The Carpet Cleaner Who Speaks 24 Languages

46 year old Vaughan Smith cleans carpets for a living and is also fluent in an astonishing number of languages:

So, how many languages do you speak?”

Oh, goodness,” Vaughn says. Eight, fluently.”

Eight?” Kelly marvels.

Eight,” Vaughn confirms. English, Spanish, Bulgarian, Czech, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Slovak.

But if you go by like, different grades of how much conversation,” he explains, I know about 25 more.”

Vaughn glances at me. He is still underselling his abilities. By his count, it is actually 37 more languages, with at least 24 he speaks well enough to carry on lengthy conversations. He can read and write in eight alphabets and scripts. He can tell stories in Italian and Finnish and American Sign Language. He’s teaching himself Indigenous languages, from Mexico’s Nahuatl. to Montana’s Salish. The quality of his accents in Dutch and Catalan dazzle people from the Netherlands and Spain.

Here’s the full profile.

May 14, 2022

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