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?
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!