Interviewed by Nina Auslander
Nina: How many languages do you speak, and in which order did you learn them?
Nadia: I started learning French when I was very little, so I guess that was my first language. I spoke French with my dad, and Italian with my mom. When I went to preschool, I learned English, and it’s now the language I’m most comfortable with. However, I’m fluent in all three languages.
Nina: Do you find it easier to travel than your classmates?
Nadia: Yeah. Because I know Italian, it was easier for me to pick up Spanish. When I went to Guatemala, I had only taken a semester of Spanish in seventh grade and a semester at Watershed before going on the trip, but I was able to understand what everyone was saying in Guatemala, even if I couldn’t always speak it.
Nina: Do you ever find it challenging in your head to keep the languages straight?
Nina: Do you find that each language brings with it its own culture?
Nadia: Well, there is a difference between Quebec French and France French. My grandparents are French, so my accent growing up in Quebec was a little different from everyone, more of the traditional french accent. In Quebec, the French has a lot more slang and is a little more messy.
Nina: Do you miss having more languages around you? Here, it’s rare to speak more than English, but in Quebec, almost everybody speaks at least two languages…
Nadia: I actually don’t miss it all. In Quebec, almost everything is in French, so it was hard for English speaking families to get around. There was sort of this feud between the French-speaking Quebec and the English-speaking Quebec... the French resented the English because it was them keeping things from being fully French. So it’s weird in a good way not to be surrounded by that anymore.
Nina: Do you dream in different languages?
Nadia: No, not really. I used to have thoughts in French when I was little, but now it’s just English.
Nina: Do you want to learn anymore languages?
Nadia: I want to learn a language that doesn’t have the latin roots. I want to learn a language that’s completely different, like German. I was in Munich this past summer and it was really cool.