Name: Guy Kampinsky
Nationality or Ethnicity: Israeli
Where do you live?: Israel
Languages: Hebrew, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Polish, Persian, French, Chinese, Urdu, Serbian, Bulgarian, Czech, Swedish, Norweigan, Danish, Arabic, Turkish, Dutch, Indonesian, Bengali.
What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
In high school I was in a Russian speaking class. At some point I got tired of not understanding most of the other students, so I decided to learn Russian. I liked it very much, so I decided to learn more languages. The more I learned the more I liked it, especially grammar and syntax. Grammar and syntax have become since then my greatest passion and focus. For me deep understanding of grammar and syntax are the key for deep understanding of the language. I always fore and foremost look for a good grammar book whenever I decide to learn a new language. After Russian I learned German and Arabic, a third language in many Israeli schools. At some point I decided to learn languages by its distribution therefore I learned French and Spanish. Afterwards I decided to learn by languages families hence I learned Italian and Portuguese and then Dutch, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish. For my work I learned Urdu, Bengali, Indonesian, Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croatian and Ukrainian. Nowadays I am learning Bulgarian. For me verb conjugations, Words order and Noun declensions are extremely interesting. When I learned Turkish at the university, I discovered the world of the agglutinative languages, languages which were completely different than any other languages I had known until then. For example Indonesian- Malay.
Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I wish I could spend more time practicing Italian, French, Russian, German, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic.
What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
In the future I would like to learn Romanian and some other Turkic languages such as Uzbek, and perhaps Pashto.
So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
Actually I don’t find languages sexy.
What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
My greatest passion and pleasure are grammar and syntax. Thoroughly Understanding a language’s grammar and syntax gives me sheer bliss.
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 have no idea what will happen in the future since I am not a prophet.
What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Get a good grammar book and start learning=)