Cornell is known for its many bright students – Rhodes Scholars, Nobel Prize winners, Supreme Court justices, but few alumni are as intellectually well rounded as polyglot and linguistics major Jason Jimerson ‘21, who knows the word “gazebo” in 15 languages.
“Learning new languages is my favorite hobby. I’ve dedicated years of my life to developing a deep understanding of the world’s tongues,” said Jimerson, who speaks exactly one language fluently, but knows five or more words in over 25 languages.
Jimerson proceeded to rattle off the word for gazebo in all of the languages he knew: “German: Pavillon, Spanish: Kiosko, Thai: Ṣ̄ālā, Malagasy: trano falafa, Old Church Slavonic: пфяуищ, Welsh: Gazebo, Reconstructed Proto-Indo-European: *ḱēs-h₁ē-bʰōs, Proto-Nostratic: *g’V, Patois: Gazebo, Esperanto: Gazebo, High Valyrian: Gazebo, Algonquian–Basque Pidgin: Gazebo, Pirahã: Gazebo, Klingon: gazebO”*
Jimerson continued with a quote from Nelson Mandela: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart,” then proceeded to order takeout from a local Korean restaurant in broken Japanese.
*CU Nooz has not verified the authenticity of these translations