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Ayesha Sayed

Student, UAEU

TEDCRED 500+

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As a trilingual or bilingual, what role does language play in the creation of your identity? Which language do you think in?

I've grown up speaking 3 very diverse languages, I feel that they've created three distinct worlds in me. I find myself moving in and out of not only languages but cultures as well.
What role do languages play in your life? Do you find yourself thinking in more than one language?

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  • Jan 21 2012: I grew up bilingual Slovak / English, living in Slovakia and watching loads of British / American channels and speaking English with my mum when I was younger. I later had English problems because of having learnt some English in Australia, then from a Canadian teacher, and then living in Brussels in a multinational school (which resulted in an ever-changing accent). I personally can't associate myself with any particular culture, partly due to language and partly due to having lived in different environments. I usually think in English, unless I speak Slovak, but nevertheless I find that often I don't fully understand the thoughts of native speakers, and in general I feel less confident in making spontaneous jokes, uttering large sophisticated sentences, etc. I see what you mean by moving in and out of cultures as you change languages, since that language is associated with a particular experiences or areas of interest. A trilinguar friend of mine completely changes his speech and attitude depending on whether he's speaking Italian, English or French, which I find very interesting.

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