When God put the kibosh on the Tower of Babel, 72 languages were said to have been created from the one that unified those hubristic humans. In his new book, Babel No More, linguist Michael Erard seeks out the people who have put those pieces back together: hyperpolyglots, i.e., the most fluent mamma-jammas on the planet. TIME spoke to Erard about phenoms who can speak more languages than they have fingers, whether anyone can do it and where the upper limits of human potential lie.
Read More: Are You a Hyperpolyglot? The Secrets of Language Superlearners