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Ayesha Sayed

Student, UAEU

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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 30 2012: I'm fluent in Ducth and english, reasonable at German (I was born there), know a bit of French and Spanish from having lived their, portugese from working there, a bit of italian from having done some business there and a little greek from the classics. Although language can really serve as a sort of identity, if you get into it, I prefer to be more flexible.
    Sometimes language as a whole is much easier if you look at all of them at once. I can read most of what I see around me on when I travel in Europe because most words will have a similar word in one of the languages that I know. I also find that I've learned to mix them up when I think,.. or even when I talk, depending on the language skill of the people I'm talking to. Some words or expressions just work better in certain langauges, so, at least in my head, I mix them constantly, even langauges that I don't really speak very wel.
    When I take notes its worse. Anything that holds an idea will do, from cartoons to hierglyphs that I picked up studing history or some foreign word for a very complicated idea that just doesn't exist in any other language. Sometimes math, which is really just a language, as well.

    It seems to me that if young children where taught 'language' at school, rather than one or two particular languages, they'd have a much easier time picking up functional knowledge of the ones they need when they need them later in life.

    Basically, I play with words and language in my head all the time.

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