Name: Kevin Leonardo Abúndez Rodríguez
Nationality or Ethnicity: Mexican
Where do you live?: Cuernavaca, Mexico
Languages: Spanish (mother tongue), English, French, Portuguese, German (proficient), Japanese, Russian, Italian (intermediate), Arabic (beginner)
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
When I was 6, I started to have English lessons at school and I was very interested in the class because I always found the language amazingly beautiful. As time went by, I learned many things about the culture of the English-speaking world and found out how passionate about languages and humanities I am. After some years of studying English, I took French classes and discovered a new language and therefore a new world.
At the beginning of high school, I made the best decision of my life; I started taking classes of different languages including the ones I’d already been learning for a while (English and French) and that’s how I realized that I’d adore to work with languages throughout my life.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I think I would love to practise them all with natives more frequently because in my city there are not many foreigners unfortunately. However, if I had to choose one, I’d say it’s Japanese that I would like to practise more.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I’d definitely like to study Greek and Latin as they have a remarkable influence on the grammar of my native language. Chinese is certainly another language that I’d love to master one day, but maybe after acquiring an excellent command of Japanese.
I’m enraptured by Asian languages. I’m engrossed, it’s something totally different from what I’m used to since the writing system, phonetics and phonology differ so much from those of my mother tongue.
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
I consider I don’t have an accurate answer since I haven’t ever thought of it.
Sexiness is something I’m not particularly attracted by. Nevertheless, I’d choose French as the sexiest language just because everybody says it is the language of love, but to my eyes it is more than just the language of love, it is a language that made me dream of many astonishing things and objectives that I wanted to attain, for instances getting on the Eiffel Tower. When I achieved that goal, I already spoke French and I got the goosebumps owing to all the memories that goal represented. Hopefully, this somehow answered the question.
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
Communication and culture are a great passion I have. Nonetheless, to be honest, I study and speak different languages of diverse roots just because of the sheer delight and wonderful feeling I get inside me when I’m studying.
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 going to take longer for many languages to disappear, but I do believe there are just going to be some of the languages there are today in 100 years. I can instance one of the native languages of my culture (Náhuatl). There are still some people whose mother tongue is Náhuatl, but due to discrimination and the fact that others look down on Náhuatl speakers, they feel somewhat afraid and ashamed of using it in everyday life, as a consequence, they learn Spanish and refuse to speak Náhuatl on the streets as well as teaching it to their offspring. In the future, it might be one of those endangered languages, so to speak.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Set a goal and go for it. Study hard, practise as much as possible, don’t let mistakes or blunders deflate you, we all commit mistakes, create your own way of learning vocabulary, read books, watch movies and listen to or read the news in that (those) language(s). In other words, immerse and bury yourself in the culture of that language, it does help a bunch. But above all, enjoy the marvellous process of learning a foreign language. Remember: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success, if you love what you are doing, you’ll be successful.” – Arabian proverb.