Teen Speaks 20 Languages; See YouTube’s Most Famous Polyglots

BY Jim Liao TIMEAugust 22, 2014 PRINT

Perhaps the most notorious polyglot on the internet is 18-year-old teenager Tim Doner.

The above video features a 16-year-old Doner speaking 20 languages.

This far surpasses the definition for a hyperpolyglot, a term given to those who speak six or more languages.

2 years later, Tim has spoken at TedxTeen 2014 detailing his language experiences, been hosting language contests, and featured in various media such as the New York Times, BBC, and Reuters.

To no one’s surprise, Doner will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the Fall.

However besides Doner, there are some other astonishing linguists on youtube whom Doner may have foreshadowed.

We detail them below.


Matthew(9 languages) is a polyglot who works for Babbel, and in the first video you can observe his many tongues.

In the 2nd video, Matt gets paired with someone of his own species — 6-language hyperpolyglot Erika, and you can see how they interact. There are a lot of different ways for them to communicate!


Referred to as the ‘supergirl’, 8-year-old Mabou Loiseau is some sort of super prodigy.

Not only does she hold hyperpolyplot status by speaking eight different languages, but she also is some kind of super musician, playing eight different instruments.

If you’re interested, check out her YouTube channel ‘Supergirl Mabou Loiseau‘ to see her doing all sorts of things an 8-year-old girl should not be able to do.


This is actually really neat. Two (hyper)polyglots visit a mall in Ohio, and they specifically seek out people of different ethnicities, always speaking in the participant’s native tongue.  


If you want to see lots and lots of polyglots all in one video, look no farther, especially if you’re in need of some inspiration for language learning.

This is actually footage of the polyglot conference, which was held in Budapest in May of 2013.

Jim Liao
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