John Kinder (NZ by birth), Associate Professor in the Department of European Languages and Studies of the University of Western Australia, being interviewed on the Italian programme on SBS talks about multiculturalism and his own adventure into the Italian language and culture. Professor John Kinder is the only Australian member of Accademia della Crusca, the most important research institution on Italian language as well as the oldest linguistic academy in the world.
This situation is not only prestigious within Italian academia it is also rather unique in that the person is not a native born Italian, or from an Italian immigrant family.
The story of how his life in Italy evolved is like a theme found in a novel. A New Zealander smitten by the sound and music of the Italian language ends up in Milan studying the language. There he meets an Italian woman who has chosen an obscure area of literature (within Italy) to study – New Zealand literature! This was meant to be and still is to this day.
Translated quote from John Kinder
For those who begin studying a foreign language, the fundamental point is to throw yourself into the thing. I am not Italian, I will never be Italian. For a while I tried to become something that I was not. But you can not become something you are not. You are who you are. But at the same time, getting to know the Italian language, Italians, and Italy, I have discovered another way of being in this world, another way of relating with people, with things, with myself. It’s not my way of doing things but it’s another way that I can make my own. Therefore, those who study a foreign language, if they embrace the experience in its totality, the language, the culture, the ways of doing, can discover other sides of themselves, other possibilities of being and expressing themselves, new challenges in life. This has happened to me.