The International Association
Name: Cristina Mancarella
Nationality or Ethnicity: Italian
Where do you live?: Linz, Upper Austria
Languages: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Albanian
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
My mother tongue is Italian. I studied English, German, French and Spanish as compulsory languages in high school, where I reached C1 level. I don't know about other countries, but in Italy you have a "major" in high school like you do in university, and mine was languages and literature.
I have been living in Austria for 4.5 years, so I understand Austrian German, too (plus Swiss German as I have gathered work experience with Swiss colleagues and customers).
Prior to that I worked for a Dutch company for 5 months. Learning Dutch was easy as I was already fluent in German. I then took private Portuguese classes because I was so fascinated by this language.
Albanian was not planned, but my boyfriend is from Kosovo :)
I get to speak these languages every day thanks to my job and my international friends.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
Arabic. I would love to learn a Middle Eastern dialect.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I am currently working on improving my Russian and Arabic, hopefully up to a fluent level.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
I´ll go for a mainstream one here 😉 French is sweet and sexy!
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
You can connect with so many people on a different level. The connection you can achieve with someone when you speak their language is much stronger than when you just speak a common language. And of course you can better understand so many different mentalities and cultures!
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?
It depends on what we count as language. Is Swiss German a language? And Canadian French? What about all the spoken languages in tribes and villages that are not used in their written form?
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Open your mind and get ready for a life-changing experience that will enable you to connect with the world and its diversity. Immerse yourself in the languages you love – studying is not enough. Don´t ever translate when learning. Relax, listen and repeat. Keep reading until you get the meaning of the text. Let your brain do the job! The same way you have learnt your mother tongue, you can learn any other language you want. 😊