For many people, their image of a multilingual person may be a glamorous, jet-setting diplomat, someone who feels comfortable in any number of settings and languages. Or a third culture kid whose childhood is spent on three different continents, for whom starting a new school in a new country is a familiar challenge and an opportunity to rack up another language.
If we turn to the Cambridge Dictionary of English, we find that a multilingual person is someone “able to use more than two languages for communication”. So anyone who is able to communicate in two other languages in addition to their first language is multilingual. Important: nowhere in the definition does it say that you need to be fluent in those languages.
That drastically changes the image of the multilingual person. Suddenly, it includes anyone who is in the process of learning more than one new language. I would argue that it doesn’t matter how far along you are in that process. Maybe you feel decidedly rusty in one of those languages. Maybe you can’t communicate more than to let someone know how you are and hopefully to ask them how they are. And understand their answer.
For me, the important point is that you have set off from point zero and are edging bit by bit along the road towards greater multilingual fluency. As the tagline says: “It’s a journey”.