This is the story of Vaughn Smith, the carpet cleaner who speaks 41 languages ​​and fascinates America

History fascinates America. It is that of Vaughn Smith, a 46-year-old American who speaks nearly 41 languages. The hyperpolyglot, humble Washington carpet cleaner, recently entrusted his journey to the famous Washington Post† Since then, the article has not stopped circulating and the media is picking up this UFO with extraordinary abilities.

In a city full of embassies, Vaughn Smith could have made a career out of his remarkable language learning skills. But no, the American does not work as an interpreter for the White House or any other flagship institution of the United States. Every day, the forty-something goes to his clients and customers to clean their carpet at home.

As a child, Vaughn Smith thought there were only two languages: English, which he learned in school, and Spanish, which his mother of Mexican descent spoke to him at home. One day distant cousins ​​of his father come to visit them from Belgium. He discovers a new world. Frustrated at not understanding them, he thinks to himself “I want this power”does he trust the journalist of the Washington Post

As soon as said, as soon as done, the boy subscribed to the library and took over the foreign languages ​​section. He starts by borrowing dictionaries and grammar books in French, then in Portuguese or German.

Connect with others

Today, man has become a hyperpolyglot, a superlative that denotes people who speak more than 11 different languages. In total, it has the base of 41 languages. He speaks perfect English, Spanish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, Czech, Portuguese and Slovak, can hold long conversations in six other languages, such as Croatian, Finnish or Italian, but can also exchange more easily in 27 other languages. and dialects including sign language.

Despite his ability to learn, Vaughn Smith dropped out of school quickly. He doesn’t finish high school and does odd jobs. Without ever ceasing to learn new languages. Each new encounter is an opportunity to expand the spectrum of one’s knowledge. While helping out at a sushi restaurant, he starts to learn Japanese. He learns American Sign Language from students at Gallaudet University at a club called Tracks, famous for its dance floor with great vibes.

“I was able to practice Lithuanian today”he rushes to tell a friend on the phone. “Catalan, Spanish, Russian and a little Korean!”† Because for Vaughn Smith, speaking all these languages ​​has only one goal: to connect with others.

And the American does not want to stop there. From his smartphone, the insatiable curious connects to the Duolingo application to resume his Welsh lessons. He’s on a 330 day streak of practice and he’s not about to lose the beat!

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