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Interview with

Benjamin Faarvang

Name: Benjamin Rosenstand Faarvang
Nationality or Ethnicity: Danish
Where do you live?: Bangkok, Thailand
Languages: Danish (Native speaker), English (C2), Japanese (N1), French (C2), Chinese (HSK 5), German (B1), Spanish (B1), Thai (A2)

Member since:


1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
Strangely; I was never really interested in languages while growing up. I grew up in a small village in Denmark where only speaking Danish is still considered fairly normal and entirely sufficient. My first real experience with active language learning was when I chose to go to Japan for 1 year through the AFS exchange program. I went for the adventure and novelty of the experience, but what truly grabbed my interest there was the Japanese language. I felt that having a simple conversation in Japanese after months of intense studying was the most rewarding thing I had ever experienced. After returning to Denmark, I wanted to experience the that “language learning high” again so I chose to go to China as a volunteer English teacher to expose myself to another new language and culture. As I found the experience equally rewarding, I decided to do my Bachelor’s degree in France as I had become interested in the language. That covers the languages I speak on a fairly high level, as for Spanish, I studied it from home during lockdown and as for German I wanted to learn it to be able to read German literature in its original language. Recently I have been devoting all of my time to learning Thai as I have gotten a job in Bangkok, and so far I am absolutely loving it!

2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
Spanish and German, as I have unfortunately not had the pleasure of living in a country where those languages are spoken. I always feel like something is missing in my language learning journey when I have not had the opportunity to immerse myself in a language that I have studied.

3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
In truth, I would love to learn every language there is! But if I had to mention a few, Arabic, Vietnamese and Korean would be high on my list.

4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
It’s a tough question, but for me Spanish takes the crown. I find that Spanish is such a passionate language, you could probably insult me in Spanish and I would still think its romantic!

5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
It’s definitely being able to communicate with so many lovely people with whom I otherwise would not have any common language. People are always so surprised and happy when they see someone spent time learning their language, the smiles that a few phrases can bring forth is priceless.

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 that while we are unfortunately seeing a reduction in the number of living languages around the world , there will always be variety in the way people speak. New languages like “Spanglish” will likely continue to emerge and even if many people speak the same “language”, regional dialects will hopefully continue to develop and thrive. And luckily it seems that people in general are becoming more aware of the importance of preserving our linguistic diversity, so I am still optimistic for the future of languages!

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

It might be a huge cliché but my message would be to just enjoy the journey and don’t think too much about the destination. Any language is worth learning at any level, and as long as you enjoy the process you will reach your language learning goals before you even realize it.

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