Name: Justin Curtis Ermer Lacche
Nationality or Ethnicity: Italian-American
Where do you live? Portland, Oregon, USA
• Native Languages: English. Italian.
• Languages I speak & must use at work fluently where my team mates do not speak
English (nor Italian): Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, German.
• Languages I speak conversationally but do not consider myself (yet) fluent like I do the
languages above: Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Hindi.
• Languages of antiquity that I can write/read: Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyphs
(write). Latin (read)
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
Everyone is born with potentials which come easy/natural to themselves. I was born with the ability to learn and use languages faster than most of my friends & colleagues. Growing up in a multi-lingual household very much helped me, as well as, having a support structure where it was ok to make mistakes learning languages. Thus, as a child, I had direct passion to learn languages without the fear of failure: A tenet I also would champion as a member of HYPIA: Encouraging people to learn other languages with a child-like passion and curiosity.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I have recently fallen in love with the Hawaiian language and am now studying it daily, as well as, listening to a few hours of Hawaiian-only interviews while multitasking at work. It’s very important to keep territorial indigenous languages alive for future generations.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I have two concurrent plans for 2019-2020: raise my fluency in all the languages I listed above as conversational-level, and begin to learn Native American languages to help the native peoples of the States keep their important history
alive with the new generations.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
Any language that lovers can speak during their most intimate moments should be sanctioned by HYPIA as OCSL (officially certified sexy languages).
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
I’m a different “Justin” when I speak and use other languages: My decision making, global views, humor, dreams, even parenting is different depending on the language I am living in at a particular moment. Being a hyperpolyglot also lets me show my multi-cultural friends the beauty of their native languages, and the power in learning new languages.
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 believe in 100 years we will have more languages than today, but technology runs the risk of the future generations defaulting to have an app translate for them rather than personally putting in the time to embrace, use and eventually master other languages. This is why HYPIA is so important: This isn’t an organization for a few to impress each other at a dinner party with being hyperpolyglots. Rather, it is our responsibility to champion multi-lingual societies to further advance equality, unity, compassion and critical thinking.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Anyone can wake up in the morning, pick any language on Earth, and master and use 10 words by the time they go to sleep. That simple act is a step forward to personal empowerment and helping the global community celebrate our differences by sharing the commonality of humanity through language. Don’t be embarrassed or self-conscious learning new languages. Show the respect of the language and the culture(s) behind it to put your best foot forward, but always keep it fun. No baby is born speaking a language. Through passion, determination and daily commitment, the mind learns, uses and shares languages as natural as any other function. Believe in yourself and start learning and using a new language today.