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Interview with

Thapan Dubayehudi

Name: Thapan Avanoor Santhosh (a.k.a. Thapan Dubayehudi)
Nationality or Ethnicity: Austrian/Indian by nationality; Mizrahi Jewish (from Cochin, Kerala, India) by ethnicity.
Where do you live?: Vienna, Austria
Languages: English, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Malayalam, Spanish, Italian, French.

Member since:


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

I started learning foreign languages at the age of 8 when my father brought home a small sheet of paper with the Cyrillic alphabets and their Latin equivalents. I learnt the letters in an hour or so and wrote my name in the Cyrillic alphabet; from then on, I was hooked. Over the years I picked up more Russian, and proceeded to acquire more languages with textbooks and the internet until I discovered the (then young) Green Owl (Duolingo) in 2014. I later moved to England and then to Austria. Hence in the past 15 years or so, chance, interest, passion and circumstances pushed me to become a polyglot.

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

Ukrainian, Polish and Greek.

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

Turkish and Persian.

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

Hebrew, because it did two things no other language could: 1) returned from the dead 2) united Poles, Russians, Latinos, Indians, English and Arabic-speaking Jews in one country and became a thriving language today.

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

They say there are two types of people in the world: fighter pilots and everybody else. I say there are 3 types: fighter pilots, polyglots and everybody else. It’s a thrilling, incomparable feeling when you can be a bridge between multiple peoples and countries.

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?

Absolutely not, anyone with a basic knowledge of linguistics know that languages, when they are big enough, diverge into dialects, which, over a long time, become new languages. The world of languages is constantly evolving.

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

If you don’t use it, you lose it. So keep using it, no matter how slow the progress is and eventually, you’ll definitely be fluent.

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