A couple of reviews of Babel No More have come out recently. One of them appeared in The Economist, where the reviewer says (at the beginning of a clever summary of the entire book) that:

In “Babel No More”, Michael Erard has written the first serious book about the people who master vast numbers of languages—or claim to. A journalist with some linguistics training, Mr Erard is not a hyperpolyglot himself (he speaks some Spanish and Chinese), but he approaches his topic with both wonder and a healthy dash of scepticism.

Then I was interviewed by Nataly Kelly, a Spanish-English translator, obsessive language learner, and Chief Research Officer at Common Sense Advisory. I told her (among many other things) that:

Doing research and traveling spurred me to study Italian and Hindi, and when I was in Bangalore I sat in on two Kannada classes and wished I could have stayed in south India longer. Looking at the archives of Cardinal Mezzofanti in Bologna, I found myself reading a lot of French, Italian, and Spanish. After finishing the book, I've been given a greater appreciation for doing things to maintain the plasticity of my brain, and I'm very interested in taking up a musical instrument. And like a lot of American parents, I'm compelled to make educational decisions for my son that will give him early access to foreign languages.

Finally, I was also interviewed by Colleen Ross of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for a piece whose title I have sort of borrowed for this post, about the "secrets" of language learning. As I have been writing, there are no secrets, though putting that title on blog posts and articles certainly will get people to click on it. There are a lot of methods available, most certainly more than we are shown in the typical foreign language classroom.

Oh, yeah: Fashion Magazine dilates on the word "hyperpolyglot" and calls me "linguistically impassioned." Which I guess I am. Definitely check this piece out for the graphic by Lewis Merritt.

About the Author

Michael Erard, Ph.D.

Michael Erard, Ph.D., writes about language, languages, and the people who use and study them.

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