Name: Christine Kerschl
Nationality or Ethnicity: German
Where do you live?: Germany
Languages: German, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Danish
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages
When I was 15 I decided to live in Utah, USA for one year. That’s when I started having international friends.
My social international network augmented more and more over time. Particularly when I lived in other foreign countries (Spain, Argentina, France, Portugal, Ghana, Cameroon, Denmark) I became aware of the fact that really understanding the foreign culture is only possible by talking to the people in their mother tongue. Hence, I have always been very encouraged to learn the language of my momentary host country.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
Portuguese and Italian, I guess… I don’t have close friends from Portugal / Brazil or Italy. So these are probably my most rusty languages.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Certainly Arabic. I’ve already started learning a bit, but it’s hard.
As I want to continue my work with refugees I hope to soon be able to at least have basic conversations in Arabic.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
Having friends from all over 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?
Well I hope not! Languages are part of the diverse cultures and if we all spoke the same language, then we would no longer enjoy the beauty of cultural differences.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Do it! There’s nothing purer than getting to know a culture through direct contact with locals. Yet they can only convey the beauty of their country if spoken to in their mother tongue.