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

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Interview with

Victor Araujo

Name: Victor Lage de Araujo
Nationality or Ethnicity: Brazilian, mixed ethnicity, predominantly caucasian.
Where do you live?: Currently living at Salvador City, BA state, Brazil.
Languages: Portuguese, English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian.

 

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

I started French and English at Elementary School, both in a public school and on private courses. I Started German at Universitary level (Medicine), at Goethe Institute. I stopped around 1988. Back then, it was the old German Orthography. I learned Russian basics (Russian alphabet + basic self-presentation) at about 1988 using book+cassetes course “Russian Language for all” (I bought it in a cheap bookstore that sold subsidized articles from Russia) I learned Spanish at a later time (started about 2008 year) on the belief that it might be important to learn that Language on the context of the “promise” of MERCOSUL (which never truly happened). I restarted it some years ago, because I became aware thet CEFR was offering cerification. I made a personal effort to certificate all languages on an at least C1 level, and I am carrying efforts on the German Course. Also, I intended to make a MSc Evidence-Based Healthcare on a University at UK (UCL London) and needed at least C1 English certification

I had 2 semesters of basic Italian learning then stopped. At UCL, I became aware that they are offering an online course, from Basic 1-2 to Advanced 1-2. I am now on Intermediate 2 I intend to carry out certification on, at least, Italian, Dutch and ultimately Russian.

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

Russian is the language I wish I had better opportunity of practising, and some tutoring/partnership for better learning.

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

I would be glad to learn any further language, but in particular: further learning in Russian; Scandinavian languages such as Danish and (both) Norwegian tongues; and Baltic languages. Perhaps Chinese and/or Japanese when I get retired.

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

I have no doubt about that: it is Russian!

 

Since having read the book: “A Clockwork Orange” (Anthony Burgess) I marvel about Russian Language’s sounds. Also, other literature I read, in Portuguese, English or German, (such as Russian Science Fiction pieces, “The unbearable lightness of being”, by Milan Kundera (Czech author and movie), “Die Verwandlung” (Czech author Franz Kafka), “Solaris” and The Incredible Congress of Futurology” (Polish Stanislaw Lem), and watching the movies by Tarkovsky (“Solaris”, “stalker”) I am absolutely fascinated by the Baltic languages. Besides, people say the most beautiful Baltic women live there. German would be a honorable second place, though. Few poetic texts go beyond the beauty of some German texts. By its very precision, and the ways it can be handled by a thorough poet or linguist, any love message can be enhanced.

… «Я люблю тебя» and “Ich liebe Dich” (with a capital D)...

Are probably the best ways to express it, with just possibly the exception of Japanese Haikus (Written in the original ideograms).

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

Learning a new language is like visiting a foreign land: At your first day, you select a standing hallmark, and go to that place very early in the night, just to watch what is there: At first, everything is dark. Then, as you see the first sunrays, the landscape unveils itself to you, as the day wakes up, the birds chirrup, and you reach the time where the sun is at its apex. Only by learning a language can you truly visit its people’s countries, speak and hear their culture.

By exercising thought in new languages, you realise that some thoughts, feelings and poetry are simply impossible in other languages. By learning new languages, one enhances one’s thought processes and strains multiple regions of the brain. It has been proved that language learning is a potent stimulus for neuroplasticity; it enhances not only the neurons directly involved in its processes, but can possibly even be used as a mean to prevent dementia.

Need anyone any other reason?

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 not truly believe that. Language has two major impacts on cultures: it works both as a uniting force (of those who speak each language) and a separator (among mutually non-speaker peoples). This is a major point of human psychology. Also, Language, Music and Literature are important cultural manifestations, and they are strongly influenced by language.

 

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

Be bold. Never flinch or fear that learning any new language is too much of a time. Never think there is such thing as a man/woman with a “privileged brain” that can easily learn thousands of language. Never think the full learning of a language is an easy task, though. Learning a new language requires both planning and dedication. Provided you want that, and have an “average” brain (I exclude, PERHAPS, just those who have organic mental illnesses), you can learn as many languages as you dedicate yourself to.

 

From the “motto” of Star Trek: “To boldly go, where no man has ever been!”