• Cate Hamilton

But first, Arabic.

So here's a thought: when has Britain ever been anything other than multilingual to the max? Our ancestors spoke Old Norse, and then Old German, and then French for six hundred years...and English has remnants of all of these languages and more in its current form.

And yet the media is full of how immigrants should speak only English to help them fit in. Next time you hear this, give them a quick history lesson: English already *is* multilingual.

Our eggs are Norwegian, our lights are German, our conversation is still at least 30% French (not to mention our wine!), our pyjamas are Persian, via Urdu, and our pizzas...well, can you guess how much of our nation's favourite food choices are Italian?! So when you are sitting eating pizza fiorentina with the lights down low, watching Danish thrillers on Netflix in your pyjamas, you're indebted to our incredible history and all of the languages and cultural practices that have travelled to our shores with centuries of trade and people and holidays abroad, where we just had to bring a bit of something home with us to show off to our friends.

Because what does being English mean other than being thoroughly hip and nicking loads of cool ideas off other cultures, and making them part of our own repertoire? Repertoire is a French word, btw, and came to English in the mid-19th century.

What's your favourite borrowed international word/activity? We would have to go with coffee. Shukran to Arabic (via Turkish and Dutch) for that life-saver!

Come and learn some Arabic this term at your local Babel Babies baby and toddler sessions, where we will explore a bit of Incy Wincy Spider and gently introduce you to the wonders of Arabic, and go for coffee afterwards too if you can! Click here to book your space.



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