Name: Sergio Pardo
Nationality or Ethnicity: Catalan of Andalusian descent
Where do you live? Barcelona
Languages: Catalan, Spanish, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Galician, Basque, German
What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
Since I am still really young, my story is kind of short. I have always loved languages, ever since I was a little kid, when I used to study the cyrillic alphabet and basic German and Russian vocabulary (even though it obviously did not work that easily). Spanish and Catalan are my native languages. My family taught me Spanish and I learnt Catalan at kindergarten and school, which were monolingually Catalan. I have been studying English for my whole life, and still do. I mainly learnt it using Internet and studying in language academies. French was the secondary foreign language taught at my school and I went to an academy to study German. Despite this, I also learnt a great part of these languages by myself. I did not need to study from a textbook in order to learn Italian, Portuguese and Galician. It was enough with listening to music, watching series, talking to native speakers, reading books that were meant for natives… Much more of an immersive experience than I had with German, for instance. Learning Basque was a totally new and absolutely refreshing experience. I borrowed some self-learning books from the library in order to learn it and it worked perfectly for me. It was the first time that I learnt such a different language from the ones I already spoke and I was amazed to discover that I was able to achieve such knowledge of such a challenging language.
Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?
Believe me or not, I wish I studied English more deeply than I currently do. The same applies to French. Sometimes the constant will to learn new languages leaves no time to practise those that you already know.
What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
Although the list is huge, right now I am especially interested in Indonesian, Swedish and Latin.
So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
Deep Menorcan Catalan is clearly the sexiest language out there.
What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
The look in the eyes of a minority language speaker when you speak their own language. It just makes you feel like all that you did to learn it was absolutely worth it.
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 believe that this would be the natural tendency in a world in which globalisation is increasingly winning power. Despite this, I believe that if we all work together to preserve them we’ll be able to keep them all going for long. Each country’s government obviously plays a key role in this matter.
What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Never procrastinate, there are tons of people out there that would love to learn languages and they do not. This is often not because they are not capable of it, but because they have not even started yet. Sometimes they do start but give up soon because of a lack of motivation. My advice is: write down what moves you to learn that language and always keep it in mind. Set up progressive goals and approach them step by step. The more languages you know, the easier it gets to learn another one!.