Name: Moses Kipkirui
Nationality or Ethnicity: Kenyan
Where do you live? Nairobi and Dubai
Languages: English, Arabic, Swahili, Hindi, Kikuyu, Kamba, Ekegusii*, Urdu*
What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?
I am from Nairobi, Kenya and I live here and in Dubai. I was raised speaking Kikuyu and Swahili. In school I learned English, and through childhood friends I learned Kamba and Ekegusii. These are also Bantu languages. I learned Hindi and Urdu in my teens from Asian Kenyan friends, even to write some Hindi. I studied Arabic so ease my move to Dubai. So my exposure to languages was not deliberate at the beginning, but over time I have tailored my language studies towards specific goals.
Which language do you wish you could spend more time practicing?
I spend a lot of time studying Arabic, and would like to continue doing so.
What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?
I am interested in studying more Kenyan languages. Kenya has nearly 70 different languages, and the come from two families: the Bantu and the Nile [Nilotic] family. The languages I speak are from the Bantu family, so I would like to branch into the Nile [Nilotic] family, like Dholuo.
So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?
I think Urdu and Arabic are quite beautiful, but I think Kenyan languages are the most beautiful (but I am biased).
What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?
Connecting with people from everywhere is wonderful. I learned several languages through long-term friendships.
Some people say the world is really just going to have a few languages left in a 100 years, do you think this is really true?
I would hope not, but it seems very likely.
What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?
Please consider studying languages!