Name: Tanner Plauché
Nationality or Ethnicity: American (of Cajun descent)
Where do you live?: Nashville, TN, USA
Languages: English (native), French, Czech, Slovak (fluent), Russian, Spanish (professional). Also basic knowledge of Polish, Italian and Afrikaans.
1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
My father’s knowledge of French intrigued me at a young age. I grew up in a diverse, international area and eagerly learned the languages my friends spoke at home. I studied French in high school and used that foundation to learn other Latin languages. I learned Czech and Slovak while serving as a missionary in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. While living in Central Europe, I took advantage of the opportunity to begin learning Russian, Hungarian, Polish, and German friends. At university, I majored in linguistics, minored in French, and did language specializations in Czech and Russian. Since then, I have studied several languages and have used my languages in my progressional work while working in multiple countries.
2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
All of them. If I have to pick just one, at the moment, Russian.
3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
I love the moment when you surprise someone by speaking to someone in their native language.
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?
I don’t think this is true. Many languages will certainly die in the next 100 years, but there is so much linguistic diversity it will not be reduced to only a few languages in 100 years.
7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
I think everyone would benefit from learning languages, but you should learn languages in addition to valuable career skills. Unless you are interested in interpretation and translation, learn marketable job skills. I know too many linguists who focused exclusively on language and did not develop other skills.