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Interview with

Yan Aleshkevich-Suslov

Name: Yan Aleshkevich-Suslov
Nationality or Ethnicity: Russian
Where do you live?: Moscow
Languages: Russian (native), English, Norwegian, Danish (fluent), German, Polish, Old Church Slavonic, Faroese, Old Norse, Latin (intermediate), French, Catalan, Latin, Japanese (basic).

Member since:


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

My interest began with the Greek letter μ which I saw in a physics textbook and found it most peculiar that other alphabets existed. I looked it up online and learned about the Greek alphabet, its connection to Cyrillic and Latin, and the history of the alphabets and writing in general, along the way learning about Proto-Indo-European and basic linguistics, for instance, the IPA. After that I continued gradually learning more and more about linguistics and then thanks to videos by Paul (Langfocus) and Alexander Argüelles I got into habitually learning more and more languages. I have a particular story behind each language, for some it’s their utility (English, German, French, Polish), for some it’s the content that I can access through them (Japanese, Latin, Old Norse, Koine, Biblical Hebrew), for some it’s the beauty of their grammar (Japanese, Latin, Hungarian, Old Church Slavonic), or their phonetic system (Danish, Faroese, Japanese, Latin, Hungarian, Catalan), and I have also studied (and dropped) plenty of other languages that I was simply curious about (almost all Slavic languages, Frisian, Dutch, Icelandic, Gaelic, Occitan, Italian, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Classical Japanese).

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

Japanese, Hungarian, Old Church Slavonic, Old English, Classical Japanese, Gaelic, Occitan, Lithuanian.

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

Aramaic, Modern Standard Arabic (Fuṣḥa), Coptic, Tibetan, Okinawan, Aleut, Inuit, Farsi, Yakut.

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

Japanese, Latin or Hungarian; it’s a very tough pick.

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

The freshness and variety of sounds and patterns of thought that I can swap out periodically.

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?

No, because we will have written and audio records of many languages, so the determined activists will be able to revitalise them.

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

Get your sleep schedule in order – everything else is a piece of cake (just one that takes a long time to chew through).

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