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  • Thank you, Jari, for giving us the chance to think a bit more deeply about languages and their influence on us and our ability to express ourselves.

    I grew up speaking three languages: Romanian, English, German. Later, I added a few other languages to the mix, but those three have remained my favourite and my best. People used to ask me: 'What language do you dream in?' but I could never remember. Just like I could never remember what language I had seen a film in. To me, these three were interchangeable.

    Or maybe not. Later, I came to realise that I had preferences for the right word at the right time. Swearing in German gave me much more satisfaction than in any other language. Singing or talking about love was sweetest in Romanian. Polemical writing - no, make that writing of any kind! - was the prerogative of English. As a teenager, I wrote in my diaries in English (and not just so that my mother would have more difficulty understanding them). I even managed to convince my examiners at university that it would be better for me to write my B.A. thesis in English (because I wasn't sure I would do a good job of writing it in Romanian).

    Since then, I have lived in countries where my language skills have ranged from zero to nearly all there. But even in the UK, I was never perfect. I was always just a little too... foreign.

    I feel truly privileged that I can read and appreciate poetry and literature in several languages. But I do wish I could express myself in more than one, like you do, Jari. Especially when 'the one' doesn't quite embrace me as its own.
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