Name: Grzegorz K. Jekel
Nationality or Ethnicity: Polish
Where do you live?: Germany
Languages: Polish, German, French, English, Spanish, Russian, Esperanto.
What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I never intended to learn a language just as a hobby. It happened, that due to circumstances I learned a language because it was useful at that particular moment: I went with my first visit to Germany, I worked as a student in France, I worked for an international corporation. English was my corporate language but, since I worked in 20 different countries, I learned local language to be able to better communicate with my colleagues there.
Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I have a habit to plan (I am a project manager). Therefore I do not have regrets. I spent as much time as I wanted learning particular language. My plans for next future are: become proficient in Esperanto (B2 exam scheduled in 2018, C1 planned for 2019), Get English Teacher qualification (CELTA) and C2 certificate in English within next three years, acquire B2 level in Italian.
What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I still have on my list desire to learn Czech and modern Greek, but that depends on my progress with the languages that I already speak.
So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
Definitely Spanish. Hispanosphere people can talk a lot about feelings and desires… and it sounds beautiful.
What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
I can read a book or a story in the particular language. Imagine reading Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' without unnecessary, sometimes boring translation (the novel is written partially in Russian, partially in French).
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?
No I do not. For me it is a pure speculation. Maybe even marketing related to AI (Artificial Intelligence). I am closer to the idea that there will be one common neutral language used for international communication, acquired as a second language by most of our population (Esperanto could be the one for example).
What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Everybody can acquire ability to communicate in a foreign language. And it pays off. Your age has nothing to do with it. Being young you get a better job, being older you keep your brain fit (I am 57 young now). So start tomorrow and keep doing it.