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What's new in this edition?

This edition features 20% new content, including:

  • an Editor's Preface discussing the value of polyglots for SLA research
  • the transcript of an interview Dr. Lomb did for Hungarian TV in 1974

More information:

In the late 1980s the distinguished interpreter and translator Kató Lomb profiled and interviewed 21 of her peers in search of answers to basic but deep questions on the nature of language learning. She asked:

  • "When can we say we know a language?"
  • "Which is the most important language skill: grammar, vocabulary, or good pronunciation?"
  • "What method did you use to learn languages?"
  • "Has it ever happened to you that you started learning a language, but could not cope with it?"
  • "What connection do you see between age and language learning?"
  • "Are there 'easy' and 'difficult,' 'rich' and 'poor,' 'beautiful' and 'less beautiful' languages?"
  • "What is multilingualism good for?"

The answers Lomb collected from her interlocutors are singular, provocative, and often profound. Grounded in real-world experience, they will be of interest to linguaphiles who are seeking to supplement their theoretical knowledge of language learning.



Publication Date





Berkeley, CA




First and Second Language Acquisition | Linguistics

SelectedWorks Profiles

Scott Alkire

Harmony of Babel: Profiles of Famous Polyglots, Second Edition



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