Julio Cesar Aragon
Name: Julio César Aragón Valdés
Nationality or Ethnicity: Mexican
Where do you live?: Mexico City
Languages: Spanish (native), English (native), French (C1), German (B2), Italian (B2), Portuguese (B1), Russian (B1), Japanese (A2), Swedish (A1), Catalan (A1)
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
It all started when I was 10 years old. My interest for foreign languages started in Ottawa, Canada, where I lived for two years because of my dad’s job. Since Ottawa is a very international city, I started listening to different languages and also, I started to meet people from different backgrounds. Being in Ottawa, I was totally immersed in English and I learned how to speak it properly being there, in the English-speaking part of the country. I remember I had French classes in school but I only learned English because the majority of my classmates were English-speakers. But the thing that made me love languages and foreign cultures was during a Culture fair organized by my school, where many countries showed their country. Back in my country, Mexico, I started having French with a private tutor, then in High School and then, by myself because I bought some books and started to learn it with videos and some audios I had at home. My interest for German started when they offer me to live one year in Germany with a host family or as an exchange student. In the end, due to personal reasons, I couldn’t go to Germany any longer but in spite of it, I started to learn it for pleasure and I was so in love with German that I tried to be immersed in it for a long time during my High School years. At the same, as a self-learner, I taught myself Italian with songs and listening to the language. Then, I went off with Russian because it’s a language that has always fascinated me. So, I learned by myself and took some classes for four months in a language school to take advantage of an offer. I taught myself Portuguese with a guy from Youtube, where he teaches very well. I’m currently learning Japanese, I’m at an A2 level. I’ve learned some Catalan and Swedish in the past but I practically can’t speak those language.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
All of them but I think that Russian and Japanese, especially Russian because at this point I should speak it fluently or decently but due to many factors I haven’t been able to but I will improve and try to spend more time with it.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Too many up to 20 but the closest ones I want to learn soon are Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, Turkish and Romanian.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
Hard question to answer. I think Brazilian Portuguese, Parisian French and Australian English (especially in women).
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
The pleasure of getting to know more a culture, to be immersed in it, to be able to communicate with so many people and to be able to get someone’s heart by showing respect to other people around the world.
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?
Sadly, many languages will disappear and it could be true but there will still be too many because many are fighting to preserve their identity and language. Yet, it could become true if people don’t fight for its preservation.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
To learn languages for pleasure and not to learn languages because they are forced to. Language learning must be an enjoyable and pleasant experience, not a nightmare. Languages are fun, sexy and dynamic. So, by learning a language, you discover new world and you can even enjoying playing roles of yourself in different languages; For example, you can “pretend” to be someone in English and someone else in German. Obviously, you are you in whatever language but take it as a theatrical role play. And by learning languages, you unlock many doors and many surprises are waiting for you.