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BYU Today

The Gift of Gab

A man that speaks a lot of languagesIN the crowd attending BYU‘s August commencement exercise, only one graduate could translate the speaker’s words back and forth into 15 different languages—American Sign Language, Arabic, Arabic Sign Language, Eastern and Western Armenian, English, French, Georgian, German, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Syriac, and Turkish.

Polyglot John H. Jorgensen, ’02, learned nine of the 15 while attending BYU. Back when he could only speak six languages, Jorgensen chose to attend BYU because of its extensive language program. “I looked at some other schools,” he said, “but nothing else even came close to the breadth and depth of BYU‘s programs.”