Amin Barhihi Belga
Name: Amin Barhihi Belga
Nationality or Ethnicity: Spain, Morocco (Berber) with Italian/French roots.
Where do you live ?: Barcelona, Spain
Languages: Spanish, Berber, Moroccan Darija, Standard Arabic, Catalan, English, French, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Korean and Chinese.
What's your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I have always loved languages and they have been part of my life, since I was little I was born with 3 native languages so I was born trilingual (Berber, Standard Arabic and Moroccan Darija), I was always curious about other cultures and languages, it all started when I started learning English, that was 12 years ago when I was studying in primary school I was never very good at English at that time , then I decided to start learning it just because I was failing my English exams, so I started to investigate and learned it by myself and I realized that I have a facility to learn languages and decided why not to study other different languages, then we moved with my family to Spain where I learned Spanish and Catalan two more languages on top of the other 3 other than French because I had also studied in Morocco and later on in Spain. I grew up in a multicultural and bilingual environment so the language I used always changed depending on who I spoke to, with my parents I speak Berber with my sisters I speak Darija, we watch TV in standard Arabic, in the street I speak Spanish and at school in Catalan . After that , I started working in the tourism sector where I put into practice all my languages that I was learning , that's where I could practice Russian, English and French. I have always liked Korean since I started practicing Korean Taekwondo martial art, I started studying online on my own and I learned a lot , the reason why I learned fast was because I was enjoying what I was doing and I was always motivated. So, in this way I studied all the languages that I know without a teacher and the most powerful resource that has been useful to me is YouTube. Without this platform and without the internet nowadays it would not have been possible to learn all these languages so quickly and easily.
2. Which language (s) do you wish you could spend more time practicing?
Honestly, although I speak a little Mandarin Chinese, I would like to improve it because it is the most spoken language in the world and because it is a very useful language, I also l would like to practise more my Korean and Russian.
3. What are some languages you'd like to learn in the future?
I would like to learn Hebrew as it is a Semitic language similar to Arabic. I would also learn Turkish because I love the language, the country and the culture in general.
4. So let's be honest, what's the sexiest language?
For me, definitely Swedish, I love how it sounds, it seems to me like a song, it is just nice to hear it, it sounds very elegant and attractive language for me.
5. What's the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
The fact of understanding other cultures, the way of thinking of other people, traveling without any language barrier problem, being able to communicate with anyone in their own native language, for me this has been a great gift that I have been able to have in my life and I feel very proud of it.
6. 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?
Today the birth rate is decreasing and some countries have a very low population compared to others, I think we all have a duty to preserve our heritage, our treasure that is our language, passing it from generation to generation.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
I invite young people like me to learn other foreign languages apart from English and to know other cultures because we are the future generation of this century, I encourage them to always be motivated, by being positive always and have a goal in life to achieve it. I am barely 25 years old and I started studying languages when I was 13 years old , if I was able to learn them I think that anyone can achieve it too, I hope I have been an inspiration for young people like me and encourage everybody to learn languages because it opens so many doors not only professionally but personally because you turn more tolerant and empathetic to other nations and people different from yours.