The International Association of Hyperpolyglots - HYPIA. (c) 2019

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Name: Shemar Findley

Nationality or Ethnicity: Jamaican

Where do you live?: Kingston, Jamaica

Languages: English (native), Jamaican Creole (native), Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, German,  Sign Language (PSE)

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

My love for languages started to manifest when I was about 12 years old after having watched the American TV series Switched at Birth. The use of ASL intrigued me profusely and as I decided that I wanted to be able to communicate with the deaf. At the I had just started doing Spanish in school and was by a teacher about my accent. Since my desire to learning just grew stronger and stronger.

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

I wish I was able to spend more time on Korean, German and Portuguese. It has long been my goal to have a strong command of all the languages I speak, however, due to lack of time and lack of interaction with other natives my German skills have become basically non-existent which has forced me to I have a strong love for Korean and wish to learn as soon as possible. Even though I speak Portuguese, I have seen that from lack of interaction my competence is fast decreasing and is resulting in me speaking (mixture and Spanish and Portuguese). I have realised that just watching T.V programmes in the languages is not enough to maintain fluency and would like to use the language more often.

 

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

After I become conversational (Upper intermediate) in Korean, I want to refocus my attention on German. After which I would like to learn Dutch, Farsi, , Swahili, Russian, Filipino (Tagalog) and Thai

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

My favourite language has always been Spanish because I have found that there are so many ways to express feelings than there are in English. This attribute coupled with its beautiful sound when spoken in a slow and low voice definitely makes it, for me, the sexists language that I have come across thus far.

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

The ability is to be able to talk to people in their native languages, the smile you see on their faces when they wow you speak (insert language). I love learning about their varying ways of life and how different it is from my own, opening my eyes to the diversity that exist in the world. Learning a language is so much more than learning translations for words but about learning a new way of life and a new persona.

 

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 do believe that the world language count will decrease, maybe not in years but eventually. This is because of the increasingly popular phenomenon of globalisation which leads to interactions among languages. This interaction results in and language mixing I believe, will eventually form new languages, example Spanish + English= Spanglish. Spanglish is very prevalent in places such as the United States.

 

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

You can do it!!! Be patient with yourself during the learning process. Be willing to make mistakes and to laugh at yourself. Be openminded and accept that you experience will be unique. Learn at your own pace, the journey will be fun if you want it to.

Interview with

Shemar Findley