Tanzania, Kenya, United States, Europe — on being quadrilingual — The North Star Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Eli Megahan
Being quadrilingual means that much of my education in language has come from being self-motivated and self-taught. A common misconception is that I’ve learned to speak English, Kiswahili, Setswana and Kalanga in attempts to appear more worldly or cultured. I don’t speak four languages out of a desire to be worldly, but out of necessity. At one stage in my life I was quite envious of those for whom one language is enough. Now, however, I embrace my need to speak four languages.
To this very day I can vaguely remember the orphanage. At seventeen months and sixteen pounds I did not like the look or feel of the world; I found it too visually unappealing for my liking, too upright, twisted and evil for me to…
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