He speaks 11 foreign languages
He says ‘Ni Hau’ when wishing Chinese visitors a ‘hello/have a nice day’, tells ‘Ohaya Gosaimusu’ if the interaction happens to be with a Japanese and says ‘Bonjour’ when greeting a French a ‘nice day’.
That is N. C. Sahaya Arul (37), a foreign languages lecturer in NIFT-TEA College of Knitwear Fashion, whose proficiency has been expanded to 11 foreign languages by recently adding Portuguese into his repertoire.
He has written about 140 books for beginners who wished to learn different foreign languages.
Mr. Arul is getting busier these days as the textile exporters here are trying to expand their reach to newer markets in European and Asian continents wherever language barriers remain a big hurdle in the trade talks.
The language expertise of Mr. Arul is sought after as business interpreter by apparel makers during negotiations with those visiting foreign buyers/buying agents who are not well versed in English and also for translation while dealing with documentation works.
Besides this, he freelances as a tutor of foreign languages in schools.
His passion for learning foreign languages (apart from English) germinated during his undergraduate days as a commerce student in Loyola College in Chennai.
“My frequent interactions with the then principal Father Inasimuthu, who later became Vice-Chancellor of Bharathiar University, instilled interest in German as he was good in that language,” Mr. Arul said.
Mr. Arul then formally learnt German by enrolling in the course conducted by Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai.
After that he did M.A. in French from Bangalore University and completed courses in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese conducted by various cultural centres functioning under embassies of respective countries.
He says that among the foreign languages learnt, Chinese was the toughest.
“It is because Chinese being a ‘tonal’ language meaning that the same word with the scaling of tonal level will end up with a different definition,” he pointed out.
Civil Services Exam
In the midst of ‘chasing’ languages, Mr. Arul once was selected for the personality test in the Civil Services Examination after clearing the prelims and the main examinations only to miss the final selection narrowly.