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Interview with

Andrijana Smiljkovska

Name: Andrijana Smiljkovska
Nationality or Ethnicity: Macedonian
Where do you live?: France
Languages: Macedonian (native); English, French, Portuguese, Spanish (C1); Italian, Serbian (B1); Russian (A2-B1), Romanian (A2).

Member since:


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

I believe that my love for languages comes from my early childhood. My parents come from different parts of Macedonia, and their families speak different dialects. I remember enjoying imitating each dialect and accent, and eventually, I applied my interest in dialects to an interest in different languages. In my country, there are also many different minority languages, but I never ended up learning them. Instead, I learned Romance languages such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and I find something special about each of them. My French language learning journey led me to Italian, which led me to Portuguese and Spanish, and so I believe it will never end. One language leads to another.

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

Currently, I wish I could spend more time practicing Russian. I am aware that I need a lot of input in this language to help my brain avoid all the false friends and similarities it has with my native language.

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

I have started learning Hindi because I recently worked with Indian students. I realized how intuitive Hindi is and believe it is the next language on my list. Besides, I have noticed that, so far, I only speak European languages, so I need to venture beyond this zone. I also have a special attraction to Finnish purely for the way it sounds. Lastly, I might soon end up studying Greek as well.

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

Brazilian Portuguese is competing with Rioplatense Spanish for this title.

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

Seeing the reactions and surprise of native speakers. I am naturally curious and love interacting with people in their native languages. I find that people connect on a deeper level when you speak to them in their mother tongue. I also love having access to so many literary treasures thanks to knowing different languages. This realization hit me when I read French poetry in its original language. The pleasure I get from understanding not just the words but the melody is incomparable. I believe poetry cannot be translated and felt the same way in another language because of its unique sonority and rhythm. 

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 hope not. I hope the opposite happens, and that all minority languages will be cherished and valued. There might even be more artificial languages created. I hope the world realizes the power of linguistic diversity. Plus, this way, polyglots won’t be bored and will always have new languages to learn.

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

Be curious and don't be afraid to annoy natives by asking how to say things. I used to be ashamed of making mistakes to the point of being silent and not uttering a word, until I realized that it wouldn’t help me improve. See mistakes as valuable learning tools. Finally, make sure you are truly motivated to learn the language you’re studying. Only genuine motivation will keep you moving forward.

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