The most multilingual student in the country speaks no less than 19 languages


The 20-year-old linguistics student in Montreal already speaks 19 different languages, most of which he has learned through a combination of internet videos, songs and conversations.

“I am a very auditory person, so I try to expose myself as much as possible to the language, by listening to music, videos, movies if I find them, and by listening to conversations and sharing with them. friends, “he says.

Mr. Awaad also speaks Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Russian, Hebrew, Romanian, Swedish, Georgian, Armenian, Cantonese, Korean, Russian, Dutch and even Esperanto. His mother tongue is French.

Early on, he started to like the sound of different languages. His true interest was born around the age of 10 when he asked his Arabic-speaking grandparents for help to improve his knowledge.

“I told my parents that I really enjoyed learning with my grandparents. They told me that there are online sites where you can learn more languages. ”

His parents directed him to Google Translate. He quickly became hooked, says the student.

According to the Babbel online learning platform, George Awaad is perhaps the most multilingual student in Canada.

In conjunction with Student Life Network, Babbel launched a search earlier this year to find the most language-intensive students in the country. Mr. Awaad was the choice of the jury, the impressive by the two series of video presenting his linguistic prowess.

“We are extremely impressed with Georges’ language skills, especially for such a young man,” enthuses Ted Mentele, an editor of Babbel’s Didactics team.

Still, Mr. Awaad does not think he has such exceptional skills to learn languages. His secret? He finds it amusing.

“It’s more of a passion for me,” he says. It’s easier for me to make the effort to learn because I really like it. It does not give me the impression of working. ”

The student has trouble identifying exactly what he likes most about languages. At first, he loved the different sounds and inflections, but as he grew older, he understood how they allowed him to form new relationships and explore new cultures in a more complete way.

As an example, he recounts that he was able to serve as an interpreter for his family during a trip to Japan. He has also made many new friends in his quest for interlocutors.

“It started to show me how learning a new language can open your mind and heart to so many people around the world and to new cultures. We can understand the world so much better and at a much deeper level. ”

Awaad says his favorite languages ​​are undoubtedly Mandarin and Georgian, partly because their structures are very different from English and French.

He wants to obtain a degree in Linguistics from McGill University before undertaking a Master’s and PhD.

He also hopes to learn other languages.

Currently, he is working on a project to document a Maya language spoken in northern Guatemala and southern Mexico. He says he’s already beginning to understand words and sentences.

“It’s the next language on my list.”

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