's Tale

Love Me
Winter Sleep

Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom

Inshallah Football
Josh (Against the Grain)
Na Maloom Afraad
These Birds Walk


How to Translate the Word Hoarder in Other Languages

Sometimes you hear a word in your native language and then you suddenly realize that you don't know or have never heard that word or expression used in your foreign language. Often you are not even aware of this lexical gap in your vocabulary. A useful exercise is to go on a vocabulary exploration or hunt - as described by Anthony Lauder in his four-part series The Spiral Method of Language Learning

For example, while watching a popular American television show, I realized that I didn't know how the word "hoarder" or "hoarding" was translated in some of my languages. Pathological or compulsive hoarding, also known as Diogenes syndrome, is a specific type of behavior characterized by acquiring and failing to throw out a large number of items that would appear to have little or no value to others (e.g. papers, notes, flyers, newspapers, clothes) and severe cluttering of the person's home so that it is no longer able to function as a viable living space. But how is this idea expressed in other languages? I decided to do some research.

One of the terms used for hoarder in Spanish is "acaparador(a)" and hoarding is "acaparamiento" as in the "acaparamiento de bienes" (hoarding of possessions). While native Spanish speakers concur that this is the term used to refer to hoarding, the term is also used to describe monopolizing the sale of a good or product or just simply stockpiling. As a result, many speakers feel that you need to make the term more specific and say “acaparamiento obsesivo/compulsivo” (obsessive/compulsive hoarding). Italian also uses the similar “accaparratore (m)” and “accaparratrice (f)” to refer to a hoarder.

The French seem to use the word "amasseur" or, similar to Spanish, the word "accaparer", with a hoarder being referred to as "celui qui amasse" or "one who hoards". One of the translations suggested for Portuguese was "catador", but this refers more to a scavenger and I'm not sure if it adequately conveys the concept of "hoarding".

By far my favorite is the German term “Messies” and the corresponding “Messie-Syndrom”.
Germans also use the word “hamstern” and “anhäufen” as well as the term “Vermüllungssyndrom”. Here is a YouTube video from a German TV show featuring someone with Messie-Syndrom:

International Versions of Popular Reality and Game Show Franchises

The Apprentice in Brazilian Portuguese
Do you like Reality TV? Why not practice listening to a foreign language at the same time. You can use these sites to find the names of popular television shows produced in other languages. Simply open one of the lists below and find the foreign language name of the show in the foreign language and then paste it into Amazon, Google or YouTube.

International Versions of:
The Apprentice
Family Feud
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Amazing Race
Wheel of Fortune
The Voice
Big Brother
The Bachelor
Dancing with the Stars
The Biggest Loser
Fear Factor
Project Runway
Top Chef
Deal or No Deal
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Undercover Boss
Top Model
The Weakest Link
Kitchen Nightmares
Cash Cab
Don't Forget the Lyrics
The Price is Right
Supermarket Sweep
Got Talent
So You Think You Can Dance?
Wife Swap
Temptation Island
The Mole

Click Here for More Foreign Language TV Shows

Ten Truly Bizarre Language Memes and Myths: Did a mental health clinic really request Klingon interpreters? Was German almost the official language of the U.S.? Are some languages primitive and is French more logical?

1) Klingon Interpreters Wanted for Mental Health Clinic:

2)   John Kennedy and the Jelly Doughnut Misconception:

3) Cinderella's Slippers Made of Fur not Glass:

4) German Was Almost the Official Language of the United States:

5) Typoglycemia: The Order of Letters Doesn't Matter:

6) Some Languages are Primitive:

7) The Chinese Have An Alphabet:

8) French is a Logical Language:

9) Spanish is Fast, but Mandarin is Slow:

10) Eskimos Have Fifty Words for Snow:


Four Difficult Concepts of the Russian Language Made Just a Little Easier

Russian Vowel Reduction
Vowel Reduction in Russian
Russian Vowel Reduction
Rules of Reading Russian: Vowel Reduction
Russian Lessons with Olga - Stressed and Unstressed Vowels
Russian for Everyone: Vowel Reduction

Russian Verbs of Motion
Verbs of Motion: Russian Grammar
Russian Verbs of Going
Russian Motion Verbs: A Video Introduction
Verbs of Motion with Prefixes
Russian Verbs of Motion Introduction
Introduction to Verbs of Motion for Beginning Students
All You Ever Wanted to Know About Russian Verbs of Motion
The Main Difficulties When Studying Russian Verbs of Motion
Tolstoy Grammar Reference: Verbs of Motion
Prefixed Verbs of Motion
Language Hacking: Russian Verbs of Motion
Verbal Prefixes on Verbs of Motion

Russian Perfective and Imperfective Verbs
Aspects of Russian Verbs
Russian for Everyone: Verbal Aspect
The Fundamentals of Russian Verbal Aspect
Russian Verb Aspect Tutorial
The Magical Aspects of Russian Verb Construction
Russian Verbs: Perfective and Imperfective Aspects
Verbal Aspect in Russian: A Video Introduction
Russian Verb Aspect Rules
Russian Aspect Pairs
Aspect in Russian Verbs
Russian for Beginners: Verb Aspect
Imperfective and Perfective Verb Aspect Test

Russian Noun and Adjective Cases:
Russian Noun Case System
Those Agreeable Russian Adjectives
Russian Noun Declension
Russian Adjective Declension
Videos: Russian Noun Cases
Russian Cases: A Trick to Learn Them

Notes of a Wordhunter: An Experimental English - Russian Dictionary of Prickly Words & Phrases

Russian Swearing: 104 Swearing Russian Verbs Conjugated in All Tenses with Examples
Russian Motion Verbs for Intermediate Students

Modern Russian Civilisation: Learn Russian with Russian Celebrities

750 Russian Verbs and Their Uses

A Comprehensive Russian Grammar