1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. How many languages do you hav…


How many languages do you have to know to be a polyglot ?

I know 3 languages: English C2 everything,Tamil (C1 speaking A1 writing), French B1 everything. Japanese A1 everything(just started) How much more fluency or languages do I need to know to be considered a polyglot?

May 20, 2017



According to wikipedia:

Individuals who consider themselves polyglots generally speak, read, or otherwise use five or more languages. In some cases, the number can be as high as several dozen.

Its direct translation is multilingual. So I guess you could say it as soon as you know more than one language.

Personally I only count languages you know fluently or C1/C2. I consider myself bilingual (German, my native language and English), but not more, even though I understand French fluently I have not enough active vocabulary for my own standards. I'm not even counting Swedish (which I'm learning on Duo for a while now). And I don't count bilingualism as actual polyglotism... But that's my personal view as a perfectionist.


Agreed. As a bilingual who's trying to learn too much at once, I wouldn't count myself as a polyglot yet. I haven't considered the topic through the official levels, but I'd say (personally) that if one can hold a face-to-face conversation in four or five languages, they'd be justified in using the term polyglot. But that may just be me.


About 19 at A1 level.


What does polyglot mean ?


What I always think about these questions is, what does it matter ? Would it change your life somehow if you are or are not a polyglot, in the end you know just as much whether you can call yourself a polyglot or not.


I guess "polyglot" starts whenever "[Greek number prefix]lingual" just starts sounding ridiculous. "pentalingual" seems to be about where the dictionaries stop keeping count. "hexalingual" plus you've gotta be safe.


A few languages

  • 1804

I'd say there are two kinds of polyglots, 1st - those who speak 4 or 5 languages on a proficient level. 2nd those who speak tons of (ten or more) languages on a basic level. And then 50 shades of grey in between those two kinds (like 7 languages on intermediate level). So I wouldn't consider you a polyglot, since I know 2 languages on C2 level (plus 1 more on C2 but not sure if that counts since it's similar to my native language), one on B2 level and one on A1 level and don't consider myself a polyglot at all.


Q. What is the definition of a polyglot?



A person who knows and is able to use several languages.



Several = More than two but not many.


In general thus when speaking more than 2 languages (=3 or more) according to the Oxford dictionary and using the above definitions.



One who masters or becomes fluent in many different languages (six or more) languages



It is currently not defined in the Oxford dictionary


See also:




Different people have different answers. I say that if you know 1, you're monolingual. If you know 2, you're bilingual. If you know three, you're a polyglot. So, if you know three or more I would say. Other words with "poly" in it mean three or more, so that's my opinion.

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.