Name: Adam Wysochansky
Nationality or Ethnicity: American of Polish Descent
Where do you live? Calgary
Languages: Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese*, Russian*, German*
What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I’ve always been fascinated by languages. Growing up, I was exposed to Polish, English, and French in my household. My parents also knew Ukrainian so I started to take an interest in that. When I was in high school I took as many foreign languages as I could, including Spanish and German, which were all Indo-European (sadly) so I focused on these and aimed for the straight-A’s. I wasn’t very good at math or sciences so I used the languages to get higher marks overall and go to a good university. The thing is though, languages are so much fun, and so useful in practical life, that I just started adding one after the other, starting with Russian and Romanian.
Which language do you wish you could spend more time practicing?
I seem to give all of them enough time, but I guess my French is probably getting a little sloppy and I should work more on it. Calgary doesn’t have as many French-speakers as you would think even though it’s in bilingual Canada.
What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I find Indo-Europeans to be easy to learn but I’d like to branch out into more language families; I’m definitely interested in Turkish, Arabic, and maybe even Mongolian one day.
So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
French is called the ‘language of love’, right? I’d say they’re all sexy in some way, but maybe French is my pick.
What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
It’s really exciting when you meet people from a culture where you speak the language and you can communicate with them, especially if you can make jokes and break the ice quickly – I find that that’s the best thing about knowing lots of languages.
Some people say the world is really just going to have a few languages left in a 100 years, do you think this is really true?
Nah, I feel like they’ll still be lots of languages around then, especially if hyperpolyglots keep working hard!
What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
So I did this at the start to get good grades when I was young, but speaking languages is like getting a good grade on Life!