Updated: Oct 17
Languages help tell stories of survival and evolution. Preserving local languages is key to maintaining local identities.
A few years ago, many years ago really, I started traveling internationally very extensively because of my ob at a global management consultancy. To remember the places I had visited, I started a few collections with items that I would buy in each country. One collection involved small decorative owls, the only animal that you can find in every continent except Antarctica, Another now I started but was quickly thwarted by travel restrictions post 9-11 was local liquor. I am not a big drinker but I thought it would be fun to have the typical drink of every country I visited. The third collection I thought about was a T-shirt in the local language. I was never able to complete this third collection. It was almost impossible to find t-shirts or anything in the local language. Everything was in English. I found that puzzling but I somehow understood why people would do that. English being a global language, having a t-shirt with an English inscription, instead of one in Hungarian, expanded the market exponentially.
PolygloTees tried to solve the issue
So when I started PolygloTees, I was adamant on creating apparel in different languages. The original idea was to research sayings in each country and use them to populate the t-shirts.
This ideas was not bad, but it was not great. It was missing something. Going back to the drawing board, I started to think about the things that I was passionate about and the reasons why I would wear a T-shirt with a message in a different language. I knew I was passionate about language learning (I have studied 13 different languages, being fluent in 5, and conversant in a couple others), I knew I also wanted to make sure that people were creating opportunities for chance to enter their highly "regulated" lives, and that I always enjoyed facilitating people getting to know each other. And that is how the idea of posing the question "Do you speak X?" was born. Through this simple question you can create chance encounters with people that you can learn from, or from whom you can learn, creating community and connections while doing it.
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Wearing your language will help you retain your identity and find others that share the identity with you.
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