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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 29 2012: Language and culture are interwined and play a large role of a person's identity. Take me for example:
    Born to Dutch and German parents, raised in Senegal West Africa, and now living in the United States.
    So when I speak Wolof, the tribal language I learnt while in Senegal, my mood automatically shifts to that of a typical African speaking Wolof. My hands start flying, my emotions start soaring and I feel happier. When I speak English, my mood becomes more subtle and not as emotional. I feel different. When I speak to my relatives in Holland or my Mother in Dutch, I start thinking more about my European ways of life. Languages create different moods and worlds that we as multi lingual people can travel in and out of. Many of us never even experience learning two languages. I consider myself very fortunate as to learning 5 languages and understanding the culture behind each one. I can travel to 5 different worlds all in one day~ How fortunate!

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