A Tale of Languages

by Aleksander Klimczyk

Languages a key to global communication:

Often for third culture kids an important aspect of their lives is language. They are exposed to it from their parents or their surroundings during their upbringing, which flavours their sense of communication. However there can also be a clash of linguistic forms. Some thrive in learning multiple languages; other studies show that there can be a hinderance to learning one or two languages well. Often a hybrid of communication can form across multiple languages, especially if this is developed at home.

“With Languages, you are at home, anywhere” – Edmund De Waal

“If you don’t use it, you lose it”

With the spread of globalisation, or rather the ‘americanisation’ of the world, English has become the dominant language for many who are Third Culture. 

Not only the adoption of a new language (often English) is crucial to fit in. There can often be a drastic transformation of the TCK’s “mother tongue”, as priority is placed on filing in with their new surroundings.

Societies expectations:

Acquiring another language for connecting to the greater world is expected of such young and multi-biased people. Even if it’s to the detriment of that person’s native language; and over time, with infrequent use, might lose it.

“you are as many people as the languages you speak”

There is a saying which goes something along the lines of “you are as many people as the languages you speak” and this is the core of what it means to be a third culture kid. Finding different forms of being and the incredible joy of the unending ride which brings the various identities which are encoded in the diverse cultural backgrounds of third culture kids is one of the defining factors of being one of them.  

The Challenge of maintaining multiple languages:

Sustaining the native languages of Third Culture people is challenging, but important. It is upon them to find opportunities to maintain their language; and if possible their families should support this too.

The shift of the mother tongue to the peripheral languages spoken is not a loss, yet a triumph with victorious wreaths of the possibilities of the being. 

If a person can sustain their grasp over multiple languages, the benefits are immense.

Languages help communicate within the barriers created by the vast cultural differences in the internal collage of the created individual. Finding newer ways of doing this and staying more globally integrated allows for the created persona to achieve higher states of both understanding the character and personage, as well as to self-actualize the potentials within. The shift of the mother tongue to the peripheral languages spoken is not a loss, yet a triumph with victorious wreaths of the possibilities of the being. 

About the author:

Aleksander Klimczyk is a freelance writer of Armenian and Polish decent, and has lived all over the world in places like Moldova, Poland, and Georgia. Graduating school he now studies at University College London (UCL). Klimczyk is an outgoing and spirited individual, and one of his biggest passions is theatre. Currently resides in London.




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