Jamila Lyiscott’s Three Languages


globe-110775_1280Jamila Lyiscott, with a PhD from Teachers College, Columbia, went on Ted Talks in February 2014, to explain her three ways to speak English. In rap-like beat, Lyiscott explains her story. How she is “articulate” and because of this argues that being articulate is just the way she is.

“I have decided to treat all three of my languages as equals because I’m articulate.” Lyiscott said. “But who controls articulation?”

The Ted Talks, which featured Lyiscott, has been viewed over two million times. Her work, both poetry and scholarly, has been published in Teachers and Writers Collaborative Magazine and English Journal.

“You may think that it is ignorant to speak broken English, but I’m here to tell you that even articulate Americans sound foolish to the British.” Lyiscott said. “I speak three different tongues one for home, school, friends. I know, I had to borrow your language because mine was stolen.”

The Ted Talks not only expressed how she felt with the articulate and the inarticulate, but it was a way to shed light on how both her family and life dynamic happened and continues to happen. It’s only through acceptance and understanding that a person can appreciate what another has to say, be it in a broken tongue or not; this was what Lyiscott tried to say.


To see the video, check out the link below.


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