Join now

What Languages Color Your Thoughts?


You are a multilingual person. What are the hues of your language rainbow? How do they interact? In what manner do they affect your thoughts and feelings? To what extent did they alter the course of your life?
Similarly to you, my inner dialogue is a multilingual din orchestrated by the unpredictable tide of expatriate life. My chatterbox makes no difference between an important language and a dialect that lies half buried in the sands of time. I have no control over the language choice. It varies according to the subject but also within the subject. My garden talks to me in English, sunset talks to me in French and the stars in Arabic. When I see tropical fruits I hear some Thai at the back of my mind. Guava, pineapple or jackfruit will always be Farang, Sapparote and Kanoon to me. When I hear Korean, the steel rhetoric of North Korean media comes back to memory. Four years in Pyongyang is a long time. I lived in several countries and heard all sorts of languages and dialects. When the orchestra of foreign tongues quiets down, I hear my mother tongue and have the (wrong) feeling that I am still the very same person. Overseas life pushed me to reexamine my culture but my mother tongue remains intact even though I haven't spoken it for 20 years.
Having been exposed to diverse languages and cultures gave me, amongst other things, an eclectic musical taste. It runs from Afghan to Zulu. To relax I need my Khmer chair and Malagasy music. My own culture is rather shy. Like a secret lover, she comes late at night. That is the time when I like to listen to some Andalusian music. I live in a TV free environment.
Our heads are like countries. In mine, French language holds the most prosperous colony. Arabic was in first, but this venerable sheik built few abodes on the hills of poetry then went away. However, he left me a magical key to open the chests of Semitic languages. The crafty French took over the fertile valleys and thrived beyond all expectations. Officially invited to settle in, German had few problems at customs with his package of Grammatik. English arrived into my world a quarter of a century late. He was a very shy guest at the beginning, and wouldn't utter a word. Times changed, and today he is shamelessly trying to expel everyone else. There is quite a riot upstairs.

World Forum