Obies Using Languages: Nicholas Farfan ‘17

Nicholas Farfan is a Cinema Studies major with a minor in Africana Studies and Politics.


What other languages do you know and how did you learn each of them?

I know Spanish because I learned it in middle school and high school as well as just interacting with people. I also know conversational Italian from my mother and grandmother, but in terms of grammar and syntax and things like that I learned at Oberlin.


Which language do you feel like you can communicate best in or are more yourself? What language feels most like home or most comfortable to you?

I am definitely most fluent in English, but beyond English I’d say my comprehension is greatests in Spanish because I studied it for longer and in greater depth. English feels most like home, because that’s what I speak with my family.


What is your favorite word or phrase in another language besides English that is untranslatable to English? What does it mean?

Sprezzatura is a great word in Italian that means to be causally disheveled, with regards to fashion. The best way to describe it is to be purposefully careless–like nonchalant coolness.


When you speak in other languages, do you think in the language you’re speaking or translate the words from another language in your head before speaking?

For the most part I have to translate. The only time I actually began to think in another language was when I was abroad in Rome. After many days of just being around Italian speakers, I could begin to think in Italian. I think if I were in a Spanish speaking country for a long time as well I would be able to think in Spanish.



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