Interview: Ermira B Gashi (Kosovo)

Let's meet Ermira B Gashi from Kosovo

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1. Could you tell us about yourself, including the languages you know?

My name is Ermira B Gashi. I am doing my Master in Mechanical Engineering – Road Transport department at the University of Prishtina ”Hasan Prishtina” here in Kosovo.  I do speak a few languages as well. Besides my mother tongue Albanian language, I also speak English, Spanish, Turkish, Brazilian Portuguese, a little German and Italian.

2. Why do you think languages are important to you?

Speaking another language allows you to connect with people and exchange experiences, cultures, languages, information that you want to know and you get closer with people speaking their language.

3. Which language are you learning and how do you learn?

At the moment, I am focusing on improving my Turkish and German. I listen to a lot of songs in Turkish, and also watch their movies, I also watch a lot of videos with conversations in the German language, read articles in German and I try to translate them in English or Albanian. At the moment, I don't have anyone to practice those languages with, but I am trying to learn by myself.  I am used to learning things by myself because I am an autodidact person.

4. Could you tell us which language is the most challenging to learn and why?

I never learned French, that's because I find it difficult to learn that language, I never tried actually, I didn't have the chance, hopefully, I will start one day and find out it will be difficult or not. I also never tried to learn Chinese or Japanese, and I would find it so interesting to start learning those languages, hopefully, one day.

5. Which language is the least challenging to learn and why?

Most of the Albanians living in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece or Serbia know at least one language, despite the old people who speak more Slavic languages, the young people learn English, German, Italian or French. People in Kosovo find it easier to learn English or German language because they have with whom to practice, because many people from Kosovo live abroad, or they learn a language to get prepared to go and study abroad. I also find English easier to learn, because it is everywhere, in the movies, music, interviews, articles, newspapers, TV shows and it is easily learned with a little effort.

6. What is the next language for you to learn and why?

I would love to learn French, Arabic, Japanese and Chinese languages. I love learning languages, keeping notes, looking for the origin of the words and their meaning in a sentence or in a language. French because I simply like the sounds of the language and I can learn it by relating this language with the other languages I already know. Arabic because I know some words, but I do not spell them so well, and I want to learn more Japanese and Chinese because I find them challenging and complex languages to learn.

7. What is your advice to other language learners?

Make sure you are learning something every day, practice as often as you can. Try to find interesting and attractive ways of learning a language, focus in a language and start watching movies on that language, listen to their music, find people to hang out and talk in that language, read their newspapers, watch their news, watch documentaries to find out more about the countries that use that language, find the native people to help you and give tips to learn their language more easily, let them correct you when you speak, even that you don`t know so well to spell some words, try, don`t give up until you say it right. Take notes as much as you can and re-read them, write quotes in that language and start learning them.

8. How would you use your language skills to make this world a better place?

Volunteering in another country or in my country. Speaking a language is quite an important and helpful skill to help the people in need, by mentoring the adults or kids for whom that certain language is not their native language or that they are not familiar with that language. Getting support from someone who speaks their language adds a level of comfort and familiarity that they will surely appreciate.

9. Imagine you have a linguistic superpower, what would it be?

Multilingualism. Being able to speak, understand, and write any language of the universe. You can even compete with Google Translate and you can understand anyone in any language. That's a great superpower.

10. What could you suggest to encourage more people to learn languages?

Travel. Travel as much as you can, and as much as you can try to learn some words from that country, take notes and pictures with the right words on it, talk and hang out with the people living there and take tips to learn their language easily and fast.

Learn their culture, learn their language or the easiest words, then try to learn more difficult words until you can spell them correctly, also try to use other languages you know and try to relate them, you will understand the meaning of those words easier. Language is a bridge that connects people.

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things but learning another way to think about things.” – Flora Lewis                                                                                                                   
“You live a new life for every language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once.” – Czech proverb                                                                                                                                                                                       
“You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.” – Geoffrey Willans                                                 
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.  If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

If you have any questions or opinions, leave your comments below. Share your story with us!

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