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MULTILINGUAL SPEAKER TO GIVE AREA SEMINAR.

Byline: Stacy Brown Daily News Staff Writer

Talk to Powell Janulus and you will find there are more than 60 different ways he can answer you. After all, the Guinness Book of Records named him the globe's master linguist.

Janulus, 58, became interested in languages as a little boy in Queensboro, British Columbia, where his Polish-born mother spoke in six different tongues while his Lithuanian-born father was fluent in at least four.

``When the Polish milk delivery man would come to my door, my mom would talk Polish to him,'' Janulus said.

``When the Jewish neighbor came by, my mom talked Yiddish and dad talked Russian to our Doukhobor neighbors,'' he said.

Janulus described the area where he grew up as a ``little United Nations'' because of the many languages spoke there. Now he claims he can help anyone become functional in three new languages in two weeks.

Janulus will make his first Los Angeles-area appearance in 20 years when he hosts a pair of language seminars starting Feb. 2 in Santa Clarita and Woodland Hills.

The seminars will be held at the Woodland Hills Marriott and the Santa Clarita Residence Inn in Newhall. For details, call Janulus' spokesman, Dwight James, at (888) 446-9797.

In 1985, Janulus was recognized by Guinness for the 41 languages he worked with at the time, far outdistancing the 28 spoken by a United Nations interpreter.

He said he now speaks 60 different languages - give or take a few - and has nearly completed studies that will enable him to be functional in about 20 more.

``My life has been an adventure, you wouldn't believe all the people I've met and all the cultures I've experienced,'' Janulus said.

James said the Canadian is quite modest about his talent for languages.

``You see, he'll tell you that it's 60 and he's studying 20 more,'' James said. ``But actually he knows about 80 already that he easily uses.''

Powell's ability to speak various languages landed him a job as the chief court interpreter in British Columbia as well as various part-time positions.

``I often get called by the police - sometimes in the middle of the night - to translate to someone their rights,'' Janulus said.

Janulus once appeared on ``The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson,'' where the comedian invited 48 people who spoke different languages to test him.

A local radio station followed up with a similar test.

``They wanted to see if I could answer all the questions and I did miss one, an African one, but you can't know everything,'' Janulus said with a chuckle.

The late John Candy hired Janulus to help him speak Punjabi for the movie ``Who's Harry Crumb?''

Janulus, who owns a housing complex in Canada, said tenants who can speak and teach him a new language live rent-free. ``Because it is invaluable so that is how they pay their rent,'' Janulus said.

The most difficult language for Janulus is Inuit, a Polar Indian dialogue that took him about a month to master.

What of English? ``I think English is the nicest language grammatically because there aren't very many verb endings,'' Janulus said.

He said Americans should be more progressive and reform the writing system so words were spelled just the way they are spoken.

Janulus believes that once you have learned the phonetics, producing any sound is possible.

He said many of the languages he uses are rooted strongly in the great oral tradition, meaning he taught himself to speak and understand the many tongues without the aid of any written instructions or materials.

``I just communicate with ordinary people about ordinary things,'' Janulus said.

JANULUS' LANGUAGES

These are the languages Powell Janulus has mastered:

Afrikaans (South Africa), Bohemian (Bohemia Czech Republic), Bulgarian (Bulgaria), Catalan (Andorra, Spain), Cantonese (Hong Kong), Croatian (Croatia), Czech (Czechoslovakia), Danish (Denmark), Doaba (Northern India), Dutch (Holland), English, Esperanto (International), Eyecorus (Russia), Farsi (Iran), Flemish (Belgium), French (France), Frisian (Holland), Frivlano (Northern Italy), German (German), Greek (Greece), Gujrati (India), Gurkhali (Nepal), Hindi (India), Inuit (India), Italian (Italy), Indonesian (Indonesia), Japanese (Japan), Kashubian (Poland), Lusatian (Germany and Poland areas of each country), Macedonian (Macedonia), Maithili (India), Maja (India), Malay (Malaysia), Malva (India), Mandarin (China), Moldavian (Moldova, former Soviet Union), Multani (India), Norwegian (Norway), Papiamento (Aruba), Polish (Poland), Pomeranian (Northern Poland), Portuguese (Portugal), Provencal (France), Punjabi (India), Romansch (Switzerland), Romany Gypsy (Egypt), Romanian (Romania), Russian (Russia), Ruthenian (Ukraine), Serbian (Serbia), Slovak (Slovakia), Shefardic (Israel), Slovene (Slovenia), Sorbian (Germany), Spanish (Spain), Swedish (Sweden), Tatar (Uzbekistan, former Soviet Union), Turkish (Turkey), Ukrainian (Ukraine), Urdu (Pakistan), Wendish (East Germany).

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BOX: (Ran in SAC only) Janulus' languages (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 26, 1998
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