Ziad Fazah

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Ziad Fazah
Born (1954-06-10) 10 June 1954 (age 67)
Known forHis claim of being able to speak, read and understand 59 languages

Ziad Youssef Fazah (Arabic: زياد فصاح‎; born 10 June 1954) is a Liberian-born Lebanese polyglot. Fazah himself claims to speak 59 languages and maintains that he has proved this in several public appearances in which he "successfully" communicated with native speakers of a large number of foreign languages.[1] According to Fazah, a Greek Orthodox, his abilities to learn languages are a gift bestowed to him by God.[2] He currently lives in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The Guinness Book of World Records, up to the 1998 edition, listed Fazah as being able to speak and read 58 languages, citing a live interview in Athens, Greece in July 1991.[3]

Polyglot claims[edit]

Fazah claims he can speak, read and understand the following languages:[1] {{columns-list|colwidth=15em|

  1. Albanian
  2. Amharic
  3. Arabic
  4. Armenian
  5. Azerbaijani
  6. Bengali
  7. Bulgarian
  8. Burmese
  9. Cantonese
  10. Cypriot (dialect of Greek)
  11. Czech
  12. Danish
  13. Dutch
  14. Dzongkha / Bhutanese
  15. English
  16. Fijian
  17. Finnish
  18. French
  19. German
  20. Greek
  21. Hebrew
  22. Hindi
  23. Hungarian
  24. Icelandic
  25. Indonesian
  26. Italian
  27. Japanese
  28. Korean
  29. Kyrgyz
  30. Lao
  31. Malagasy
  32. Malay
  33. Maltese
  34. Mandarin
  35. Mongolian
  36. Nepali
  37. Norwegian
  38. Pashto
  39. Papiamento
  40. Persian
  41. Polish
  42. Portuguese
  43. Romanian
  44. Russian
  45. Samoan
  46. Serbo-Croatian
  47. Shanghainese (dialect of Wu Chinese)
  48. Singlish
  49. Sinhala
  50. Spanish
  51. Standard Tibetan
  52. Swahili
  53. Swedish
  54. Tajik
  55. Thai
  56. Turkish
  57. Urdu
  58. Uzbek
  59. Vietnamese

60 Tamil

However, he stated in 2015 that at the time he could only fluently speak fifteen of those languages without preparing himself, which were Arabic, French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Norwegian, Danish, Hebrew, Chinese, Swedish and Croatian.[2]

Viva el Lunes test[edit]

In 1997, Fazah's polyglot abilities were tested in the Chilean TV program Viva el lunes.[4] The program was in Spanish and ambassadors and other guests from all over the world asked him questions in Egyptian Arabic, Finnish, Russian, Chinese, Persian, Hindi and Greek. He failed in fully understanding and properly answering all of them but the first. These included:

  • Greek question "Πόσες μέρες θα μείνετε εδώ στη Χιλή;" ("How many days are you going to stay here in Chile?"),
  • Russian question "Какой сегодня день недели?" ("What day of the week is it today?"),
  • Persian anthem Ey Iran and sentence "می‌خواهم از آقای زیاد سؤال کنم که شما در آموختن زبان فارسی, فقط لغات عادی را یاد گرفتید, یا این که, سعی کردید, در فرهنگ فارسی را رخنه کرده فمثلاً, بعضی از شعرای فارسی را بشناسید؟" ("I want to ask Mr. Ziad if in order to learn the Persian language, did you learn only the simple words or you tried to learn the Persian language in depth? And would you please tell us the name of some of the greatest Persian poets?"),
  • and Mandarin Chinese question "在月球上,能够看到唯一的地球上的人造工程是什么?" ("What is the only man-made structure visible from the moon?"), of which the purported answer would be the Great Wall of China.[note 1]

In a 2015 interview, Fazah defended himself regarding this event, which he called a "trap". He claimed that the show's organizers did not inform him he would be tested and even that it would be conducted in languages other than Spanish, so he did not have time to prepare himself to properly answer the questions.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Scapin, Rafael. "Ziad Youssef Fazah: o Maior Poliglota do Mundo" (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2007. - An article adapted from Fazah's "Ensinando a Aprender Espanhol". (Teaching How to Learn Spanish in English)
  2. ^ a b c Ziad Fazah – “The man who knows every Language of the World”
  3. ^ Norris McWhirter (1997). The Guinness Book of World Records 1997. Random House. p. 249.
  4. ^ Parts of Fazah's appearance on "Viva el lunes": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XA1Ifi-ntE


  1. ^ This is now considered a common misconception by the scientific community, and it was proved that it is not possible to see the structure from outside Earth.

External links[edit]