Sunday, March 18, 2012

The most multi-lingual student in Britain

Here's an article about Britain's most multi-lingual student, who at the age of 20 is fluent in 11 languages.

Alex, who was brought up in London and went to Latymer School – one of the country's leading fee-paying schools – reckons he had a head-start. "My mother is half Greek and she spoke to me in Greek and a little bit in French when I was young," he says. "My dad had a job in Japan at a university for four years and we went out to visit him."...

For the record, the 11 languages he speaks fluently are English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian. He took A-levels in German, Spanish and Ancient Greek – and also studied French and Latin at GCSE level.
 That's an impressive list, although it should be noted that four of the languages in which he's fluent are really just modern Latin, which he studied to the GCSE (roughly the equivalent of the old year 10 School Certificate in Australia).

And in related news, this article explains why bilinguals are smarter.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

(Belated) Ides of March

To celebrate missing the Ides of March yesterday, why not read the Top Five Random References to Julius Caesar over on the Pop Classics blog.

I've often wondered who is the most famous Roman of them all - Pontius Pilate or Julius Caesar. Pilate has got to be one of the best known to Christians, and millions recite his name every week, if they happen to belong to a denomination that recites the Nicene Creed regularly. But outside Christian culture, Julius Caesar must be the best known Roman of all time. In addition to a month which either he or Augustus had named after himself (July), he's had all sorts of things named after him, from political positions (Kaiser, Tsar) to methods of child delivery, to salads.