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No One Talks About Learning A Language You’re Already Supposed To Know

My relationship with languages is sort of complicated. Let me be clear, I love languages. I love learning about them and their different cultures. I revel in the process of going from reciting textbook sentences to picking up idioms, having full-blown conversations and successfully watching TV shows in my target language without the subtitles. Ask me how many languages I speak and I’ll confidently say three, despite having varying levels of fluency in each language.

Thinking back, language has always been there. It was there in the Nollywood movies that were always on in the background, on the tube rides where my mum would forcefully talk to me in Yoruba so I could learn, in the Bengali words that I picked up as a toddler from my babysitter according to my mum, and years later making its way into discussions and jokes peppered with Yoruba phrases that don’t quite work when translated into English.