Francisco Rodrigo Trejo
Name: Francisco Rodrigo Trejo Campos
Nationality or Ethnicity: Mexican
Where do you live? : Mexico City
C2-C1: Spanish, French, English, Jordanian Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, German, Italian.
B2-B1: Russian, Greek, Portuguese, Modern Standard Arabic, Japanese, Polish, Egyptian Arabic.
A2-A1: Hebrew, Farsi, Dutch, Turkish, Korean, Czech, Hindi, Bengali.
Studied once: Latin, Mayan (Tojolabal), Vietnamese, Classical Nahuatl, Tagalog, Cantonese, Hungarian, Panjabi, Zulu, Xhosa, Bulgarian, Swedish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Finnish.
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I struggled with English at elementary school since I didn’t particularly appreciate how teachers taught it. Some years after, when I was 16 years old, I dropped high school and took a gap year. This year was a turning point in my life. I decided to take French alongside German and Italian lessons at a language institute. At that time, I realized I could easily teach myself languages. Therefore, I took private lessons in Russian, Greek, and Latin. At the same time, I decided to self-study Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. From then on, I could travel extensively and take part in one-month language courses in different countries, such as Germany, Russia, and China.
I could live for a few years in Germany, Switzerland and Jordan. Through these experiences, I could get to know people from different cultures and backgrounds. Studies, work, or leisure, the common element in all these experiences, was my passion for languages and cultural exchanges. From the moment I decided to learn languages on my own and under some guidance, my life changed in many ways, and I still feel the repercussions of this decision.
I actively study Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, and Japanese. In addition, I try to practice my other languages with friends and contacts from around the world.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I wish I could spend more time practicing all the languages I speak, even those I studied at some point and have basic notions about. However, German, Greek, and Japanese are languages I would like to practice more often, as I don’t know many people with whom I can speak them.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Bengali, Turkish and Korean are among the top languages I would like to study actively again. On the other hand, I would like to learn a few languages spoken in Mexico, including regional variants of Purépecha, Otomi, Mayan and Nahuatl.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
Maybe French (not the Parisian accent), Farsi, and some variants of Spanish.
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
I get to know many people from different backgrounds, understand them and connect with them at different levels. In addition, my language knowledge has allowed me to live abroad and travel extensively.
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?
This might be true if governments keep insisting on imposing major languages on their populations while disregarding languages spoken by minorities and vulnerable groups. Governments and societies are responsible for preserving our language diversity as humankind through education, special programs, and cultural exchanges, among other projects. The polyglot community also can contribute to raising awareness initiatives.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Learning languages is one of the most beautiful habits you can build. It keeps your brain active while allowing you to connect with people from diverse communities and backgrounds at home and abroad. It also opens many opportunities at a professional level that could take you to places you never imagined. Finally, we are all part of a Wholeness, and learning multiple languages is a way to intuitively understand how everything and every one of us is connected.