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Interview with

Parham Motaghedi

Name: Parham Motaghedi
Nationality or Ethnicity: American (of Persian origin) by birth, a world citizen by choice
Where do you live?: I move around the world.
Languages: English, Farsi, Spanish, French, Thai, Chinese, Italian, German, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Bahasa Indonesia, Croatian and basic Portuguese.

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

高中时, 我“学” 了四年的法语. 不过, 我没有人什么认真得学习, 上课时间玩一玩, 和朋友聊一聊就下课了. 根本对外语没有干什么 兴趣. 在大学的第一学期就不决定了不学法语了, 感觉太无聊, 所以报了名一节西班牙语的课. 我马上发现西班牙语和法语很像, 有好多共同点. 感觉我发现什么学习外语的一个窍门, 我比其他的学生进步比较大, 越学习越得到了学习的乐趣. 我的进步比较快, 过两个学期就拿到了一个奖学金去西班牙上一个学期 (夏天的). 在教室当然学砸了, 第二年本美国科学生干嘛在西班牙上硕士课呢. 不过, 在课外, 我成功了. 因为, 是第一次我用得到一门外语和新的朋友交流, 那个感觉真的太棒了. 我就认为了, 从那时后, 去哪里就不要用英语了, 去哪里就要用那里的语言和本地人交流, 这样才对. 我发现只有通过本地语言我才可以真的了解他们文化, 他们看法,他们思维. 所以呢, 我到现在还在学习, 还会继续学习.

(In high school, I "studied" French for four years. However, I didn't study it seriously. I just played around and chatted with friends during class time. I didn't have any interest in foreign languages at all. In my first year in college, I "learned" French. I had decided not to learn French during the semester. I felt too bored, so I signed up for a Spanish class. I immediately discovered that Spanish and French are very similar and have a lot in common. I felt like I had discovered a trick for learning a foreign language. I made greater progress than other students. The more I studied, the more fun I got from learning. My progress was relatively fast. After two semesters, I got a scholarship to go to Spain for a semester (in the summer). Of course, I failed in the classroom. Why do American science students take master's courses in Spain in their second year? However, outside of class, I succeeded. Because it was the first time that I could use a foreign language to communicate with new friends, and it felt really great. . I thought that from then on, it was only right to use English to communicate with the locals wherever they went. I found that only through the local language could I truly understand their culture. , their opinions, their thinking. So, I am still learning and will continue to learn.)

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

日本へ行ったことが ないので、もちろん日本語もっと話したいです。

日本語を殆ど毎日少し聴くから, だんだん日本語の語感をつかんでいますよ. 中国語ができて、漢字そなんに難しくないと思います.

けれども日本人は. 早口で話す方が多いから、どり聞く のは ちょっと大変です.

(I've never been to Japan, so of course I want to speak more Japanese. I listen to a little bit of Japanese almost every day, so I'm gradually getting the feel of Japanese words.I'm good at Chinese, so I don't think kanji are that difficult. However, Japanese people tend to speak quickly, so it's a little difficult for him to listen.)

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

Do sada, samo sam učio jedni slavski jezik, to je hrvatski jezik. Naučio sam ovaj jezik jer u budućnosti namjeravam učiti polski jezik. Svakako ću naučiti poljski jezik i dobro ga govoriti. Polski je jedni jezik da oduvijek mi je privlačio.

(Until now, I have only studied one Slavic language, that is Croatian. I learned this language because I intend to learn Polish in the future. I will definitely learn the Polish language and speak it well. Polish is one language that has always attracted me.)

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

No hay un idioma que pueda ser "sexy" en sí. Lo que sí es sexy, es cuando alguien habla cualquier idioma bien y con seguridad en sí mism@.

(There is no language that can be "sexy" per se. What is sexy is when someone speaks any language well and with self-confidence.)

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

ผมใจดีมากตอนผมได้รู้จักคนใหม่แล้วก็ได้ใช้ภาษาของคนนั้นเพื่อสื่อสารกัน ทำให้ผมมีความสุขมากเพราะว่าผมเห็นคนนั้นก็มีความสุขในการคุยกับผม

(I am very kind when I meet new people and use their language to communicate. It makes me very happy because when I see that person is happy to talk to me.)

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?

In 100 Jahre, es werde niemand geben, der immer noch am Leben ist. Deswegen, es macht keinen Sinn darüber spekulieren was in einer solchen Zukunft passieren würde. Lassen uns entdecken die Welt in der wir jetzt leben, und hören Sie mit dieser Spekulation auf.

(In 100 years, there will be no one still alive. Therefore, there is no point in speculating about what would happen in such a future. Let's discover the world we live in now and stop this speculation.)

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

I wish everyone would realize that we are humans, our brains our equipped with the tools to learn language flawlessly and that’s why we all speak our first language so well. Many of us also learn a second language to quite a high level. Unfortunately, many people stop at the second language which is usually English. So my message is that people who are polyglots don’t have an inherent ability to learn a language, they learn them well because they love to do it, it is their passion. They spend countless hours doing it and that’s what makes them good at it, because they invest so much time into it. If you are willing to invest time into learn languages consistently (at least 4-5 times a week) and for a sustained duration of time, then you too will be able to succeed in using different languages to communicate with others. There’s no secret, the key is consistency / sustained duration, that’s it! Now set your timer, turn off your phone and go study!

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