Languages Are So Fucking Cool

You want to learn a language? Go to the country where it is spoken. Immerse yourself in it. And if you can’t do that, then I recommend getting a girl-/boyfriend who speaks that language. You’ll learn more from them in two months of affectionate conversation than in two years at a language school. Okay, I am exaggerating somewhat, but you know what I mean.
Tell your loved one to speak to you exclusively in their own tongue. It may seem inconvenient at first, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly you learn the basics in this way. And you will find that it enriches your relationship as well, because you will actually start to really listen to them. You’ll be hanging on every word, every accompanying gesture, trying to figure out what in hell they mean. You will notice things about them, about their way of thinking, their way of seeing the world, that would otherwise have escaped your attention entirely. You will be forced take them in as a whole, instead of just as a person talking to you, saying something the second half of which you understand before it even leaves their mouths. You think.
Do you listen when people speak, or are you just sort of homing in on what you think they want to say? Think about it. I am sure you will find that your understanding of speech is like a sort of predator… you are looking for certain words, certain patterns of speech, and you pounce on them like a cat, thankful that you’ve found what you wanted. You’ll scarf up those words you thought you heard, you’ll bolt them like a wolf, without chewing a single bite. You don’t give a damn if you heard them correctly or not. You’ll even give an answer… most likely it will fit, hallway at least. But only halfway… but, no matter! Your opposite in conversation will bolt down your answer without really hearing! They will accept anything you say, as long as it isn’t completely incongruent with what they said… and so on.
portrait-358970_1920
This is the way people communicate. They aren’t really listening, and what they say isn’t hardly true, and even if it’s true, it probably doesn’t really pertain to the actual topic of conversation. Christ almighty. It’s a wonder anything is ever understood. Oh, but it is, at least subjectively… they believe they understood you, and you believe you understood them…
Well, better than nothing, right? Yeah, right.
Like I said, try a new language. Do a breakfast in Hindu, with the whole family. Try a Chinese breakfast. Each person can look up a few words, and then… waugh! When everyone is getting hungry and no one knows what the fuck anyone wants, gestures help, and: Ugh! Ugh! Grunts. That is something everyone understands.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Languages Are So Fucking Cool

  1. Very true, very true. I would say your point of view is well taken. On another topic, strangely related in a weird way, I can’t help but notice a few typos creeping in recently. Proofreading in the digital/internet age is a topic I’m sure you would have something to say, rather, I mean write about. Love to hear your take on this? I mean does anyone even care about this topic anymore? Wait, is this in the reader response blog etiquette manual? Do readers get to ask you questions or suggest topics??? I do think I’ve gotten a bit carried away today. I mean three question marks in a row is a bit much. Perhaps you’re rubbing off on me.

  2. Typos? Me? Proofreading can not be touted enough as far as I am concerned. I proofread my stuff again and again as I edit, and each time I discover mistakes I’ve missed… or new mistakes I’ve made during the last edit? Even while rereading blog-posts from months ago I will occasionally find and correct a typo. So mea culpa. On the other hand, I’ve already written about the topic in a way, in a blog about how spell-checkers cause illiteracy.
    I think there are plenty of people who care about it as you and I do. But since I’m not a professional proofreader and don’t have money to engage one just to read this blog, I’ll just have to live with the typo-ridden beast as it is, slowly correcting things I happen to find after posting. I also think this is allowable to a degree, a blog being generally a bit of an on the fly thing.
    Proofreading was always a problem, not just now in the digital age. Have a look at this blog-post at Strong Languagefor some amusing examples. The whole blog there is well done, tongue in cheek with some serious linguistic information, should you be interested.
    Damned if I know what it says in the Emily Post’s Blog Reader Response Etiquette. As far as I am concerned readers can of course ask questions and suggest topics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s