We are always communicating – with our families, our friends, our colleagues at work, you name it. Even when we are alone, we are still communicating something to everyone, either through social media or by using absence as a message. Language is always there, whether verbal or nonverbal. Whether you shout or remain in silence.
Then again, there are a ton of languages. According to Ethnologue, there are 7099 known languages around the world, so getting a message out there might not be as easy as one can think, since there’s always more that comes into play.
Have you ever had a friend that isn’t from the same country as you? And even though you both spoke the same language, you had trouble understanding each other? Personally, I’ve met people from Colombia and, at first, it was complicated communicating fluently since many words have different meanings, even if they’re all Spanish. It was a cultural shock. And culture, that’s exactly why they’re different – language carries all that historic, cultural background and tries its best to mold it into words.
The intimate link between context and language
Because of that, it is crucial to spend some time learning different tongues – for you get to understand and experience the culture in which they developed. Many words came into existence because of a historical feat in a country, a very specific tradition, or everyday life. The subjectivity of the human being is different from place to place, so when you study a new language you get more than words, you win a multicultural view of the world since you become aware of the context of the place where the language was born.
Nowadays, there’s no need to go to school to learn a different languages. You can just google learn -insert the name of the language you are interested in here- and you will definitely find blogs, videos, apps like Tandem, and even some audio playlists that will help you study, while also developing a more autodidact approach to learning.
These approaches might not reproduce the same experience as having a live mentor to guide you through (believe me, I’ve had an almost traumatic journey trying to learn Arabic by myself), but they can help you get started on it.
The issue though is that not everyone has access to information nor education, so getting immersed in another language and the culture behind it becomes almost impossible for some. However, those who do are responsible to share that knowledge with as many people as possible. We’re sure that if you click here, you’ll be able to find many projects to do so.
It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and share all those languages you know, as well as absorb all that culture of the country you visit through their words.0