“You can always leave”: Polyglots and exploitation

A very interesting post about the experiences and ethical duties of a polyglot in the world.

Loving Language

What does it look like after you leave? How do they feel? What does it look like after you leave? How do they feel?

“You can never understand me!” she said.

“I understand you!” I claimed.

“You will never understand us. The difference between you and us is you can always leave. Look at your passport! Us, we have no choice. We have to stay in this place.”

“But I don’t want to leave here.”

“You will, though. Why would you stay?”

She was right.

The polyglot cycle

Are there negative consequences of being a language-lover? Many polyglots romanticize the globetrotting, language-learning lifestyle, but are these people amusing themselves at others’ expense? Are they inadvertently causing pain and turmoil to innocent others?

The above conversation took place between me and a friend in Ukraine, where I spent my third year of university. I achieved a high level of fluency, thanks to lots of friends and many hours at parties, going on…

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