There is nothing quite so humbling as learning a new language. I’m certain many of you, whoever you are, have gone through a similar experience, perhaps in a high school language class, or while visiting a foreign country. It’s quite something, isn’t it? Not being able to express oneself in the least, and fumbling for every word? It sucks! But, it also is a good reality check, and forces you to slow down and to be content with mistakes.
My thoughts have been thoroughly jumbled today, as in the morning I attended a study abroad meeting entirely in Spanish, and then went to my German tutoring session (an odd combo of languages, I know). As I tried to form sentences in either language, I found myself picking words and phrases from one language and pairing them with words from the other. It made for a very interesting afternoon inside my mind.
I am beginning to understand why my 1 and 3 year old cousins get so aggravated when we, the adults, don’t understand what it is they are asking for; in life, we want to be understood. We want to know that someone grasps what we are going through and what we desire, and can then respond appropriately. Verbal communication not only facilitates our basic social, political, and business interactions, but allows relationships to wither or flourish. In an era of instant contact, we oftentimes allow infrequent texts to replace quality time spent together. Why would you ask someone about their day when you have already heard about it on Facebook?
At the end of the day, whether in German, Spanish, MMS, or Facebook chat, we all need to communicate with those around us, and can only hope that we will be understood.