Amir Ordabayev is an outstanding polyglot whom I got to know on the Internet, namely, on YouTube, where he started posting his videos 3 years ago. He’s a very nice person with a huge passion and drive for languages, as well as a very clear vision on how to deal with them. You can listen to his very interesting opinion on language learning in the video below:

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After getting in contact with him, I had the chance to know him better, and our exchange wasn’t only limited to speaking languages. We decided to do a brief interview and exchange some ideas on culture, languages and life in general. We will most probably make another one on how he goes about learning languages – his techniques in terms of language acquisition and in sound perception and reproduction, something which is very good at!

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MULTILINGUAL SCRIPT

L: Hallo everybody, this is Luca, as you know. I am here with my friend Amir, he is a polyglot, he has made some very interesting videos on Youtube speaking some of  his languages. So, without further ado, I would like to talk directly to him, he is here. Hi Amir, how are you doing?

A: Hi Luca I am doing well

L: How is the weather inKazakhstan?

A: Well..it has been cold lately, plus 2 plus 3, not too cold

L: Here in Paris it is cold, but not as cold as thought so it’s ok. So could you tell us a little bit about your cultural and linguistic background and share with us some further details on the countries you lived in, or the experience that you had and the like?

A: Yeah sure. I was born and raised in Almati, which is the formal capital of Kazakhstan. I used to speak Russian and Kazakh until I was 6. Thereafter I was enrolled in elementary school, everything was taught in Russian and of course as I was progressing, I was speaking more Russian at home as well. Yeah, the only foreign language I studied at school was English but the truth is, I started taking it seriously only when I turned 16. I did my bachelor degree in Canada, I left Kazakhstan when I was 18, I spent the last 4 years in Canada when I was studying Bachelor and Business Administration Program and I was studying other languages at the same time.

 

RUSSIAN

L: Ты из Казахстана. Как ты уже сказал ты говоришь и по-казахски и по-русски. К сожалению, я очень мало знаю о Казахстане. Я знаю, что Казахстан – огромная страна, конечно! И что там много природных ресурсов. Расскажи нам, пожалуйста, о твоей стране, о твоей семье если ты можешь. И расскажи нам о культуре твоей страны. Представь себе, что Казахстан очень интересует наших слушателей и что они бы хотели туда поехать в будущем.

A: Да, Лука, ты прав! Казахстан – достаточно таки большая страна. Девятая в мире по площади, если я не ошибаюсь. И когда я только-только приехал в Канаду я был удивлён то что столько народу даже не представляют где на карте находится Казахстан хотя Казахстан является независимым государством на протяжении 20 лет. Что касается культуры страны – то я бы сказал что такая присутствует тюрксткая идентичность ну и конечно же присутствует влияние Российской Империи то есть людям, которые планируют поехать в Казахстан и провести тут время я думаю было бы интересно!

 

ITALIAN

A: Quindi adesso ti faccio qualche domandina in italiano. Si può dire senza dubbio, almeno per quanto mi riguarda, che tu sia un “poliglotta”, cioè una persona che è in grado di parlare varie lingue secondo la definizione. Effettivamente può sembrare una domanda banale, ma ti vorrei chiedere la “classica” domanda, quante lingue parli e da dove viene soprattutto questa bellissima passione che hai.

A: Beh, diciamo che adesso sono in grado di esprimere i miei pensieri in 8 lingue. Russo e kazako sono 2 lingue che ho imparato da piccolo. Per quanto riguarda le lingue romanze io parlo italiano francese, spagnolo e un po’ portoghese. Inoltre parlo inglese e tedesco. Adesso sto imparando attivamente il cinese e il turco, quindi c’era la voglia di imparare una lingua esotica diciamo. Già non era il caso con il turco giacchè parlo kazako ma con il cinese mi fa piacere scoprire le cose nuove. Da dove viene questa passione? Ricordo molto bene che quando ero adolescente mio papà mi ha regalato un libro chiamato “Твои возможности как человек” che vuol dire le tue capacità come essere umano, si tratta delle persone che erano capaci di dire quale giorno della settimana sarà fra 20 anni e altre cose di questo genere, ma questo non mi affascinava molto. Mi affascinavano molto le persone che erano capaci di parlare qualche lingua e quindi c’era questa consapevolezza che un giorno potrei diventare un poliglotta anch’io, forse.. c’era qualcosa dentro di me

 

SPANISH

L: Pues te ha animado mucho. Sé que eres un apasionado del fútbol. Y yo siempre digo que si uno puede aprender observando y haciendo lo que más le gusta, puede lograr grandes resultados. Quizá sea gracias al tanto seguir las gestas del Milán y del Real Madrid que has llegado a ser tan bueno en todos los idiomas? O tu has hecho algo mas, a parte de ver noticias de fútbol?

