Name: Ambiorix Encarnacion Nova
Nationality or Ethnicity: Dominican
Where do you live?: Dominican Republic
Languages: Spanish (native), English, French, Italian, Russian,
Portuguese, Catalan, Greek, German.
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I consider it’s really curious the way I got connected to languages since I don’t have in my family any background with languages. I grew up in a monolingual family; although my father had English and French books at home he didn’t speak any of those languages. In addition, I grew up in a very small city, in the country side where I didn’t have any contact with languages at all.
I received my first English class in 1996, when I was 9 years old and I just fell for it; I felt a door opened up to a magical world and since then I started studying by myself with books and cassettes. It was not however as it is nowadays, I didn’t have internet or anyone to talk to, it was just read and listen to the cassettes and the very bad classes I received at school. We never went beyond the self-introduction in all my years of school. In 2000 I started high school where they used to “teach” French and I started my approach to the French language. It is in 2002 when they created a Technological centre in my city when I could have access to a very slow and bad satellite internet a little far away from home, but where I used to go now and then and I discovered aulafacil.com, where I discovered Italian and I kept my studies of English and French language. It was only grammar and reading, I never used them in any communicative situation, but just the fact of understanding something different was enough for me. It was a hobby, something I liked and I didn’t even know why.
In 2005 I moved to Santo Domingo where I had better access to internet and in 2008 I started studying English linguistics in the university;I went to the United States and I used by first time the English language in a communicative context. In that year I met and befriended some Ukrainian friends, reason why got interested in Russian language. In 2013 I started working by first time using my languages knowledge in the tourism area in Santo Domingo; I had to assist clients in Spanish, French, Italian and English. 5 Months later I moved to Punta Cana to work in hotels where I continued using my languages and improving them and it’s when I get interested in learning Portuguese.
In 2015 I went to study a master’s degree in England where I met a Cypriot guy with whom I had a relationship and I got interested in Greek language. During that time I visited Barcelona and got interested in Catalan language, and later on, when I started working in cruise ships, due to the amount of German Speaking guests, I developed an interest in German language and I started studying it.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
Greek and German, are the languages I speak and practice the least. I wish I had more time to study them.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I would really love to learn Hebrew, Turkish and Haitian Kreyol, although I am focused on improving the languages that I already know.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
I think it’s a very subjective matter and it doesn’t exist sexy as such. However, I love Brazilian Portuguese and Greek and I would say they are sexy. The Andalusian accent it’s just a turn on for me, I just love it.
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
The pleasure of being able to communicate and connect with so many cultures, besides the personal satisfaction of something I find amazing. The smile in a foreigner’s face when I can speak their language is priceless and the sympathy it provokes. And last but not less important, my salary ha ha ha ha
6. Some people say the world is really just going to have a few languages left in 100 years, do you think this is really true?
I definitely don’t think so. Languages die and languages are born and that can be seen in the way big languages create regionalisms that are becoming languages by themselves, and I speak about languages because I still don’t find the line that divides a language from a dialect. The world is becoming every time closer and more uniform and the linguistic reality doesn’t escape to it but even if there are languages that are in fashion and are learnt more than others, deep inside, a language is something very intimate and very few people are willing to give up on their languages. It might happen someday, but I don’t think it will happen as soon as 100 years.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Study, study and dare embark on this amazing adventure. Nowadays studying languages is much easier than before; with the new technologies, we have at our hands all the necessary information to be in touch with almost any language from any place we are. Start a study plan from the basic phrases to the words that would be more used by you. Be in touch with the language you want to learn, find a motivation to keep the work and find situations that can be rewarding while you are learning the language to feel motivated. Learning a language is a beautiful and amazing path that is worthwhile to walk in all senses.