He is an autistic savant from England who has been studied by academics and appeared on the David Letterman Show. His main areas of interest are numbers and languages, with numbers being the ones that are visualized with his synesthesia.
Original Name [Private]
He was born in 1979 in London, England and spent his life within a large family. He spent his entire childhood struggling to make friends, only being more preoccupied with his studies and obsessions. He had also developed awareness of his homosexuality at this time and became discreet about it.
As soon as he graduated from school, he enlisted to teach English as a second language in Lithuania. It was at this time that he started taking an interest in languages, with Lithuanian being one of them. People became surprised that he could speak languages fluently.
After breaking the World Record for reciting the 22,000+ digits of the number pi, he became more well-known by the larger society and eventually took the interest of academics who wanted to know more about his synesthesia and savantism.
When learning Estonian, he came across the word tammet, meaning “oak tree.” This captivated him so much, since Estonian is a “vowel-rich language,” as he noted, he decided to change his name by deed poll to “Daniel Tammet.”
He also created his own conlang inspired by Finnish called Manti, which means “pine tree.” He explained in his memoir that this meaning signifies how pine trees grow together and they therefore represent friendship and unity.
It is quite interesting how there is so much symbolism that Tammet sees in trees, since they appear in his name and his conlang. Perhaps the friendship and unity that he was mostly not afforded in his childhood would become a feature in his identity.
- originartist. “Daniel Tammet.” Fiverr. Jurvetson, Steve. “Born on a Blue Day | Daniel Tammet.” Flickr. Taken on March 3, 2011. CC BY 2.0.
- Tammet, Daniel. “Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant.” 1st Edition. Free Press. 2006.