We All Have At Least 1 Common Language
With everyone in this world. Don’t be afraid to use it, please.
Two weeks ago I went for a Sunday stroll to the High Fens, a nature reserve in the east of Belgium. While easing my mind, I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity in people and languages in the park. This fascinated me in such a way that I decided to write down my thoughts in a blog post.
Visitor information provided in French, English, Dutch and German is good. Hearing these languages, and some more, well represented all over the place is better. But people communicating with another without caring what language they speak, that’s the world I want to live in.
Interact with another, anyhow
Languages are used in everyday communication to express ourselves. They aren’t a matter of perfection, nor to differentiate ourselves from others.
Earlier this year I traveled in South America, from Colombia to Chili. I had never spoken any word in Spanish before I took the plane. This made me realise that we don’t need many words in order to convey a message. Even without common words, you can still effectively interact with another.
No common language with another? Very simple. Use your body language. That’s the only language we all speak.
And, of course, there are cultural differences. But these don’t take away the power of a greeting, smile or tear.
Yes, there is such thing as a free lunch
When you arrive at a place where you don’t know the language and vice versa, using your body language forms a good starting point. The next step is to learn and speak your first words. This learning process is fun and its speed of progress strongly depends on your personal attitude. Simply start speaking. You have nothing to lose.
I don’t hate you for failing, I love you for trying.
When someone makes fun of you because you don’t speak their language properly, don’t blame them. That person probably doesn’t know what it takes to learn another language.
Many people are willing to help you. But most of them are like coconuts - hard from the outside, but soft from the inside. They seem aloof and indifferent at first sight, but once you start to interact with them, you’ll be surprised by their gentleness.
Immigration brings opportunities
Lastly, I was thinking about the role of language in social integration. It definitely connects people, but why do we often expect newcomers to speak the local language from the first day? As for all of us, it takes time to learn a language. Once well settled, the learning process can start. In anticipation of that, take advantage of the situation and enrich yourself.
Don’t defend your territory by imposing your language to another, but expand it by learning the other’s language.
The latter corresponds perfectly with what we’re currently experiencing in Europe. The arrival of many newcomers brings diversity in our society to the next level. Embracing this situation will eventually result in a culturally rich and diverse society, many opportunities and other inspiring Sunday strolls. Food for thought - for now and in the future.
So far, my Sunday stroll. Feel free to share me your thoughts or comments!