Exploring a World of Languages at Speakers Corner

30 September 2019

It was only the other day that I overheard Dani in our Finance department doing a briefing call with a client in German, Natalia who sits next to me broke out in Polish when talking to her mum, and on our way to lunch Moe said he could speak four languages. This got me thinking, I wonder how many languages we can speak here at Speakers Corner?

A day doesn’t go past that we don’t find ourselves listening in awe of people conversing in different languages. Living in England, we are surrounded (quite literally) with an incredible amount of languages right on our doorstep.

Let’s find out!

Natalia

I was born in Chicago, but my mother is from Poland and my father is from Mexico. That means that I speak English, Polish and Spanish.

Growing up I often found myself speaking some strange mix of Natalia-ese when I’d forgotten one word or the other. But these days I'm pretty fluent and enjoy finding ways to stay in linguistic shape by starting up conversations with strangers or going to language events.

It's a fun way to connect with people and tame your ego. There's nothing like putting yourself out there, learning a language and knowing that there's always room to grow.

Moje ulubione danie to mojej mamy zupa pieczarkowa

Mi comida favorita es el pozole de mi padre. Lo extraño tanto!

Dani

I’m fluent in Spanish, German and English, and can speak a little bit of Portuguese. I speak Spanish at home in Equador and went to a German International School so I learnt German there! I travelled to Canada to improve my English, and then to Brazil to learn Portuguese.

Mi comida preferida es la pizza

Mein Lieblingsessen ist pizza

Moe

My parents are from Somali, so that’s what I grew up speaking! I also lived in Dubai for a year and picked up Arabic, and my dad lived in Kenya, so I’ve been there a couple of times and picked up the language. I get by with Swahili, as in I can ask for something (does that count?). And obviously I can speak English too, although at times it can be debated.

طعامي المفضل هو الأرز والدجاج

Ela

Polish was my first language as my mom spoke to us (my brother and I) in Polish only. When we got a bit older it was difficult for my dad (who is English) to understand and communicate with us. He has the following Polish phrases: 'dinner is ready' 'be quite' and ' go see your mom'.

My dad was in the military so he travelled quite a bit, so language wasn't a massive issue until we were older. Once my brother started going to school, I started picking it up as well

After my first trip to Poland when I was 11, I wanted to learn it. I then started to pick it up more and after 3 consecutive summers after high school my Polish improved significantly.  I have a decent conversational Polish that is improved with alcohol.

Moje ulubiony jedzenie to nakleszniki

Payal

Gujarati is my mother tongue and what I grew up speaking! It’s an Indian dialect and I learnt it from my parents and grandparents.

Maru Pasende nu Khawanu Chole Bhature che

Out of our team of 20 here at Speakers Corner, I think it’s pretty impressive that we have a combination of 10 languages! And if you’re lucky enough to pick up the phone and speak to me, you might hear some Aussie twang. Does that count as our 11th language? Perhaps not, but it can still catch people by surprise if they’re not expecting it.

We are ready to help in anyway that we can, including conversing in our mother tongue, or second, even third and fourth languages! English, Spanish, Polish, German, Somali, Arabic, Kenyan, Swahili and Gujarati – we think this is a pretty good start…

For further information or to book one of our speakers, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070  or email  info@speakerscorner.co.uk .

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