Jose Feitosa Teixeira
Name: José Johnatta Feitosa Teixeira
Nationality or Ethnicity: Brazilian
Where do you live?: Sergipe / Brazil
Languages: Portuguese / English / Spanish / French / Italian / Brazilian Sign Language
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I started learning languages by myself when I was 17 years old. English was the first language I tried to learn, then Spanish, then I became a language freak. I may say this language-learning addiction was born when I realized how learning languages could change the world around me. As I come from a poor town, learning another language wasn’t seen as something attainable as most people learn languages in language schools, so once I did it, I also managed to find my first job and begin a new life. As I worked at a hotel, speaking other languages was crucial to climb the ladder. Therefore, I started learning French and Italian by myself as well. After a while, I quit that job and decided to be a self-employed English teacher. Languages have changed my life in so many ways that I wouldn’t even be able to share in such a testimony. From love to knowledge, education to work, languages have entered my life, permeated, and molded my soul and brain.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
Actually, I’ve just started learning Mandarin Chinese and I would love to spend more time studying and practicing it. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have the time to do so, as I have to teach, translate, and maintain the languages in which I already have a higher level of proficiency. Now, I just want to have some conversational level of Mandarin so that I’ll be able to have some conversations with native speakers who live around my place.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Mandarin, German, and ASL.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
This question has really taken me aback (in a funny way). Well, I can’t really tell the sexiest language, but most partners I had preferred to hear my “voice” in Spanish. So, maybe that’s the sexiest language I can speak.
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
Learning unimaginable things and getting to know people I would never have. Speaking other languages got me out of a bubble in which I didn’t know I had always been.
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 it’s pretty possible. Something we must do is reflect on why those “few” ones will survive. There are several factors involved in the extinction of those languages - economics, politics, technology, racism, etc. -, but it doesn’t mean that nothing can be done to preserve them. Fortunately, people and governments have been progressively aware of the cultural and human loss that’s inextricable to such an event.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
No matter where you are, who you are, and what people say: just do what you can to learn something you like. Incredible things may happen when you just keep up with your journey. Do it even if you don’t have any deep motivation, maybe you just think learning languages is cool. There’s nothing wrong with it!