Timothy Doner: The World’s Youngest Polyglot


Timothy Doner, at the age of 16, has mastered over 15 languages of different roots. Doner can read, write and fluently speak Russian, Italian, Persian, Swahili, Indonesian, Hindi, Ojibwe, Pashto, Turkish, Hausa, Kurdish, Yiddish, Dutch, Croatian and German. What’s more surprising is that he achieved it all through self-study and taking assistance of grammar book as well as flash card applications on his iPhone. Moreover, at the Dalton School, Doner is familiar with French, Latin and Mandarin and communicates with his schoolmates in their mother tongues.

In order to brush up his language skills, Doner doesn’t need to visit any language learning center; instead, he visits nearby communities, spends time with his classmates, and finds people with common interest of learning new languages by e-mailing and making friendship on Skype . During holidays, he utilizes his time by spending more than 15 hours a day venturing into the fundamentals of a language. Besides languages, he has knowledge about the history of Islamic expansion and the areas of the brain associated with language. His curiosity, enthusiasm and dedication to learning new languages has made him the world’s youngest Polyglot.

Much against the popular belief, Timothy Doner has proved that Americans can be multilingual and can be equally interested in different languages and cultures of the world. In an interview to the BBC he advised language enthusiasts to take interest in the grammar of the language they intend to learn.
SuccessStories team wishes him all the very best!

You Might Also Like To Read reviews of Claude Cartaginese’s The Polyglot Project: How to Learn Multiple Languages

Info Source: The New York Times

  • Chuck Cairns

    Perhaps Mr. Doner would profit from taking a formal course in linguistics. Hunter College is a good college near him that offers such courses. I am a professor emeritus of linguistics at the City University of New York and I would be happy to help him find such a course or some introductory textbooks that he could do on his own. He appears to be a natural linguist whose interest in becoming a polyglot morphed into a life long interest in linguistics.

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  • this kid needs to teach me how to speak German and Hausa. I am a 24 year old Nigerian, living and schooling in Nigeria. studying linguistics, Igbo and other Nigerian languages in the university of Nigeria nsukka. I have lived all my life in Abuja yet I can speak little or no Hausa. I am taking German as a course in school yet its been four years and i haven’t been able to learn anything yet its amazing he did this all by himself. i speak english, nigerian pidgin, ibibio, efik, of course little hausa, little igbo, little german. wish Nigerians could Learn from him cos i have. bravo man!

    • Hi eBong!

      Timothy Doner, as he has revealed this in an interview to the BBC, loves interacting with people via Skype. You must give it a try 🙂

  • I don’t think “world’s youngest polyglot” is an accurate statement.

    Children and teenagers in many parts of the world speak multiple languages from a much younger age.

  • Chinmay

    hey my name is Chinmay Karkhanis I am from India Well looking forward to contact you as
    soon as possible i m interested in learning many of such languages so dude if possible please add me up on skype my skype id is chinu_1990 hope ull fine me …

  • komang suandewi

    the youngest smart men!

  • dariush

    hey man im from iran and i wanna have a contact of u can i searched for ur email but i found nothig if u saw this add me [email protected]

  • bob

    that is not true, in a video he said only one sentence in ojibwe and you claim that he’s fluent? lol