Saturday, December 3, 2011

Have you ever felt that you were meant to speak a different language?


A few days ago, my professor told the class something very interesting: that when she was young, she felt like her first language (Romanian) wasn't the one she was meant to speak. She learned several languages and all felt incomplete to her until she learned English, and then something clicked.

As a literature professor, she said that it makes sense that English would be the right fit for her since English is made up of many other languages (Anglo-Saxon, Greek, Germanic, Latin, French, etc.). With other languages, such as her first, there is either a limited vocabulary (like with Latin) or a restricted number of ways in which those words can be used (Romanian is a very formal language).

What I mean by the latter is that some languages, like Italian, have a formal and informal way of saying "you," and those words can only be used in certain settings. English may only have the one way of saying "you," however it's not the word itself that is formal or informal, but the way in which you use it. That's what makes the lanauge different, and I think that's one of the reasons why she liked it.

English has a word count that is ever-expanding; it also functions very effectively as a spoken and written language, and it is somewhat easy to understand.

Her declaration was really interesting to me. I don't usually feel any sort of pride in the fact that I speak English, but I've also never felt that something was lacking. So I suppose that's a good thing! It made me wonder if I felt I was supposed to speak another language. I'd say the answer is no. I've always liked British slang, but obviously that's not different language.

Have you ever felt that speaking another language would suit you better than the one you currently speak? What about people who grew up with more than one language? Do you have a preference?

(Picture from Flickr)

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8 comments:

  1. That's funny you said all this because I have always felt that I should speak greek. My grandma is fluent (obvi she lived there and its her first language) but she refused to talk to me or my mom in greek when we were little so neither of us learned it. But being greek i really feel that i am missing a HUGE part of my culture by not being able to speak it. like i look at people that speak english and call their moms and talk a different language, i always thought that was so cool, like a secret language between you and your family. and then it links you back to a whole county of people. i have been trying to learn greek but being dyslexic its really hard for me to learn another language. but i did talk to my grandma a little bit in greek once and that was really cool.

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  2. You make a good point about the fact that a language isn't just a language -- it's part of the culture and country. It would've been really cool if your grandma had taught you Greek! You could've been bi-lingual! So cool!

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  4. what a nice thought! I'm useless at learning languages and only know a bit of French, it would be nice to learn more! xx

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  5. girllllll you're talking to a linguistics major!!! i love thiiisssss, language is my passion, its the foundation of literally everything. this is a great post, i have always felt so lucky to speak more than one language and i think that is probably a large reason for my being obsessed with language in general. we should talk about this more when i get backkkk!!!! love youuu xox

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  6. Thanks, Avra! I'm so glad you liked this post! I can't wait to see you!!!! Love you! xoxoxo

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Have a lovely day!
~Sara ♥

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