Linguistic prodigy: 4yo Russian girl speaks 7 languages, incl Chinese & Arabic (VIDEO)
Four-year-old Bella Devyatkina rose to fame after her appearance on a Russian TV talent show, where she spoke seven different languages without a prominent accent. RT invited Bella to its Moscow studios and spoke to the child prodigy.
Bella speaks her native Russian and also French, Arabic, German, English, Spanish and Chinese.
RT Espanol met the budding linguist, together with journalists from the channel’s other departments, and sat down for a chat.
Bella was a little shy from all the attention, but she melted the RT crew’s hearts when she performed a little dance at the end.
The wunderkind had previously appeared on the Russian talent show ‘Amazing people’, shocking the judges. One of them, Evgeny, said: “When I saw what I’ve just seen, I understood how stupid I am.”
Bella speaks languages belonging to three different groups: Indo-European (Russian, French, English, Spanish, German), Semitic (Arabic) and Sino-Tibetan (Chinese) – which in short means that they are very, very different to each other and lack structural similarities.
That doesn’t stop Bella from thinking clearly in each language, however, and she correctly answered age-appropriate questions on the show, as well as some material from the school curriculum. School starts for Russian kids at the age of seven, which for Bella is still three years away.
Bella’s mother, Yulia, said that they started teaching her Russian and English when she was only two and noticed her interest in linguistics.
Gradually they started adding more languages to her schedule, and she now studies with native speakers.
Some internet users have accused Bella’s mother of stripping the girl of her childhood, but neuropsychologist Anna Semenovich told KP Daily there was nothing to worry about.
“If the girl is learning languages through curiosity, if her parents managed to build a schedule that works as a game – it will only benefit her. She’s not studying, she’s playing!” Semenovich said.
The specialist added that it’s too early to tell whether Bella is truly a polyglot or not, because it’s natural for children to pick languages up – it’s how they evolve with age that matters.
“In pre-revolutionary Russia, if a child from a noble family couldn’t speak three-four languages by the age of five or six, it was a shame to take him out. Then in school Latin and ancient Greek were added to those. So five-six languages were a standard package for an educated youth back in 19th-century Russia,” Semenovich said.