Name: Hidson Guimarães
Nationality or Ethnicity: Brazilian
Where do you live?: Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Mother Tongue: Brazilian Portuguese.
Fluent (C level): English, Français, Papiamento
Upper-Intermediate (B2 level): Norsk, Italiano, Español, ქართული
Lower-Intermediate (B1 level): Deutsch, Русский, 中文
Basic (A2 level): Eesti, Ελληνικά, Esperanto
Beginner (A1 level): עִברִית, Bahasa Indonesia
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I started learning languages in 2000, at the age of sixteen. I didn’t know much about how to progress in a language all the way up to proficiency, and I though most languages would be just a little bit harder than the Romance languages were for me. When I did start for real, I decided to aim for diversity and variety instead of plain polyglotism numbers.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
All of them, but specifically Norwegian, Mandarin and Georgian, because I have broader plans for these languages.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I have a finite list! I decided to write down such list because I was giving in to wanderlust way too much. They are over fifty, but I would also attempt to get reading skills in languages within each family or subgroup. Ever since I wrote that list, I started Modern Greek, Indonesian and Hebrew, and I’m looking forward to starting a language from Africa, probably Swahili. I try to make sure that I start both similar languages to the ones I already know, which I can learn in a fun way, mostly with native materials, and unique languages that represent cultural and linguistic novelty.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
I tend to like languages with a number of vowels above average, so my native Brazilian Portuguese has my preference with is closed nasal vowels. Catalan, French and Norwegian also rank high at this respect.
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
Getting to know so much about the world while doing an intellectual exercise that I consider to be a lot of fun. I want to know about foreign cultures and how people live in other lands, but just reading about cultures seems too dry. Every new language I start is a journey to a country I will end up learning way above superficial, touristic connaissance. As I learn about their history, lifestyles, values and even mass culture, I feel that there are several places now where I would consider a bit like home. Even from my own native country, I manage to get this sense of familiarity, which is fascinating and addictive.
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 is true, unfortunately. I only hope the remaining languages are diverse enough and not just Standard Western European.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Go for it! You don’t know how much knowledge awaits for you until you do.