Friday, 8 August 2014

Blog Challenge Day 12: L is for Language

Recently, I’ve read an article, in a French magazine, about Israeli people leaving France and going back to Israel. It pointed me to a subject which I would not think about unless... I understood French.
Because I understand the language up to a level that I can read an article in a magazine I broadened my horizons, discovered something specific only to France and its people and read about something going beyond my daily reality. On top of what, I've learnt a little bit about French style of writing and what media are interested in at the other side of the Channel.
All of that in only one article. It made me think how much we benefit from learning languages other than our mother tongue. Ad it’s not just about hearing your teachers or parents saying while you were/are at school that if you learn foreign languages, you will get a better job or you’ll go to study abroad and as an effect get a better job. In reality, it’s about greater understanding despite any borders - physical and mental. Learning each other’s languages unites and brings people together. The effect of that is willingness to work together, to create and to work for the better. If someone doesn’t understand the language you speak, even if you manage to communicate using sign language, you’ll not go far together and you'll not build a lasting relationship, a project or discuss complex issues together. It’s to say that, even if we all have different mother tongues language shouldn’t be something what divides us but we should be searching unity in the process of learning. 

Few years back I would never think that I would be speaking English more than my mother tongue which is Polish, that I’ll communicate in another language with a person closest to me, and that some things will be making more sense to me in English than in Polish. Polish is a beautiful language and I encourage everyone to try and learn a little bit of it but I love reading my Bible in English, watching movies in original version and being able to say things like: “something made my day”, “I’m looking forward to it” and others. Knowing English helps me to get to know English culture and I am proud of myself that I can understand more and more of English colloquialisms and I'm puzzled when I cannot. But I still have enough courage to ask someone to explain it to me.

I realise even more how powerful is a language when I think about Amharic, which I know only a little bit, and which is the language of my husband. Only by knowing the structure of a sentence and the way some things are being called or expressed shows you the way Ethiopians think and see the world. It explains to me why my husband uses certain words in different situations or translates things into English in a different way than me. Because for over thirty years this was the only way he expressed himself. And then he met me. And then we both had to learn to express things in another language. That’s actually a side effect of learning language that you may meet the love of your life. So be careful.

Language is built on a nation’s experience and the experience is built on the language and they both reflects what people of that country went through to stand in a place they’re now. I am always surprised when I find out that a certain emotion or an idiom translates the same in different languages. It shows me how much we share in common despite all the differences that divide us. It warms up my heart and encourages me to get to know you people by learning your language.

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