Lingual Gymnastics

There is a certain  kind of flexibility required

For those of us who navigate the world in more than one language,

Particularly if your mother tongue

Is not as widely celebrated as your acquired language(s).

There’s a process of having to make sense of the world

Through a lens that not everyone may fully appreciate,

Putting pressure on you to adapt to the rules of another culture

And yet remaining somehow planted in your own.

So much could go wrong;

The often mentally agonising process of

Rummaging through the limited vocabulary at your disposal

To describe thoughts that seem to easily exist in your head

But struggle to find a home in the world,

Where pronunciation and grammar laws

Seem to bear down on every word that comes from your mouth.

Or the awkward pause when you are trying to determine

The best language to use for your audience,

When you are unsure if they too are multilingual.

Lets not forget the dilemma of ‘direct translation’

When something has perfect depth in one language

Yet somehow loses its richness when translated to another,

Adding to the list of possible complications

That can arise when having even the simplest of conversations.

Yet somehow we manage.

Some better than others.


Its a miracle that our brains can navigate these mental gymnasiums at all.

Millions do it every day

Learning and living in multiple languages simultaneously.

And making it work.


Its a terribly underrated endeavour;

Shout out to those who do.

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