The International Association of Hyperpolyglots - HYPIA. (c) 2019

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Interview with

Juliano Timbo Martins

Name: Juliano Timbó Martins
Nationality: Brazilian
Where do you live?: Fortaleza, Brazil.
Languages: Portuguese, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish.


1.What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?


For starters, I have always liked Portuguese classes at school, which led me to read many books since childhood. Then my parents enrolled me in a private English course when I was 14 years old, and I loved it from the very first moment, so much that I even started studying by myself at home with another material, parallel to the classes. This accelerated my learning and kept my enthusiasm alive. This was in the mid-90s, therefore involved tape recorders and many physical books. I started French immediately after 5 years of English. My French teachers were native speakers from France, and I instantly fell in love with that language and culture as well, having finished my course 3 years later. This time, I also used cable TV and French soup operas to increase my contact with the language, besides movies and other kinds of TV shows. I gave a pause on language learning for about 6 years, due to college and work. I studied and worked with Computer Science. However, I always kept contact with English and French in as many ways as possible. In 2007, I travelled to Europe for the first time, and the first countries I visited were Austria and Germany, because I had Brazilian friends living there. The international experience was so overwhelming that, back to Brazil, I started learning German in 2008, and in the same year, I went back to Vienna for attending an intensive course, and again in 2009, and continued having German classes in Brazil for another 6 years, although skipping some semesters. In 2014, after having visited some countries in South America, I finally decided to start Spanish, which I studied for 2 and a half years. In 2017, I started Italian, and for the first time with online classes. And now in 2019, I’ve just started Polish, because I’m traveling to Poland in 2020 for the Polyglot Gathering. For all these languages, I took classes, watched TV and movies regularly, read books, made friends with many of my teachers, and practiced the languages abroad or in Brazil, especially at the Polyglot Club meetings, but also by welcoming foreign friends who come to visit Brazil every now and then. In the middle of all that, I became a translator in 2008, which made me have more contact with all these languages also in a professional level. I have clients from all over the world and work with all the languages I speak.


2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?


I’d like to practice more Polish, but I am still in my first steps. I would also like to practice more Italian and German, because it’s not very easy to find people who speak them.


3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?


I read many books by Dostoyevsky, so Russian is in my list for a long time. I even tried to learn it in 2015, but without having classes, and it didn’t work, and I gave up. I will definitely resume it in the future. I’d like to learn Swedish too, because I’ve seen many Swedish movies and the country seems interesting. Maybe Greek as well.


4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?


I know it’s a cliché, but I think it’s French. It sounds really nice. But Portuguese is also very sexy and I find it an incredible language.


5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?


It’s the pleasure of being able to get to know new people with different cultures and backgrounds and interact with them in a way that makes them comfortable to express themselves in a genuine and open way. And also being able to understand all kinds of materials with valuable information that I would not have access to otherwise.


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?


I think it’s true. That’s a pity. I hope we can register as many of them as possible before it’s too late.


7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?


It’s definitely worth it. You will be able to do unimaginable things by speaking a new language, not only in the personal level, but also professionally. Studying languages certainly changed my life. Nowadays I can work from anywhere on the planet and decide about my working hours, just by having a computer with internet access. And I can communicate with almost everyone I meet. It’s total freedom!