Dr. Carlos do Amaral Freire is an extraordinary human being. Aside from learning one hundred and fifteen languages, Dr. Freire has made significant contributions to the field of linguistics (discovering a phonological relationship between Georgian and Aymara being just one of them). His poetry anthology, which includes poems from sixty different languages translated into his native Portuguese, has got people over at the Guinness World Book of Records talking about including him in an upcoming addition. He would be listed for being the one person who has translated poems from more languages into his native language than any other person. This morning he gave me the opportunity to conduct and record a telephone interview with him from his home in Southern Brazil.
What do you say to a man who knows more languages than you can think of? I suppose the overly simple answer is, Anything you want. I am not a professional and had some unfortunate technical difficulties, nonetheless, I truly believe that anyone who is interested in learning foreign languages can benefit from listening to this interview.
I’ve included a list of his languages here for all of you curious people.
Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Assyrian, Aymara, Azeri, Basque, Bengali, Belorussian, Burmese, Bislama, Breton, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), Corsican, Czech, Haitian Creole, Danish, Dutch, English, Egyptian, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Filipino, Finish, Franco-Provençal, French, Frisian, Friulian, Gallic (Irish), Gaellic (Scottish), Galician, Georgian, German (Hochdeutsch), German (Schweizerdeutsch), Greek (Classic), Greek (Modern), Guarani, Guinea Bissau Creole, Hausa, Hebrew, Hindi, Hittite, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kaingang, Kazakh, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean, Kurdish, Ladino (Dalmatian), Ladino (Jewish Spanish), Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxemburgish, Macedonian, Mayan, Malaysian, Malagasy, Maltese, Mapuche (Mapudungun), Mongolian, Nahuatl, Nepali, Occitan, Papiamento, Papua New Guinean English Creole, Pashto, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Quechua, Romansh, Romani (Gypsy), Romanian, Russian, Ruthenian, Samoan, Sanskrit, Sardinian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Somali, Sorbian (Upper), Sorbian (Lower), Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Tartar, Thai, Tibetan, Tupi, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Welsh, Wolof, Volapük, Xavante, Yidish, Yoruba, Zulu.
If you are like me these fifteen minutes with Dr. Freire will not be enough. For more information about some of these subjects I suggest you read another excellent interview conducted with him in 2003. Your can read this interview in English here and here. Portuguese speakers can read the original. He was interviewed on television in Brazil some years ago, a video of which can be seen below.
Filed under: Polyglots