The Rosetta Stone, photo by Elisabeth BeersThe Rosetta Stone is, as the name suggests, a stone inscribed with the same text in three different languages: Ancient Egyptian, Demotic (Another form of Egyptian), and Ancient Greek.
Researchers used the trilingual text in the Rosetta Stone as a key to understanding Egyptian Hieroglyphics. The principle used is simple: a known text is used to learn an unknown language.
The same principle can be used today to learn languages. Indeed, bilingual books are using exactly this principle.
How this can be applied to learn many languages and become a polyglot?
In a previous post, I explained how to improve reading and listening skills in your target language by reading a book first in your native language and then in your target language while listening at the same time at its audiobook version (The R-L method). This method can be applied to learn many languages by choosing a book whose text and audio versions are available in many different languages.
For example, Harry Potter has been translated into a lot of languages and its audiobook versions are also available in many languages. If you learn a language, let’s say, German, by reading and listening to Harry Potter, you will become very familiar with its plot. If one year later you want to start learning Portuguese you could use the Portuguese version of Harry Potter (book and audio) as learning material. In other words, Harry Potter, o whatever the text you have chosen, will become your Rosetta Stone for languages.
The principle is that once you are very familiar with the content of a book is much easier to read and listen to its translation in your target language which ultimately would allow you to increase the amount of exposure to the new language.