Balanced multilingualism

During my webinars I often hear participants say things that reveal their unconscious biases about language learning. For example, a Polish mother once said to me “I know that my children’s mother tongue will be Dutch, but I’ll try my best to teach them Polish…” In fact, there was no reason why these children shouldn’t…

Multilingualism and musik

When we think of music, we automatically assume that it conveys universal emotions. However, this perception is wrong since our ear has a certain taste, just like we prefer different foods. Everyone has a preference for the music they heard in their childhood, in the same way, as, for example, an octopus salad evokes the…

Language erosion

Flavours are hard for the tongue to forget. Traditional dishes survive a long time even in a diaspora, or even in scattered families, for centuries or more. However, unfortunately, the spoken language does not have this quality and is much, much more fragile than family recipes that get passed down through generations. So much so…

Swearwords in several languages

In our family, swearing was more of a male preserve, and I was surprised that when I visited home as an adult, my aging mother used expressions that I had never heard her use as a child. Perhaps this was because she lived alone, or perhaps it was because her environment had changed, as it…

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Coetzee on Multilangualism

Psychologists often cite writers and poets to illustrate their own arguments, thoughts, or comments. I’ll take the opportunity to imitate them. And who could provide me with better material than a poet or writer who is multilingual himself? Often, as a reader we do not know if the author whose work we are reading is…