Fun Facts: Linguist or Polyglot?

Hello all,

It’s time for our next Linguist List fun fact! As linguists, we’ve all had the conversation at some point that goes, roughly, “Oh, you’re a linguist? How many languages do you speak?” followed by a hasty explanation of what linguistics actually is and how it is not about learning languages. It certainly doesn’t help that many linguists also happen to be polyglots. This is the case for all of us here at the Linguist List, so for our fun fact this week we’d like to tell you a bit about the languages we speak here, besides the obvious English.

In no particular order, Becca (Jobs) speaks French and Swedish. Nils (Web Development) speaks German and a little bit of Danish. Sarah (Journals and TOCs) really loves Germanic, and knows German, some Icelandic, Old Norse, and various other dead germanic languages. Everett (Conferences and Miscellaneous) knows Spanish, Japanese, and a little German. Jeremy (Books) knows Swahili, Hadza, Nigerian Pidgin, Welsh, German, and Arabic. He’s also teaching his adorable son some Swahili. Gosia (Moderator) knows Russian, Croatian, Polish, and Serbian. Peace (System Administrator) knows Korean. And Yiwen (Web Development, Supports, and Internships) knows Mandarin, Cantonese, German, and some French.

Even though learning languages isn’t what linguistics is about, they’re still pretty neat, so we do it anyway. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a broader knowledge of languages.

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading. If you appreciate services provided by the LINGUIST List like book and job announcements, please consider donating to our annual fund drive campaign. We rely on your donations to continue operating and supporting our editors.

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