It’s not unusual for youth nowadays to speak more than one language, but 32-year-old Muhamed Mešić is not your typical polyglot. He can communicate fluently in 56 different languages and claims to understand over 70 of them.
Ever since he was a little boy growing up in Tuzla, an industrial city in the former Yugoslavia (currently in Bosnia Herzegovina), Muhamed Mešić was fascinated by languages. His exceptional talent for quickly learning to communicate in different languages was discovered by chance, when he was just 5-years-old. He was on vacation with his family, in Greece, and recalls being able to listen to their local neighbor speaking Greek and figuring out what he was saying from the situation they were in.
But that was only the beginning of his journey to mastering as many languages as he could. When he was nine, he picked up Swedish from the Swedish soldiers stationed in his town during the Bosnian Civil War, and after the conflict he went on a trip to Hungary and managed to learn Hungarian as well.
Before long, his family realized that there was something special about Muhamed. The doctors who examined him concluded that it was his Asperger’s Syndrome (a light form of Autism) that allowed him to pick up new foreign languages so easily, sometimes unintentionally. He recalls that one time, a friend asked him to learn Latvian so he could accompany him on a business trip, and he was able to become fluent in the Baltic language in just 2 weeks, with the help of YouTube, two books and 43 cartoons.
But despite his remarkable ability to pick up foreign languages with ease, Muhamed Mešić is also 100% dedicated to his passion for languages and dedicates almost all of his time to studying and practicing them. Muhammed says that he hardly has any free time, which is tough for a 32-year-old, but at the same time, dedicating himself to his passion makes him feel happy and fulfilled.
Today, Muhamed Mešić speaks an impressive 56 different languages, from common ones like English or Portuguese, to Japanese and Georgian, and even tongues that most of us have never even heard of, like Kinyarwanda (official language of Rwanda) or Quechua (the language of the indigenous people of the central Andes of South America). Some of them he rarely gets to practice in real life, but that doesn’t make them any less important.
56 sounds like an awful lot, but Muhamed claims that the more languages you speak, the easier it is to learn new ones, because many of them have quite a lot of similarities.