Collins and Livemocha find the UK's Most Multilingual Student
Meet hyperpolyglot Alex Rawlings, winner of the Collins Livemocha search for the Most Multilingual Student in Britain
We were mightily impressed by the range of languages spoken by the entrants too: the more traditional European languages were well represented, while some entrants offered languages such as Azerbaijani, Balochi, Farsi, Pasto, Igbo, Bulgarian, and Dari. Other languages presented included Gaelic, Latvian, Esperanto, Cantonese, Japanese, Arabic, Dutch, and Sindhi.
Eleven native-speaking judges tested Alex's language skills in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, Catalan, Dutch, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Russian (and English!), and each one independently reported that he exceeded the pre-intermediate/intermediate level required of him to meet the competition's criteria. We were in awe with the way Alex was able to switch effortlessly from one language to another when we tested him via Skype in January.
Catherine Whitaker, publishing director of the Collins Livemocha Active courses said “we wanted our competition to reflect the social aspect of learning languages offered by the Livemocha network, which now has over ten million members worldwide, so decided to connect with young language learners in the UK in person. We are thrilled to discover such a talented linguist as Alex, and hope that this accolade will lead him to great success in his future career”.
We were not the only ones to be impressed! On 21st February coverage of Alex’s talents spread far and wide. The BBC came over to Collins' London office to film Alex speaking his 11 languages for their BBC News Online
Actor and comedian Stephen Fry also expressed his awe via twitter to his 3,931,745 followers. Since then Alex has been interviewed on radio stations as far and wide as Israel and South Africa, and has been featured in the Huffington Post
and MSN Australia
In March we will be announcing the winner of the Collins most multilingual child contest… watch this space to hear who the lucky winner is!