I speak two languages (Italian and English) fluently, and would like to become more fluent in French (it is more of a “passive” language to me… if you study interpreting, you know what I mean).
I wanted to learn Japanese when I was in high school.
I actually started learning foreign languages (English and French) when I started middle school, but I already knew how to count from 1 to 10 and some words and phrases in English (my Dad taught me). I have a short film of mine when I was 4, in which I translate cartoon character names, some words and phrases (like “How old are you?” and “What time is it?”) from Italian into English!🙂
I attended a high school mostly based on languages (“Liceo linguistico” in Italian), in which I have studied English, French (both for five years) and German (for three years) language and literature. There were also Italian and Latin language and literature, besides other subjects such as maths, physics, biology, physical education, religious education, history, philosophy, chemistry and earth science.
For some reason, sometimes, while talking to other people in Italian, a word might first come to my mind in English, rather than in Italian!!
I would like to learn Spanish. Two years ago I bought a DVD course that came out every week with a newspaper, “Il Sole 24 Ore”. I haven’t watched all the DVDs yet, only the beginner level ones (there are also intermediate and advanced level ones), but I don’t remember much… if only I had more time on my hands, I would start watching them again.
I studied Translation and Liaison Interpreting (“Mediazione linguistica” in Italian) at university. I chose that course over a Foreign Languages and Literatures one because I’ve always liked translating and studying languages with a more practice-oriented approach even if, before attending university, I wanted to become an English teacher.
When I started studying Interpreting during my sophomore year at university (there was only Translation in the first year), I immediately became a fan of the subject! During the first lecture I was wondering: “How do (simultaneous) interpreters manage to speak and listen at the same time?”. I studied mostly Liaison Interpreting, but there were some lectures on Conference Interpreting as well (even if I only did consecutive interpreting and no simultaneous, because it is usually taught in MA courses).
I tend to speak English with an American accent but, when it comes to writing, I try to use British spelling as much as possible (even if sometimes, for example, I happen to use the simple past instead of the present perfect, like in “I just had lunch” instead of “I’ve just had lunch”).
If I have a dictionary (I mean, any type of dictionary) on my hands, I usually close it only after a while! I like monolingual dictionaries the most, and printed versions more than online or CD-ROM ones.