Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE. We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it. At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards. By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.
This Week’s Word: Polyglot
Polyglot is a fun word for an impressive capability. A polyglot is someone who is multilingual, frequently in the extreme sense of speaking 3 or more languages. Truly impressive polyglots (those who speak six or more languages fluently) are called hyperpolyglots. Polyglot can also refer to something containing matter in several languages, or of widely diverse origins (Tex-Mex with a side of sushi could be considered polyglot).
The origins of polyglot are Greek, from poly (many) and glotta (tongue or language).
There are many noted hyperpolyglots throughout history and society, but here are some of the more famous and impressive:
- While he was writing philosophy with Karl Marx, Frederich Engels mastered over 20 languages!
- Even more astoundingly, political economist and Hong Kong governor John Bowring reportedly spoke between 100 and 200 different languages.
- Need to see it to believe it? Check out this video of modern-day hyperpolyglot Richard Simcott speaking in 16 different languages!