African Women Voices

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Speak Your Mother’s Tongue


What is a language gene, anyway?

A language gene is what a person thinks is a trait inherited or inborn in bilingual and polyglot speakers. Benny Lewis, a native-English speaker, debunks this myth and others in a Ted Talk highlighting some of the myths he once believed in. Lewis spoke only English at 21 and can now converse in several languages including Chinese, Portuguese and Arabic.

The title of this talk alone lured me in. It happened at the right time.

Since I’ve been unemployed, I found a lot of things to fill my extra time. One has been gaining grounds in speaking Tigrinya and learning the alphabets. This summer, I traveled to Eritrea, the birthplace of both of my parents in North East Africa. There, I was compelled to speak to relatives, like my grandparents’ in Tigrinya. If it weren’t for them and other non-English speakers, my Tigrinya wouldn’t…

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This entry was posted on 7 November 2014 by in Women.

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