Name: Nathan Mark
Nationality or Ethnicity: United States of America
Where do you live?: Germany
Languages: English (native), German, Spanish, Cebuano (advanced), Portuguese, Tagalog and Hiligaynon (intermediate), Italian (beginner to lower intermediate). Norwegian and Bahasa Indonesia (beginner).
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
When I was a teenager I started learning to mimic different accents from different English dialects and I began to be interested in other cultures when I became friends with different exchange students. After I graduated from High School, when I was 18 a friend of the family came and lived with us. He had just returned from living in the Canary Islands, Spain and had learned fluent Spanish there. I was fascinated by his stories and experiences and it sparked a huge desire within me to learn another language. Up until then I only knew English. I have been passionate about languages since then. I have lived in the USA, where I got my Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, with a minor in Spanish and a certificate for translation from German to English, and then I moved to the Philippines and later Germany. I have visited many other countries as well for short periods.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I wish I could spend more time practicing all of my languages! If I have to choose one I will go with Norwegian, since it is the language which I practice the least, and it is also the hardest to find native speakers to practice with.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Persian, French, Galician, Greek, Arabic (Egyptian), Russian, Samoan, Maori, Tahitian, Hindi/Urdu, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Dutch/Flemish, Welsh, Swiss-German
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
French, followed by Italian. Honestly though it depends more on who is speaking it. Even the “ugliest” language would sound sexy if the right person were speaking it.
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
I love it when I am in a situation where someone doesn't speak English and I am able to communicate with them. It is especially satisfying when I am the first English-speaker they have ever communicated with.
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 that with globalization it is probable that many more languages will die and therefore we need to spend more resources on recording these minority languages, because each one has a unique history and worldview.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
It's never too late to learn! I speak 9 languages, but I only spoke one language (English) until I was an adult. You can always learn new languages if you are interested. Just do it!