A: Pues tienes toda la razon, no? Esto es verdad pues esta manera, pues, haciendo lo que mas le gusta a uno puede llegar muy lejos, uno se siente mas animado. Para mi eran la entrevista con los jugadores y con los entrenadores, porque siempre queria saber lo que ellos dicen después de los partidos, del futbol no? Me dí cuenta de que no solo hablan del futbol sino tambien de sus sentimientos, sus actitudes. Es cierto que viendo las entrevistas con ellos pues he aprendido muchas cosas. Por lo general pues son gente madura, y el hecho de que me gusta mucho el futbol me da la posibilidad de disfrutar de la lectura y de la escucha

 

GERMAN

L: Also ich muss sagen, es gibt einen grossen Unterschied zwischen den ersten Videos, die du vor 3 Jahren auf Youtube gemacht hast, und denen von Heute. Deine allgemeinen Sprachkenntnisse sind deutlich besser geworden. Aber auffällig ist, dass deine Intonation sich so stark verbessert hat, was ich sehr beeindruckend finde. Genügt es deiner Meinung nach nur aufmerksam zuzuhören, um eine gute Aussprache und Intonation zu erreichen, oder hat es auch etwas mit deiner Haltung dem Lernen/der Sprache gegenüber zu tun?

A: Also ja, danke schon es ist ein echtes Kompliment von dir. Na ja, nach meiner Meinung ist Intonation enorm wichtig, und ja, das muss man unbedingt erkennen. Ich glaube, am Anfang muss man sich nicht zu viele Sorgen machen. Richtig ist, ja, die positive Stimmung zu bleiben und richtig ist, geduldig zu sein. Aus meiner Sicht ist es besser Schritt für Schritt denken und zuerst vielleicht muss man gleichzeitig seine Aussprache verbessern, und, ja, was die spezielle Anhaltung der Sprache angeht, ich bin kein Spezialist. Das einzige, was ich sagen will..man muss überzeugt sein, dass man eines Tages eine Sprache wirklich fliessend sprechen wird.

 

FRENCH

L:  C’est tout à fait vrai. En en plus je voulais te demander alors ..quand’ on avait bavardé tu m’avais dit que maintenant que t’as terminé les etudes, le moment est venu de chercher un travail. Ca c’est evident. Tu comptes le trouver dans le domaine des langues ou autre? Vers quel champs profesionel comptes tu t’orienter? Ca c’est une question qu’on pourrait demander à tous les gens qui parlent plusieurs langues. Je suis sur que beaucoup de gens trouveront ça interessant

A: Voilà, pour moi cette question aussi ça reste une question ouverte, je viens de terminer les études, comme tu sais j’ai étudié administration au Canada et j’ai reussi à apprendre quelques langues. Maintenant je suis ouvert à des proposition. C’est très important pour moi de réussir sur le champs financier. Peut-etre ca serait important d’utiliser mes langues en travaillant mais sinon ça serait pas grave, j’espère que j’aurai une opportunité de continuer mes etudes…

 

PORTUGUESE

L: Muito bem. Se que ultimamente você começou a aprender chinês? Você acha isso difícil? Que você recomendaria para aqueles que queram estudar o chinês agora?

A: Então..eu acho que, è uma pergunta muito interesante. Eu tenho visto uma situacão que dice que cada punto de vista è incompleto. Tu falas italiano como lingua natal, eu falo ruso. Para noscos seria mas facil estudar alemão, mas para noscos o chinés è uma lingua que fica muito longe, mas para a pessoas que falam, por exemplo, japonés como lingua natal é mais facil estudar o chines. E’ verdad, cada punto de vista è incompleto. O que estou utilizando é ASSIMIL, è um livro…Le Chinois sans peine.

 

ENGLISH

L: Back to English now for the final questions. I am going to ask you..Ok, You are learning Chinese as well as Turkish but are you interested in other languages, what are your future projects? Because you are still very young so I can imagine that your thirst for languages..you are going to learn other languages, I am pretty sure. So I just wanted to ask you which languages, do you have something in mind already?

A: Well definitely. I think that people who enjoy languages are always curious, are always experiencing this “hunger” for new things. As for me, I would like to add some exotic languages, For me those would be Japanese and Korean, these are 2 languages I am really interested in

L: Ok. So Amir, thank you very much for this multilingual interview!

A: thank you Luca, thanks for having me, bye!

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