New Zealand-born Harold Williams (1876-1928) is considered one of the greatest linguists of all time. He was able to speak 58 different languages and many dialects, ranging from Ancient Greek and Swahili to Basque and various Polynesian tongues. As the foreign editor of the London Times, he was the only person capable of addressing all the members of the League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations) in their own languages.
From: Top 10 of Everything 2009 by Russell Ash
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