Twenty-year-old Alex Rawlings has won a national competition to find the UK's most multi-lingual student.
The Oxford University undergraduate can currently speak 11 languages - English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian.Very impressive.
One comment (based on a discussion on Arun Viswanath's Facebook page)- it seems that certain aspects of languages create the most 'grunt work'.
I am thinking, in particular, of gendered nouns here. Every time you have to add a language like French and Hindi to your repertoire, it becomes a time consuming task to learn and keep track of all the new nouns and their associated genders. (And this is one of those things that is important to know well; otherwise, people will be tipped off as you use more and more nouns with incorrect gender). The term 'combinatorial explosion' came to mind, but it is actually not that. The extra data is only O(n) where n is the number of languages. At any rate, the volume of the data that needs to be learned as you add each additional language becomes so large that, at some point, it just becomes progressively more time consuming and ultimately impractical to remember and refresh one's knowledge of it all.