Name: Noëmie Julie Anna Maria Armerding
Nationality or Ethnicity: Germany, Belgium, Guadeloupe
Where do you live?: Bulgaria, Varna
Languages: German, French, English, Spanish, Bulgarian, Chichewa
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
It started first with being raised bilingually with my father speaking in German to me and my mother in French. For both it was important that I got raised with an open mind, so we travelled frequently and of course making family visits to various countries contributed to being interested in other cultures. Maybe it is also a way of not just only partly belonging to my respective countries of origin, and thus being divided into parts, but instead belonging fully to the world.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I wish I could spend more time practising Bulgarian, Créole Guadeloupéen and Japanese
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Créole Guadeloupéen, Japanese, Farsi, Tumbuka, Yolnu Matha
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
French! (Farsi comes on the 2nd place Haha)
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
I love the moment when I can start connecting with other people in their mother tongues, since as Nelson Mandela famously said “ If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” That spark is my greatest pleasure.
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 is true that there are languages which are very sadly gradually disappearing, also unfortunately due to external factors and diminishing possibilities to acquire the knowledge of the culture and language. But as long as people love their culture and language, even if they are disconnected with it and have the calling to reconnect, trying to preserve what is left and maybe even with the little that is remaining creating something new, I believe the world will continue having many languages.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
A little goes a long way. Rome wasn’t built in a day. All you need is motivation(!) and consistency. I often hear people saying: “I’m not good with languages.” and then I hear them also say in the next sentence: “ I always wanted to improve my french!” or “I would love to speak spanish” and “I like the german language but the grammar is too hard”. If you see yourself in these phrases I encourage you to keep on studying. One step at a time. Word by word. Everyone can do it.
Learning a language is like slowly climbing a mountain, but if you are motivated and immerse yourself in your target language, you’ll be able to take pleasure in admiring the changing mountain-view as you walk and immerse yourself in the fresh mountain water pools along the way.. the journey on the mountain will be more enjoyable and the reward is immense!