On my last post we met John, he’s the Dutch gentleman who speaks five languages. Today I would like to introduce you to Shivdev Dogra. He’s a traveler from India. He has traveled to more than 75 countries, speaks eight languages, and he’s learning another two. I’m sure he’ll motivate you to learn a new language or improve the languages you already speak.
Mizuki Tao: So you’re from India, what dialects do you speak there and which one is your favorite?
Shivdev Dogra: In Northern India almost everyone speaks Hindi, besides that, I speak Urdu, Punjabi, and Dogri. They are my parent’s native languages. Apart from specialized vocabulary, Urdu is mutually intelligible with standard Hindi. Punjabi was developed from Sanskrit through the Prakrit language and Dogri, before gaining language status was classified as one of the many varieties of Punjabi. As you know we speak a lot of languages in India, we have 22 official languages. I don’t have a favorite one, I speak all of them at home, but I use Hindi the most. I learned Sanskrit in school but it’s a dead language and I don’t speak it.
Mizuki Tao: When did you start learning foreign languages and how did you learn them?
Shivdev Dogra: So, I learned English in school like everyone. Not a long and interesting story here. French, when I went to France to study in college. I learned these two languages when I was pretty young. After I started traveling I learned Spanish and Portuguese. I needed them for work, I had an obligation and I was just interested in them.
Mizuki Tao: How do you learn a new language?
Shivdev Dogra: When I start learning a new language – I listen a lot, this is the most important thing in the learning process. It helps you get used to the language. If you analyze the way children learn their native language you’ll realize they just listen. They can’t use any other tools. When I am at a more advanced level, I practice the language and connect with a native speaker. If you want to learn that language – use it.
Mizuki Tao: I totally agree I learned Russian by listening. If you do just listening it will take you a lot of time, for better results actually dedicate some time to learn the target language.
So, how has traveling helped you learn new languages? You’ve traveled to 76 countries so far; this is very impressive.
Shivdev Dogra: I love traveling, you get to know so many new and amazing people who can teach you a lot- life experience, culture, and languages. When I was in Panama I started learning Spanish, I needed it for work and to communicate with the locals. It was fascinating and exciting to learn it; I knew I would use it, that motivated me a lot. I had the similar situation with Portuguese. Traveling brings you to new amazing destinations and opens new doors.
Mizuki Tao: Where do you find the motivation to learn a new language?
Shivdev Dogra: In my opinion, interest is much more important than motivation. If a language doesn’t interest you then you won’t learn it. Don’t learn a language that everyone learns, learn the one that gets you hooked. Maybe you adore the culture, or you just like how it sounds. That’s usually my motivation.
Mizuki Tao: What is your advice for those that are learning languages?
Shivdev Dogra: Never be shy. Even native speakers make mistakes; we are human beings, it’s inevitable, of course, you’ll make mistakes in the beginning. You just need to progress and constantly use the language. Make the learning process fun for you. Maybe you love history or maybe you like watching TV shows. Use those things for learning a new language.
That was very entertaining and motivational, thank you a lot for sharing your tips with us. I think your story will help motivate so many people to learn a new language. After you master Japanese and Italian, maybe we can meet here again and you’ll share more tips and inspiring stories. Be sure to check Shivdev’s Facebook and Instagram for great traveling pictures.