Name: Fabio Descalzi
Nationality or Ethnicity: Uruguayan (all my great-great-great grandfathers came from Europe)
Where do you live? Montevideo, Uruguay
Languages: Spanish, German, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Guarani*
What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
Spanish is my mother tongue, as usual in Uruguay. I attended the Deutsche Schule Montevideo, a private school, during 14 years, where I learned German (since I was 4), English (since 11) and French (since 13). Being 15 I started self-teaching Italian, Portuguese and I also tried Chinese, Arabic and other languages. Being an adult I was tempted into Guarani, a sweet Native South American language.
Which language do you wish you could spend more time practicing?
All of them, starting with my own language. You should always remember your roots, your origins, even your subconscious aspects, almost all of them happen to be “said” in your mother tongue. Unless you spend a great deal of your life in a country where everybody speaks a different language, in which case you could start thinking and dreaming “saying” it differently.
What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Apart from keeping up with the languages I already know, I think that Chinese is very important, and Arabic too.
So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
Italian, for sure! A language of lovers!
What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
Being connected with many different peoples and cultures.
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?
Not really. Linguistic diversity is a treasure and I think there will always be people interested in keeping many niche languages, they are alive!
What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
You should lose fear of making mistakes. Foreigners will value your efforts to learn their language, especially if it is an exotic one.