Ahmad Zadli Bin Zahid
Name: Ahmad Zadli Bin Zahid
Nationality or Ethnicity: Malaysian
Where do you live?: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Languages: Malay, English, Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean.
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
My journey started with Japanese and how I fell in love with the Chinese characters (Note that Chinese characters are part of the 3 writing systems in the Japanese language). Without hesitation, I picked up Chinese simultaneously. It was not long before I mastered the Korean language too because it also has a history with Chinese characters. In short, Chinese characters has been pivotal for me to “kill 3 birds with 1 stone”.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
Korean, as I did not study the language in the origin country. I mastered Japanese and Chinese while immersing in the respective country’s environment.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Arabic and Hebrew. Arabic because I can read and write, but I do not understand the meaning. This is because of the education system in my country where Muslims are required to be able to read the Quran.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
Definitely Chinese. Chinese characters aside, Chinese is a tonal language where different tones refer to different meaning. It sounds like music to me.
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
I would say the pleasure of making more friends from all over the world and understanding and appreciating their culture at the same time. This will lead to unity and peace in the world.
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?
As long as the borders of countries are explicitly defined, every country would do their best to preserve their language and culture. However, I do admit that some dialects and languages of the tribes and minorities might be lost if no effort is undertaken to preserve them.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Enjoy the process and most importantly, make mistakes while you learn. A language cannot be mastered if you are afraid to make mistakes. Don’t get discouraged if the native speakers make fun of your mistakes. Instead, take it in your stride.