Story by Adlan Margoev, Dual degree NPTS (MIIS/MGIMO), ’18
Since I remember myself, I’ve barely spent a day speaking just one language. My parents come from the Pankisi Gorge, Georgia, where around ten thousand people, called the Kists, have been living for a couple of centuries. Another ten thousand, my family included, live in Russia and some other parts of the world. They are bilingual; they never created characters for their language nor did they borrow characters from other languages – it is easier to learn and use the official language of the countries they live in for most purposes other than everyday conversation. So, the language remains a spoken one and is sometimes called a dialect of the Chechen language, which is the closest to the Kist language in terms of grammar and vocabulary. However, the Kist language could be called an independent language because it has several dialects as well. As some linguists say, the difference between dialect and language is an army and borders.
Story taken from interview with Amy, IEM/MPA, ’18; Written by K.Throgmorton
Amy’s language journey started when she was very young and has only grown as her passion for language has developed and matured. As a kindergartener, her Waldorf teachers told stories in both German and Japanese. Growing up in Hawaii, different languages surrounded young Amy as she learned to navigate the world of language and culture exchange and human connection in a place geographically isolated from the rest of the world. At Punahou High School, she found more language-learning opportunities and Amy began learning French. Learning the language brought with it insight into French culture, which she cultivated through books and different travel opportunities.
Story taken from interview with Madiha, IEP, ’18; Written by K.Throgmorton
Madiha grew up listening and speaking Urdu with her parents and oldest brother. Urdu is a connection for her family to where they come from, her family history and background is rooted in a culture and traditions from a different place. Language is her way of connecting with that culture and family history – it acts as a bridge. Listening and speaking “Urdu-lish” at home, a combination between Urdu and English, provided Madiha with a strong foundation to build from when she arrived at MIIS. That does not mean she hasn’t been met with many challenges in her pursuit of language learning.
Story written by Miranda Meyer, IEM/MPA, ’18
Spanish and I have a love/hate relationship. Some days I absolutely love listening to it, speaking it, and thinking about it. Other days, I struggle to come up with words, my pronunciation is terrible, and if I hear one more song in Spanish I want to scream.