The “Lingo Kid”

Everyone knows by now that I love bringing news of “freakish” (in a good way) little Indian kids to SM (see here and here as examples). SM reader Taara tipped us off to this little linguist via our tip line:

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It looks like the Videographer returned a few years later to find a “grown-up” Ravi who has added even more languages into his arsenal:

Seriously, this little kid should be doing something other than selling Peacock feathers near the Hanging Gardens!

24 thoughts on “The “Lingo Kid”

  1. So this is India Shining? while ministers fight over ideology, talented people like Ravi must get by on scraps. Such a shame!

  2. Who knows how many such freakishly smart kids are deprived of opportunities all over India.

    So this is India Shining?

    Well, this is a diamond in the rough and if the society provided such rough diamonds a way to get polished, India would be shining brighter than ever before. It is such a shame that this boy cant go to school.

  3. while kudos to the little brown tout, his German and Japanese were ‘shaky’ at best. His diction was right but he said a lot in half a breath. Other languages I don’t know. ;)

  4. I know a bit of Russian, and while the accent was bad, he seems to have gotten the words right. However, is it just me, or did he include the words ‘Raj Kapoor’ and ‘Nargis’ in his Russian spiel? :)

  5. I mean…he’s not learning from accredited instructors and textbooks, so its pretty impressive for what it is. I went to the taj mahal a couple years ago and came upon a 4 year old boy selling pencils. He spoke perfect english, could read and write…at 4. He had a matured sense of humor, that was quite astounding. I only had some US currency on me. A dollar and 3 quarters. I told him this exactly. “One dollar is forty rupees, and 4 quarters is a dollar. You can have all of this if you tell me how many rupees it is.” Of course I was going to give it too him anyway. Not so much because of its value, but I was secretly hoping that it might inspire him to continue learning or something hopelessly romantic like that. But in about 5 seconds, in his head, he came up with 70 rupees as the correct answer. I have never been so hopeful for the future of India as I was at that moment.

  6. Well, you can’t fault the kid too much for his accent and half-breaths. He’s still a street vendor and business doesn’t slow down for good pronunciation. I’m wondering how much more he knows in these languages or if he just knows how to sell feather-fans in them. Still damned impressive, though.

  7. I knew it was only a matter of time before the “Well his accent isnt perfect” comments from wanna be intellectual elitist came out.

    Try to enjoy something and some point in your lives.

  8. I’ve seen these videos before and this kid is dope. It’s an absolute crime that he’s allowed to waste his talent and brains selling peacock feathers, especially given his natural abilities and charisma. At very worst he should be a tour guide, he is already a great ambassador for the country. I hope someone manages to track him down for a better reason that just posting him on YouTube.

  9. I’ve seen these videos before and this kid is dope. It’s an absolute crime that he’s allowed to waste his talent and brains selling peacock feathers, especially given his natural abilities and charisma.

    dude. this kid’s going to be getting more ass in the next five years than we (or at least i) will in our entire lifetimes. he’s also looking rather healthy. he’s doing much better than most kids his age who’re probabbly getting flat asses and micro-soft bellies right now. dont cry for him andhrapradesh.

  10. dude. this kid’s going to be getting more ass in the next five years than we (or at least i) will in our entire lifetimes. he’s also looking rather healthy. he’s doing much better than most kids his age who’re probabbly getting flat asses and micro-soft bellies right now. dont cry for him andhrapradesh.

    He is too poor to get proper nutrition and so he wont have to worry about dietary problems due to food abundance. But thats not something to celebrate.

  11. WOW!! Really talented kid. And, here I am. Struggling to learn 4 sentences in Spanish.

  12. I met a kid like this in Brazil. He spoke French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, and a handful of other languages (none Indian) and spent his days selling bracelets.

  13. Kids like him are fairly common around tourist sites in the Third World. This kid’s English is actually quite good, especially for someone who doesn’t go to school,and is not that different from many of those who’re “convent school” alumni. He may not be fluent in the numerous languages that he pitches in, and may have a thick accent, but I’m sure he manages to do business just fine with different nationalities, or else his boss would have gouged out his eyes and sold him to the traveling circus long ago.

  14. Wow…this video left me with mixed feelings…great to see such a bright, charismatic kid, who has the raw intelligence to pick up reasonably proficent English without having gone to English-medium schools or moving in elite (or even middle class) social circles…however sad to see the brains and talent go to waste and be strangled by lack of opportunity. Hopefully he’ll keep his charming and happy persona going for the rest of his life.

  15. Very impressive, and a bit sad in some ways. It’s such a pity he has not gone beyond being a street vendor selling fans after those many years. There probably are many such bright kids there who never have the opportunity to go to school and rise above that level. (Not that schools should be limited to bright kids only)

  16. Like Amsterdamguy said, I was amused that when he was selling fans in Japanese, he said “hyaku-gojuu-nin” (nin = suffix for a person) and not “hyaku-gojuu-en.” One fan for 150 people, not for 150 yen! ;)

    That, of course, isn’t at all meant to fault him. I’m truly astonished by the raw talent he possesses, and it breaks my heart that this is his lot in life, that he can’t put his bright mind to work in a scholastic setting and go somewhere with his life. He has such a sweet smile and disposition.

    It’s also funny that we, in positions of relative privilege, feel so sorry for his lot in life, but he seems perfectly content. People who’ve never had much and don’t know what it is to have these things feel happy with what they have, while more privileged people are the unhappy ones in comparison.

  17. 19 · skp said

    “hyaku-gojuu-nin” (nin = suffix for a person) and not “hyaku-gojuu-en.”

    Watashi mo omoimasu, kore ga zenzen nihongo benkyo oshimashita. Tabun, kore, hanamisu arimasu ;)

  18. 20 · sunshine said

    I almost choked after seeing this! I wish I could give him a hug!

    Me too! He’s so adorable I wanna marry him.

  19. Previous poster was right… he is gonna get a lot of tail!

    BTW, how much of this is just memorized, versus actual fluency?

    22 · sunzari said

    20 · sunshine said
    I almost choked after seeing this! I wish I could give him a hug!
    Me too! He’s so adorable I wanna marry him.
  20. I choked when the interviewer asked him if he went to school…….. and the kid replied with an embarassed grin saying No…. everything i learnt here…I have seen the hunger in such street kids to pick up anything in their daily lives to make up for lack of schooling. Like stare at a newspaper, try to decipher words…