Name: Yulianna Ramón Martínez
Nationality or Ethnicity: Dominican
Where do you live?: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Languages: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Italian and German.
What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
This story centers on a curious young girl with indulgent parents. From a young age, languages have fascinated me. The idea that it is possible to bring down boundaries through the sheer power of communication is empowering. Being born and raised on an island in the Caribbean was a wonderful way to be exposed and influenced by many different cultures and languages. I am a native Spanish speaker, alphabetized in English and exposed to this language through out my entire academic career. I began learning French through extracurricular classes at the age of eight (8). From there on I was hooked! I followed with studies of Italian, German and finally Portuguese.
Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practicing?
Languages are much like relationships: they blossom with constant care and nurture. In this sense, I would love to have the time and opportunity to deepen my knowledge in the ones I have been able to study thus far. My personal and professional context allows for more exposure in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. Consequently, I would greatly appreciate more time and contact with Italian and German speakers.
What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I believe the learning process is eternal, so I am eager to endeavor into new languages. In particular, I look forward to learning Creole. The Dominican Republic and Haiti share an island. Therefore, learning the language of my neighbor has always seemed like a logical next step. Additionally, I would love to learn Mandarin and Japanese some day.
So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
As tempting as it is to say that French is the sexiest language, I must admit that there is something about the rhythm and cadence of Portuguese, that in my opinion, gives the later the edge. Having said that, I am forced to recognize the undeniable verbosity of the Spanish language, which renders it very romantic.
What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
I would say that the greatest pleasure in speaking several languages has to be that sense of limitlessness that accompanies the capacity of communicating with so many different people across the globe.
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?
It is unquestionable that in a world of constant change, it is likely that the language families that we know today will significantly differ 100 years from now. However, I retain hope that we will know how to safe keep our diversity, as we simultaneously grow closer together. Furthermore, I hope that we will be wise enough to preserve the richness and complexity of the languages, as we know them today.
What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Learning a language will always be an asset. Go for it.