Sunday, August 24, 2008

Learnt Icelandic in 7 days?! The incredible Daniel Tammet

I've just read and seen interviews with the autist Daniel Tammet. According to the English Wikipedia, he not only has prodigious mathematical talents but also knows 11 languages: English (native-speaker), French, Finnish, German, Lithuanian, Rumanian, Estonian, Icelandic, Welsh, and Esperanto!

He changed his family name to Tammet, choosing, according to an interview, the Estonian word for the oak - 'I've always had a love of Estonian. Such a vowel rich language.'

He's even created a language. It's called Mänti - which comes from the Finnish word for the pine tree, according to a (frustratingly short) post on his (English) blog. A little more information about the language can be gleaned from his interview in The Guardian.

As if this is not enough, he's apparently learnt Icelandic in 2005 in one week! At any rate, he learnt enough of the language to be interviewed in it on national television in Reykjavik!

You can see a part of that interview in the BBC documentary, "The Boy with the Incredible Brain", which can be viewed on YouTube as five, excellent films. The interview with Tammet is in the last part.

Would be very interesting if a speaker of Icelandic could comment on the interview!

Esperanto version of this post: Lernis la islandan en 7 tagoj?! La nekredebla Daniel Tammet.

No comments: