Name: Tamara Aguinsky
Nationality or Ethnicity: Argentine
Where do you live?: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Languages: Spanish (native), English, French, Italian, Portuguese, German
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
Languages have been my passion basically since I can remember. When I was around 3 or 4 years old, I spoke Spanish at home, and I would ask my grandma (daughter of Italians) about certain words that she dropped in Italian (I guess that was when my curiosity started to grow). At 5, I started English at primary school; then at 11, I started studying French at secondary school, while continuing the English studies on the side. At 15, I decided to take some Italian lessons to reaffirm and expand what my grandma had taught me throughout the years. At 21, I was already fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian. That was when I went to Berlin and started
learning German (which I still continue, after 7 years), and lastly I started 2 years ago with Portuguese, after having visited Rio de Janeiro for New Year’s Eve. My curiosity, as I said, has always been the engine of all the languages I’ve learnt in my life.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
I would love to speak all the six languages every single day; that would be a dream.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Next in the line is Russian; then (in no precise order) Japanese, Swedish, Arabic and Polish. I will probably learn these and some other, although it will take me some time !
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
For me, it's definitely the possibility to communicate with more people and from a different perspective. Speaking another person's native language, I get to listen how they actually speak, what are the words they choose, etc. And there is also another pleasure (which I find extremely hard to put into words) that comes from the gut; it's as if my spirit would smile of joy when I speak different languages. To be honest, I like the mystery of this feeling.
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?
Unfortunately with globalisation, it is true that there is a massification of certain languages. In this sense, I believe it depends on each community to hold onto their native language and keep passing it from generation to generation. I think there is no true or false in this case. I can say I hope the statement will be false, though !
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Well, clearly my opinion will be biased, but do yourself a favor and study as many languages as you can ! Not only is it a useful thing to do, but you will also realize how your brain will start to function better as well. I think of language-learning as a brain gym; you will definitely notice the results. What's more, speaking several languages opens new unexpected doors, you never know where life is going to take you, and it's always better to be ready just in case!