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Interview with

Riccardo Eramo

Hyperpolyglot & HYPIA Scholar

Name: Riccardo Eramo
Nationality or Ethnicity: Italian
Where do you live?: Italy
Languages: Italian, French, English, Spanish, Standard Arabic, Portuguese, Neapolitan, Jordanian Arabic

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

I was born in Italy to a French-speaking mother and I grew up practicing both of those languages, even though I can’t really claim to be a French native speaker. During Primary School I began to study English as a part of the standard Italian school program; nevertheless it took me almost a decade to achieve a satisfactory fluency in this language.

When I was in High school I used to study Latin and Ancient Greek but I’ve never been actually able to speak them.

At university I studied Interpreting and translation, choosing two new languages, Spanish and Arabic, for my career Finally, more than two years ago, I started learning Portuguese by myself.


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

Definitely Arabic!


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

I’m currently studying Catalan and German. In the future I wouldn’t mind venturing into another non-European Language, such as Chinese or some Indian one. It would be extremely interesting to learn some minority or endangered language as well.


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

From my strictly personal point of view, Spanish!


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

To have the opportunity to immerse myself in a whole new world, it is to say in languages and their respective culture, their people. From making new friends from all around the world to very simple, yet special, things such as being able to read a book in its original language, listen to music, watch movies, travel abroad with no difficulties. It’s almost like unlocking a new part of the world!


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?

The outcome of the changes implemented by technology and an increasingly global, interconnected world is largely unpredictable in my opinion, some language will disappear unfortunately, it always happened but it is certainly realistic to think that this process could be drammatically accelerated by the trends of this era. Yet, it is also possible that technology may offer some more tool to save some language from dying. However, 100 years seems definitely too short a period of time to me for all this to happen.


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

Do. It. Absolutely! There’s no reason not to try, no contraindication, no negative effect. You will literally start to see the world in a completely different way, your bounds will drastically expand. Just think of how many things you can do in your country, then multiply them! Friends, job, love, fun…it’s a never ending journey and you’ll become a new person yourself!


Riccardo is a Hyperpolyglot and also a HYPIA Scholar. Below is an excerpt from his Scholar internview:


1. HYPIA Research revolves around three main, interrelated activities: a monthly study group (to discuss relevant articles/chapters and videos), an annual conference (to present your own ideas about them) and the publication of selected proceedings from that conference. Ideally, we would be interested in accepting applicants that are able and willing to participate in all 3. On a scale from 1 (most likely) to 10 (less likely), how likely are you commit to this endeavor?

3


2. What are your main areas of research interest? Please, rank the following from 1 (most interesting to you) to 5 (less interesting).

(4)Multilingualism

(3) Language ideologies

(5) Formal linguistics

(6) Sociolinguistics

(1)Minoritized languages and/or language revitalization

(2) Other, please specify: Ancient languages


3. Which linguistic concepts / areas / discourses would you like to explore as part of HYPIA Research?

The preservation of indigenous languages, the revitalization of dead languages, the coexistence between two or more linguistic communities, the use of pidgins and constructed languages.


4. What is unique about your language-related research?

Firstly, my commitment to the research as a mission. I believe that using a scientific and impartial approach doesn’t mean rejecting ideals regarding languages and the contribution that they can give to progress, cooperation, coexistence, dialogue and peace. Secondly, the strong desire to share with everybody whatever I may discover.


5.  Please, let us know your related academic credentials, if and as applicable.

I studied in an Italian Classical High School, where I learn Latin and Ancient Greek. Subsequently, I graduated from the University of Naples L’Orientale, where I studied Linguistic and cultural mediation (Arabic and Spanish, I even took an exam of Egyptology!). Finally, I obtained a Master’s Degree cum Laude from the UNINT (Rome, Italy) in Interpreting and translation. During this period I also earned an Erasmus scholarship at the University of Murcia, Spain.