A Mother Tongue

What is the etymology of your being?

Axel Kacoutié offers a vivid personal essay reflecting on language, bilingualism and the curated gaps they have to navigate in order to access their culture and sense of self.

“Your language is a spell, an invocation speaking you into existence, rediscovering the contours of your morality, the fabric of your race and gender and how you relate to others and the world…”

Featuring the voices of the poet Raymond Antrobus and performance artist Rachel Cheung, Axel weaves together the thoughts of a number of multilingual people – including Derick Armah, Irina Niculescu, Mauricio Loseto, Olivia Melkonian, Radhika Viswanathan and Rosel Jackson Stern – into a reflection on living between languages and finding yourself in the gaps.

Illustration: Erin Tse
Animation: Luke Dye-Montefiore

Produced by Axel Kacoutié
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Credits: Sound Design Words

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