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Polyglot MARTIN KRUG: We reached the limits of our planet in terms of land and communication

Interview with Argentian/Spanish polyglot, mathematician, musician MARTIN KRUG (2016 10 24).

Mindaugas Peleckis
2016 m. Spalio 26 d., 05:46
Skaityta: 87 k.
Martin Krug.
Martin Krug.
Hello, Martin!
 
Hello Mindaugas!
 
Well, before trying to answer any question, I have to go through some disclaimers. First and foremost, apologies for my English: at some point it may seem to be decent, but be ready to find inexplicable mistakes. I would also like to say that I know very little about Lithuania and, in general, about East Europe and the – so to speak – Slav world. A basic form of respect is to know who you are talking to, but I can hardly say that I fulfill this requirement. One more disclaimer: I have no synthetical capabilities. Let's now attempt to give answer to the questions...
 
Usually i interview musicians, so let's start from the fact which i have heard just today. You are a musician. What do You play? Any records?
 
My relation with music has always been quite oblique, I can hardly say that I am a musician. My mother completed her piano studies when she was young and later on taught me the basics. My sister studied cello, many of my friends were musicians of some sort, mainly classical music. I never really studied anything, but somehow I became involved with the local rock scene in Mendoza (Argentina). I have played keyboards, guitar, bass... I have always liked to sing also and so I did it in various choirs, including the somewhat famous Mendoza's Boy's Choir. I made music for theater for a couple of years. At some point I get involved in media, mainly graphical; I also took part in a radio program for a season. Of course I took part in a number of rock groups, as guest and as part of the band, but I'm not sure at all if there has been left any register of it. As you may see already, I never took it too seriously... somehow I always felt like an outsider. It is really my sister the musician of the family. She has made a living out of it, having played with some somewhat known people, like Haggard.
 
Also, you are a polyglot. I know that lots of polyglots are very (maybe even too) humble and never say - how many languages they know etc. Why is it so? What about You? How, when and why did You start learning languages, which ones You "know" (it depends, how do You describe "knowing")? Which ones are You learning now?
 
Well, I would like to be a humble polyglot. But first I should qualify as a polyglot, somehow, and I don't feel anywhere near being one. I'm not sure about polyglots in general, but I would agree that people that take the thing seriously, understand quite concretely the difficulty of the task and their own limitations... so, in some sense, delving deep into something is in itself a school of humbleness.
My native tongue is Spanish, therefore, it's not that difficult to have some clue in some closely related languages, like Portuguese, Italian or French. Plus, I had some direct relation with them at one point or another in my life. I also had to study German when I was a kid... my grandma didn't even bother to speak us in Spanish! So, German was always there, and also English, which is the language of knowledge these days.
 
Some years ago, when my first child was born, I had to quite most of my activities to take care of her, and this fortuitous circumstance lead me to search for an activity that I could do in a completely fragmentary way. And somehow learning languages did the trick! Now I'm in love with Gaeilge, Mapudungun, Choktaw, Chinese, etc. By no means I can speak fluently none of them, but I'm in no hurry, as long as I enjoy so much learning them.
 
Polyglot community (internet one) is a strange place for me. Do You feel the same? I can see several totally different types of polyglots, but now i would be happy to know Your opinion.
 
I share with you some sort of perplexity about that matter. These new technologies are connecting us and powering a lot of projects, but also there is an incredibly high level of noise. But it's somehow natural, lots of people that were unaware of their possibilities are rediscovering themselves while getting in touch with new perspectives. My guess is it will be a long process, but I can't help feeling we should be happy of being part of it.
 
What do You think about constructed languages (Esperanto etc.), creole languages, pidgins? I ask because i am trying to learn Guarani (Jopara) now, and i am really saddened that possibly halfd of its words (even some numbers) are straight from Spanish. Knowing history, one can guess why is it so, the same goes with "Haitian Creole" (actually, French+native words).
 
My question is – are we going through the process of creolization of all languages, and soon we will speak not just Broken English, but just one "new world order" Broken Newspeak?
 
I think constructed languages like Esperanto or Volapük belong to a different frame of mind. At the point when they were build, there was some sort of 'universalism' in the air – remember all these 'expositions universelles'? Now we are immersed in a very different process: we want to go to the detail, we want to enjoy diversity, we even want to save dying languages, with all the difficulties and contradictions this may lead us to! I think today's constructed languages are a form of playing, not really a way to bring all mankind into one single communication framework. It's very difficult to know what will happen in the future, which of these two forces will prevail – unification or diversification, but life tends to develop in the middle terms, so I don't think we should be too worried about it.
 
We lack some answers, but we have to trust the new generations...
 
You are a mathematician, play chess, so possibly Your point of view from my humanitarian one is slightly different. How do You see the process of globalization? On the one hand, it's ok, just biographies: born there, lived there, worked there, died there (4 different countries, 4 native countries). But is it really so? You are from Argentina, but live in Spain. May i ask why? How do You feel in España knowing history of Columbus and his dear friends from "holy" inquisition?
 
I think that somehow what I answered in the prior question reflects a general process in our world. We are immersed in a very complex process: we reached the limits of our planet in terms of land and communication! We are not expanding anymore, we have to become wiser. Elites face the same problem and they are adapting, but their task is more difficult: they are somehow doomed in the long run in our catch up play with them. Their critical resource, as usual, is asymetry in information, but it will be more and more difficult for them to win that game. I don't rule out some hard Orwelian times in the future and in some sense we have been always under some sort of pressure in that sense. But may be Paulo Freire's vision of education becomes the standard and the slaves stop dreaming of being the masters. I think this should be enough to tear the whole system apart. Of course, this all may happen or not, but first we should make sure we survive as a species the next two hundred years or so...
 
In Argentina we live looking outside, somehow. Slowly we begin to understand that we have a life of our own. In this context, it's no wonder that, having a German passport, there was always in the horizon this idea of wonder around knowing other cultures...
Concerning the relation between Spain and America and the Spanish traditions in general... well, this is a very deep topic, difficult to say anything lightly. Generally speaking, I feel like the people of Latin America should fully engage in the very much needed process of understanding their mixed cultural reality and stop looking outside for guidance. History is a heavy cargo that make us live in the past many times. In Latin America we have mainly 'mestizo' (mixed) cultures, but for many 'cult' people this is almost a bad word, and this is an obstacle we still have to overcome.
 
Well, I hope this is not too dense, I did my best trying to answer to the point, but I always feel like everything has a proper meaning when the context is clear enough, and this leads me to never ending digressions... thanks anyway if you were patient enough to reach this point! Have a nice day, Mindaugas, see you around!
 
Gracias, ačiū, thank You, Martin.
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