Interview with

Esteban Puschmann

Name: Esteban Puschmann
Nationality or Ethnicity: Chilean

Where do you live?: Mannheim, Germany
Languages: Spanish, English, German, Danish, Norwegian, Italian, Dutch and French

1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
Everything started when I was 14 years old and my cousin told me about  his exchange to Germany. I became interested in learning German, which  is the language of my ancestors, but I felt the need to improve my  English first. At the age of 15 and after having put a considerable  amount of time into improving my English, I decided to start learning  German and moved to Germany as an exchange student with AFS at the age  of 16, where I lived by a host family for approximately 8 months. During  my exchange, I started learning French, which was offered as an  elective course at the school.Back in Chile, I continued learning French  and approved a test of the level A2 at the Alliance Francaise  Concepcion. In 2016 I started studying at Universidad del  Desarrollo(UDD) Business Administration I had a break from learning  languages, until I started learning Danish in 2017. In 2017 I also took  my first official English test, TOEFL, where I scored 99 points.In 2018 I  made my first university exchange to Copenhagen, Denmark, in order to  study at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), and I was living there for  eight months from January until August. During this time, I passed the  module or level 4, which corresponds to the level B1 (intermediate) at  the language school IA Sprog. During the summer of 2018, I started  learning Norwegian when I realized how similar it was to written Danish,  and shortly after I started with Italian, motivated by the many  opportunities to speak it that I had at my job as a tour guide in  Copenhagen, since I was often sharing tours with Italian tour guides.  Meanwhile, I was guiding in Spanish, English, and German, while talking  with the bus drivers in Danish. My dream about learning many languages  and actually using them had become true!Afterwards I made a second  exchange to Germany for 1 year, and I started preparing for the C1 test  in German, which I took in December of 2018 in Frankfurt.The last  language that I started learning is Dutch, which I started learning 5  weeks ago. I chose Dutch because of its similarities with English and  German, and until now I’m having a lot of fun learning it! Now I’m  living in Germany, and on January the 7th I got the C1 Goethe Zertifikat  in German. This motivated me a lot to keep learning languages and  improving my level in the ones I already speak!

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

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

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

5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
My greatest pleasure is to travel and to suddenly encounter people that  speak those languages in all kind of settings and have interesting  conversations with them. To speak with natives about their culture in  their language is something unique, because for me, a language is the  key to understand another culture. Also to watch a movie or read a book  in the original language is a very pleasurable thing to do.

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 hundreds of languages are going to disappear, but that  would still leave us with some thousands of languages, maybe 3000 or  something like that. I believe that the languages that are really  endangered are the ones spoken by natives people, but the ones  officially recognized by states are going to survive some centuries at  least.

7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Keep going, because if we learn other people’s languages we will be more  open-minded, receptive and tolerant to other cultures, and that will  contribute at the end to a more peaceful world, based on effective  communication!Have fun while doing it, so that you can keep going and  consider if your motivations are as good as to keep you going through a  journey that sometimes might seem a bit long, but that will pay off in  the long run! Moreover, if you want to learn multiple languages, is very  advisable to study languages from the same language family. This is so  because of the fact that you would have to invest much less time in  learning Portuguese after learning Italian or in learning Dutch after  learning German, because language families share not only vocabulary but  also grammar structures and other linguistical features.

The International Association of Hyperpolyglots - HYPIA. (c) 2020

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