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How This Amazing Woman Helped Her Unborn Child Learn to Speak 57 Languages!

- American Linguistic Times

When university linguistic professors Susan van Rhoden and Markus Ulmerton met, it was love at first sight. “Our shared passion for languages is what initially attracted me to Markus,” Susan explains, “But I soon realized that we also shared a deeper passion for helping everyone in the world discover their enormous potential.”

Thus, it was no surprise that when Susan became pregnant, they decided to introduce their unborn fetus to the joy of foreign languages. “At first we tried all of the conventional methods for womb education,” Markus admitted, “But it just wasn’t working fast enough for us.”

Just as they were becoming desperate and about to give up hope, one afternoon while watching a documentary on PBS, Susan heard about a new scientific breakthrough and decided to undergo a risky surgical procedure to have an i-pod device implanted into the wall of her uterus (known as a u-pad) so that her child would be able to learn languages using popular internet sites such as Duolingo, YouTube or Skype.

The procedure was a success and seven months later, little Jonathan van Rhoden-Ulmerton is now fluent in over 50 languages as well as 49 dialect variations.

We asked Yale Chinese Professor Lin Bao Wu to evaluate Jonathan’s linguistic abilities. “I spoke with Jonathan via Skype in Mandarin for over three hours,” Lin Bao said, “He is truly a remarkable young man. He got a few tones wrong, but that is to be expected given that his vocal apparatus has not yet fully developed and there is some sound distortion caused by his mother’s amniotic fluid.”

Agnetha Bryndísarson, a language instructor in Iceland, was equally amazed at Jonathan’s ability to speak Icelandic in such a short period of time. “Icelandic is not an easy language to master,” she said, “But he speaks it perfectly. He is like a little vacuum sucking up words and sounds.”

We interviewed Jonathan via Skype last week about his achievements and his plans to publish a series of books to teach others how they too can learn languages quickly.

Hi Jonathan. How are you?
I’m great. How are you? Or as they say in Chinese, ni hao?

I was amazed to hear that you speak 57 languages. How many do you intend to study?
My goal is to be able to speak at least 100 languages by the time I am born, but I am mastering them so quickly now that I will most likely exceed that objective.

So, how do you learn your languages? For example, do you study grammar?
Grammar is overrated. For me it’s all about exposure. The more you expose yourself to the language, the more you will absorb. It’s not that I don’t enjoy learning noun declensions or when to use the subjunctive mood, it’s just that it’s not really necessary when you have the innate talents that I do. 

I also hear that you intend to launch your own language-learning program. What do you think about the language-learning programs available on the market today and how will yours be different?
Honestly, they are all a waste of time for most people. I mean who has the time in this day and age to read a book, learn grammar or study vocabulary? That’s so 2008! It could take years. Who wants to invest that much time? Using my method, people can just sit back and absorb the language naturally.

How did you come up with this idea?
The idea came to me one evening as I was diffusing nutrients through my mother’s placenta. I thought, why not do the same thing with languages? Why toil over vocabulary and reading when you can surround yourself with native speakers and let the language flow into your brain. It’s such a simple idea that I’m surprised it took a fetus like me to think of it.

What do you think about some of the other polyglots on YouTube?
Look, I decided early on that I was not going to be a negative person. I am not going to make negative comments about other language learners. It is not their fault that they lack the stem cells I have to master languages as quickly and as comprehensibly as I can.  

Do you have your own YouTube channel?
I did, but I had to delete it because I kept getting a lot of negative feedback from so-called “haters.” They criticized my pronunciation, my accent, my grammar, my enlarged fetal cranium; they said I was just reading a prepared document from my u-pad. It was ridiculous. I mean, how is a fetus supposed to practice? It’s not like I can meet native speakers at the mall or just pack my bags, travel to a foreign country and drink cocktails with the locals.

Which languages are your favorites and which ones do you speak the best?
My best languages are generally those that are not studied as widely as languages like Spanish or French, for example. I find that when a language has fewer learners, I get less negative feedback and native speakers seem more impressed to hear someone speaking their language. Many times I am mistaken for a native speaker.

Finally, I’ve heard some people claim that you aren’t really fluent in any of your languages. How do you respond to those people?
For me, fluency doesn’t necessarily mean having the same knowledge as your own native language. Fluency is the feeling that I have when I think that I am fluent. My definition of fluency is that it is fluid. In other words, my definition of fluency tends to evolve in order to match my current level in a language. As time passes and I become more proficient in a language, my definition of what it means to be fluent can also expand along with my proficiency. Just because you're a baby, doesn't mean you have to talk like one.

At that point, little Jonathan fell asleep and I had to end the interview. I can only see bright things in store for this young genius. His parents have already enrolled him in an advanced preschool and of course, he will be able to attend his parents' university at no charge. A very lucky young man who will certainly have much to say once he enters our world. I look forward to meeting you Jonathan!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What the what? This wasn't published on April's fools day, so I don't quite understand the purpose of this. Nobody actualy believes this to be true, right? It is pretty much insane.