Ioannis Ikonomou, a Greek translator, is not your typical polyglot who speaks four or five major languages fluently, which is impressive in and of itself; he speaks 32. He speaks 16 fluently and can translate 16 more. Forget Google translate, Ioannis has the software all in his brain!
Ikonomou, who was born in Heraklion, Crete, is regarded as Europe’s most multilingual individual. The Greek polyglot studied linguistics at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University before going on to Columbia University in New York to pursue postgraduate studies in Middle Eastern languages and civilizations.
Following his education, Ikonomou went to Europe to work as a translator for the European Commission. Ioannis stood out even among the most skilled translators already working there for his amazing linguistic abilities.
Ikonomou is unique in that he speaks a vast variety of languages, many of which have no linguistic relation to one another.
The Greek polyglot speaks English, German, Spanish, French, Swedish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, Portuguese, Chinese, Kurdish, Armenian, Persian, Serbo-Croatian, Danish, Hindi, Urdu, Romanian, Czech, Finnish, and Sanskrit. All this in addition to his own native language, Greek!
The Greek genius also speaks Ancient Greek, Latin, Ancient Iranian, Ancient Persian, Classical Armenian, Gothic, Ancient Bulgarian, Hittite, and Lubik, an ancient Asian language.
Ioannis began his linguistic journey when he was just a child. At the age of five, Ikonomou began listening to foreign languages spoken by tourists visiting Crete. He became obsessed with studying as many languages as he could in order to understand what those folks were saying.
Before leaving school, the Greek polyglot spoke eight languages. Two years later, while on vacation in Rethymno, Crete, the Greek polyglot started learning German from a teacher at the age of seven.
He admits it’s difficult to remember all these languages. “It’s a struggle, I’m not a machine. I’m flesh and bones, I forget languages, I get confused. When I speak Spanish I can use a Portuguese expression but it’s a fight and it’s worth giving it. When I learn a language, I do everything related to the culture and history of the respective country,” Ioannis stated.
Bravo to the intellectual Ioannis! The world needs more great minds like him. A gifted Greek genius that is Europe’s most multilingual person!