Name: Josiane Lima
Nationality or Ethnicity: Brazilian
Where do you live?: Hortolândia, Brazil
Languages: Portuguese, English and French, German*, Swedish*, Italian*, Spanish* and Esperanto*
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I was exposed to different kinds of accents in my native language (Portuguese) at a really early age. I was born in the North of Brazil, Pará. When I was about 1 year old I moved to São José do Rio Preto in the Southeast of Brazil and then I moved again, this time to Hortolândia in the same region at the age of 12. Moving made me realize that there are plenty of varieties when it comes to language. In this context at the age of 12 I decide to start learning the closest foreign language to me at that moment and it was English as I used to listen to lots of music in English. The process got me to become even more interested in languages, so when I was around 15 I started learning German and French. By then I also started teaching English at a language school, where I got to know people who were really into foreign languages as well, therefore we engaged into other languages together such as Swedish, Esperanto and Mandarin. After getting to know these languages I started teaching other ones besides English and by then I began to wonder what cognitive and psychological processes were involved in language learning. That lead me to choose linguistics as my major at the university (Unicamp). My goal was to approach language in a rather formal way to understand how we are capable of producing and recognizing language.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I wish I could spend more time with the languages I don’t practise daily due to my routine.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I’m really curious about Russian because it would be the first language I would have to deal with an unfamiliar alphabet and some indigenous languages especially from Brazil because it would help me to understand my mother tongue better. Afterwards there will be many others certainly.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
I really think that would be French to my ears. Russian and Italian would definitely come right after.
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
Cultural knowledge and getting to know people from all over the world for sure. Learning a new language for me it’s like finding a piece of myself in other cultures. People just make it even better through communication.
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?
Many factors lead to this conclusion. I find it sad to believe that the cultural aspects of all these languages could be lost.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
I can only encourage you to do so and have fun with all the curiosities you’re about to find in your journey. There’s a huge world out there and I see language as the best way to bond with people, their culture and even places. Just go for it and find out what the globe has to offer you. The process will also help you to know yourself better and I’m sure you’ll be amazed by all the advantages of learning. The best part is that there’s always something interesting we can explore.