Name: Santiago Delgadillo de Gyves
Nationality or Ethnicity: Mexican
Where do you live?: Mexico City
Languages: Spanish, English, German, Italian, French, Mandarin Chinese, Russian.
1) What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I study a good deal of languages due to several reasons. Because when you learn a language, you see things in a different way and since there are many possibilities with everything you can imagine. Another good reason could be that I found languages as a motivation since people never believed in me and even myself. Over the past few years I have learned a good deal of foreign languages, they are apart from my native Spanish and to be honest I have not always been interested in foreign languages. I gained experience in foreign languages over the past few years and trained to be self-taught. I have passed through several obstacles that have been exposed to me as well. I enjoy a lot learning foreign languages because I want to understand more about different cultures in the world. Would you believe me if I tell you that I was always very nervous when I had to speak in a foreign language? Because I thought I had a horrible pronunciation and everyone would have judged me. This probably would not have happened, to be honest. But the truth is that if I did it, then you can do it as well, why not? "Believe in yourself!". It is true that you can help someone to learn, but you have to recall that you should teach them to start teaching themselves first. Although I speak Spanish or English "fluently", I still teach myself, you never stop learning a language. By the way, it is a good reason to spend time. I really enjoy learning languages and particularly asian ones. What I would like to do is practice to a great extent, improve my pronunciation and improve my fluency in at least 15 languages.
2) Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I can speak Mandarin Chinese and Russian, but to be honest, Mandarin and Russian are really hard and sometimes I think I need to improve them more. I would like as well practice more Yiddish because it is a language very similar to German and Hebrew. I am very interested in Jews' history, despite the fact I am not jewish. Right now I am reading "The history of the Jews" by Paul Johnson, and it is fantastic.
3) What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I am focusing to master fifteen languages in short term. In addition to the languages I already know, I would like to add Portuguese, Arabic, Korean, Hungarian, Hebrew, Yiddish, Japanese and Greek.
4) So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
French because it sounds really sexy, hahaha, and I really like the accent of French people speaking other languages. I would say also Spanish from Venezuela and Colombia.
5) What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
Overcoming myself everyday by knowing something new. Moreover, I can interact with people around 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?
A lot of languages could die out gradually since speakers seek to learn a more-prestigious language in order to gain social and economic advantages or to avoid discrimination by being bilingual or multilingual. This is why I think it is important to master more our native languages.
7) What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
I firmly believe that it has nothing to do with personal talent, and what really relates to language learning is your personal beliefs and learning ability. If we only intend to be serious about what we want to do, everyone can definitely know many languages; just do not pressure yourself and never give up.