The man who speaks 32 languages

In English, it’s polyglot. In Greek, or Hindi, or Hebrew, the word for someone who knows several languages is, well, ask Ioannis Ikonomou. The New Statesman profiles the 50-year-old translator for the European Commission in Brussels: He knows 32 languages, and that’s just the living ones. After learning his second language, English, as a 5-year-old growing up in Greece, he followed that up with German, Italian, Russian, and East African Swahili—by age 14, reports WorldCrunch. Then came the likes of Arabic and Bengali, plus a couple of dead languages (like Old Church Slavic), and he’s toying with the idea of Korean or Japanese next. He describes himself to the New Statesman as the “opposite of Odysseus,” in that he wants to open himself up to the world.

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