top of page

Interview with

Martina Ciprian

Name: Martina Ciprian
Nationality or Ethnicity: Italian
Where do you live? I recently moved back to Italy, but I used to live in France, Greece, Switzerland, Peru and Colombia
Languages: Italian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, German, Romanian, Veneto Dialect, Griko, Latin, Ancient Greek

Member since:


1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?

I recall being average to low in my English tests during high school, and I even faced exclusion from a European competition due to my poor English skills, which at the time was the only language I knew. Consequently, I harboured doubts about my language abilities, believing I lacked natural talent in this area. However, in 2016, during my Erasmus in Paris, I had a revelation: I wasn't as bad at learning languages as I had previously thought. I picked up French remarkably quickly and relished mastering its proper pronunciation. It was both enjoyable and challenging, and I felt immensely proud and gratified when French speakers complimented me on my lack of accent. This newfound confidence spilled over into my re-engagement with English, which I also learned rapidly. It felt as though I had shattered a glass ceiling. From then on, I realized that, for me, learning a language was more about connecting with people than simply mastering grammar or acing tests. This realization became my personal approach to language acquisition, fuelled by my inherently friendly nature and love for interacting with people.

Driven by this newfound passion, I sought opportunities to immerse myself in different cultures by moving abroad. Unlike most people who relocate for work, I actively pursued job opportunities abroad to facilitate my language learning journey. Over time, I lived in Greece, Switzerland, Peru, and Colombia, where I took on various roles, including teaching. Sometimes, I taught tennis and skiing, while at other times, I taught Latin and Ancient Greek.

2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?

I wish I could spend more time practicing Griko, a minority language spoken in Salento, Italy, and Criollo Sanandresano, another minority language spoken in the San Andres and Providencia islands, Colombia. These languages have become the focus of my research project in Academia, as I'm exploring linguistic minorities. They have captured my interest due to their significance for the speakers I've encountered and my appreciation for their cultural heritage constantly grows. These endangered languages hold emotional importance for their communities, which further motivates my desire to delve deeper into them.

3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?

I  would love to learn all languages! But the next ones on my list are  Arabic and Russian, each for different reasons. My mother was born in  Tripoli, Libya, and while my entire family could speak Arabic, my mother  left Libya when she was only three months old and Arabic wasn't  transmitted to her. Consequently, I have this deep connection with  Arabic, as it's the "forgotten" language in my mother's family. My  grandmother used to teach me some words, I can count in Arabic, and for  me, it's a language of love from my maternal heritage.

I can currently read Russian and I know just a few words, but I am passionate about Russian literature and I aspire to read Dostoevskij, my favourite writer, in his original language

4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?

Ah, choosing the sexiest language is subjective and can vary greatly depending on personal preferences and experience! However, the smooth, rhythmic flow of Brazilian Portuguese spoken in the Carioca accent, the melodic and warm tones of Colombian Paisa Spanish, and the passionate cadence of Greek are all supersexy to me.

5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?

The joy I find in speaking multiple languages goes beyond mere communication; it's about forging genuine connections with people. I relish delving into the intricacies of their language, revelling in the nuances of expression that reveal their true selves and cultural heritage. Achieving fluency brings a sense of fulfilment where words flow effortlessly, almost as if they were always meant to be spoken.

Moreover, my love for humour and the experience of falling in love in different languages serve as personal benchmarks of understanding and connection. They act as my litmus tests, indicating not just proficiency, but a deeper, more intimate grasp of a language and its culture.

Exploring different linguistic and cultural landscapes offers invaluable insights into how to navigate diverse social contexts. Even within Latin America, such as between Colombia and Peru, I've discovered that verbal and behavioural norms can vary significantly. Understanding these differences enhances my ability to adapt and connect authentically with people from various backgrounds.

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?

It's a trend I'm actively working against in my research. I'm focusing on studying, documenting, and promoting the languages and cultures of endangered minorities on a more global scale. By giving these minority languages the attention and recognition they deserve, I hope to contribute to preserving linguistic diversity and combating the homogenization of languages on an international level.

7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?

My message to people interested in studying languages is to begin with intrinsic motivation. Start by learning the language you genuinely enjoy, using your preferred learning methods, whether it's through informal education via social media or a grammar course. Look for topics you already know and love, then immerse yourself in them in your target language. Embrace mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth—don't fear them. And while you can't force it, don't hesitate to befriend or even fall in love with someone who speaks your target language; it can be an incredibly enriching and motivating experience.

Additionally, consider moving to the target country with courage. While there may be moments of homesickness, the experience will undoubtedly be worth it in the end, offering invaluable opportunities for language acquisition and personal growth.

bottom of page