71 – Language

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Maybe because I don’t have a beach at home, but the beach speaks to me during my time here. In its language, it calls me. It begs me to come out.

The language has several forms: the view of the vast water, the feel of the powdery whitish sand on the way to the waterline, the ease of walking on the packed sand at the waterline (especially at low tide), the feel of the breeze, and hear its message as air whistles by my ears. Let’s not forget the light and warmth of the sun. Each speaks in its language – but collectively delivering the same message – come to enjoy and relax.

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Whether written or oral, language is a method of communicating with words constructed to deliver meaning. A person’s language ranges from eloquent to foul, clear to muddy, inspiring to boring, praising to degrading, and many more descriptors. This interchange of words can deliver a wide variety of meanings and intent. Plus, the words are subject to different interpretations by the listener.

Language tells stories, shares intellect, expresses opinions, communicates results, recalls memories, proclaims feelings, paints pictures, allows responses, and even changes minds – all that and more with words.

Language is a way of communicating information, ideas, and feelings. When we think of language, common thoughts include words, vocabulary, phrases, writing, verbal, native tongue, dialect, linguistics, lingo, slang, and gestures.

Our choice of words (along with inflections, tone, and body language) express who we are – our character, our identity, and a sign of where we’ve been plus where we want to go. Yes, our language is a reflection of ourselves.

Language and its complexity are aspects of being human. We can choose words, apply meaning, and ask questions. And to think, we must learn and maintain language – let alone be the most important aspect of all levels of diplomacy.

Children learn a language by listening as they absorb it like a sponge. At age 5, I went to Italy for 6-8 months knowing English and some Italian – but returning fluent in Italian and having to reassimilate into English.

We live in a world of 5 to 7 thousand different languages, plus dialects. Each language is based on one of several hundred different alphabets – yet, all languages are an expression of human culture. Humanity has languages written with letters, symbols, and characters – some for sounds, but not all. Over time, languages evolve while remaining part of the culture. Then again, some languages fade into oblivion.

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I think about how language built civilizations throughout history – so language has and will continue to identify cultures and social norms – different cultures with different languages and different ways of treating letters. Vine in English is wine in German, but wine in German is vine in English.

The human brain is the language center controlling what we say, how we say it, and the mechanisms involved – a brain applying meaning to what others say – a brain working with other body parts to speak.

All speech involves moving air from the lung, vibrating vocal cords, and different positions for the tongue, cheeks, and lips. Even the nose plays a role. Sounds ranging from guttural to nasal to others allow humans to produce a seemingly endless list of distinct sounds.

Fields of study as medicine, legal, education, IT, science, business, engineering, and more have their specialized vocabulary and phrases. Words have one meaning in one field, but a different meaning in another – let alone a different meaning within the everyday world where all of us interact.

Body language accompanying the spoken words affects the listener’s interpretation. Also accompanying the words are nonverbal clues given through body position, gestures, hand movements, facial expressions, eye contact, use of space, and tone of voice. Again, all subject to interpretation – and yes, I frequently talk with my hands.

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Language delivers the emotional food that everyone needs: appreciation, kindness, love, and support. For me, kindness is a language crossing all barriers – kindness through smiles, laughter, gestures, eye contact, and actions. No matter where one stands in the world, everyone understands kindness.

Yes – English is today’s universal language – but it hasn’t always been, and it may not always be.

Language is a deep thought, and to think I’ve only touched its surface. Fortunately, today is a long walk, so I have a lot of time to think about language. Time has a way of delivering many thoughts – so many that I created a second language walk. But that’s OK because I like walking on the beach. After all, it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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150 thoughts on “71 – Language”

  1. The whole concept of language is fascinating, how it evolved, the different meanings and interpretation of words. For example ‘evil’ is live backwards. So much of our language has been inverted throughout the ages. Maritime law perhaps? And then there’s body language and all the emotions intertwined. So interesting. A thought provoking post Frank. Oh, and by the way, I talk with my hands too! Must be my Italian heritage. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miriam,
      Cheers to another hand talker! 🙂 The history of language must be interesting, and to think that it is constantly evolving. Then there are the new words that immigrants created that are a combination of two languages, but not official words – but were used by a small group of people. I know I heard them! Bottom line: language is a fascinating subject and this post only captures a small bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, absolutely. Even within the Italian language, my parents Veneto dialect was vastly different to the southern language. Amazing really. Have a great day Frank!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhhh – that duet was absolutely magical. I enjoyed the story of you being in Italy as a child and having to re-learn English when you came back to the States – my brother had the same experience when we lived in Germany for two years – he was only two and spoke only German. Language is of course essential and comes in so many forms. I for instance really love the beauty of sign language . So graceful and so vital at the same time. We also transmit language in our facial expressions – no words needed! Great subject…….

    Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      One of the pluses of the pandemic has been seeing the sign interpreters many governors have used in their press conferences. Cincinnati being a multi-state region, I regularly saw the governors of Ohio and Kentucky – let alone other governors on the national news. Loved the way they use facial expressions. Interesting about your brother. Did he keep the German language?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He still remembers a little but not much…….one thing he DID do that I didn’t was some years ago he and a girlfriend visited Germany and he looked up the wonderful housekeeper we had there and she recognized him even though he’d onlyl been 2 when she last saw him. I’ve been to Germany but not Weisbaden which is where we lived.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, Frank, you have explored this subject beautifully, and it is such a vast topic. Language is primarily sound combinations which explains why people with ‘musical ears’ can learn a language much easier than others. When I was studying in London I remember my accent changing depending on the person I’d spend more time with! I’d go from west end to Scottish and from Irish to cockney! 🤣😂 The result was quite funny!
    Seriously though, language is also our core structure and it is absolutely imperative that we protect it! 😉
    Yamas, my friend!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marina,
      A fascinating subject indeed. Thanks for sharing a bit of your language story. A famous American horse jockey moved to the UK. He’s from Kentucky, which has a southern accent here. Many years later I heard an interview with him – and he had the UK accent with mixes of southern US. A strange combination. Of course so many accents within the UK! Besides Greek and English, do you speak other languages?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “Language delivers the emotional food …” What a perfect way to put that! And as we all know, sometimes that food can be bad. I thoroughly enjoyed this walk. I have always felt that it is not how well one speaks that is important, it is how well one is understood. You never disappoint.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. language – mother tongue, the voice the of emotions – you can express yourself in many languages, but the one you are born to is the one that resonates most emotionally to you I think 🙂 My english is rather fluent and it is a mixture of english english ( school, tv), Australian and US accent ( I have lived in both countries) depending where I picked the word up or depending who I am talking to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ritva,
      The similarities and differences among the 3 English variations alone are an interesting topic in itself. In your region, isn’t Finnish much different than the other Scandanavian languages? For some reason, I’m thinking it is more related to Hungarian and Estonian (or am I imagining something?)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent post, and this really stood out: “all languages are an expression of human culture.” Indeed they are. You might or might not know that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, many French Canadians emigrated to Maine to work in mills along the rivers. In those mill towns, in the French section of town, there were French newspapers and societies, and French was spoken in the home and in the street. The dominant culture, the Anglos, became alarmed that there was a French Canadian invasion going on. In 1919, the Maine legislature passed a law that at school, the only French allowed was in French classes, where “good French” was taught. Children were punished for speaking “bad French” on the playground. Fills my heart with sorrow to think of this. Especially when you think that with just a little effort, Maine could have been a bilingual state. French was my mother’s first language. I speak only English.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim,
      Glad you enjoyed this post. In a high school biology class I taught, I’ll never forget a freshman student asking, “If the brain learns language at an early age, why do schools wait until high school to teach foreign language? ” Now that’s a great question. Do you enjoy researching for that paper?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. You covered quite a bit here, Frank. Do you still speak a/o understand Italian? I took several years of German in high school but of course never had anywhere to use it until I went to Europe in the mid-seventies for almost a year. Quite a bit came back to me but even though now German feels like me default language, I don’t really know all the much. I’ve been studying French on Duolingo a bit because of my s-i-l being there and since they might move to Norway, I’ve started that. Norwegian is more like German but the inflection makes me laugh and is completely different. Most Americans don’t speak other languages because our entire country speaks English (or at least sort of.) 🙂 If every state had a different language the way European countries do, we’d be speaking other languages as well.

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet,
      Cheers to your learning new languages. Switching from French to Norwegian seems difficult to me. The multi-lingual nature of so many Europeans impresses me. My Italian is good enough to get by – but my understanding is much better than speaking. However, when I’m there – the longer I’m there, the better I speak it. When I’m with family (4 first cousins and an aunt) – 2 know zero English – 2 speak English well – and the other understands bits. So, I have plenty of help when needed. In general, I found that when I explain I’m American and I can understand better than I speak, people appreciate me using their language (and they know what I want to say even if I use wrong verb tense).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. All so true Frank! When I was in college one of my courses was Linguistics (I was a language major). Within days of studying we were able to read and speak Swahili. Once we understand the fundamentals language becomes much easier. You are so right though, body language and inflection/tone also influence the way we interpret words. Beyond that, we’ve learned that although they don’t speak in the way we do, most all animals communicate using their own form of language. it’s a fascinating subject that we’re only beginning to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tina,
      Thanks for the thoughtful comment with a variety of excellent thoughts. Thanks for bringing up other animals. No doubt that animals have a way of communicating to each other – including body language. However, we know they don’t do it with the variations and intricacies & complexities of the human language. I also like you mentioning the fundamentals of a language – and those fundamentals are different from language to language. I would think linguistic courses looking across languages would be very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think about language often, both as a writer and as someone who enjoys figuring out what makes people tick. The words a person uses often tell you more about them than they realize. Actions show all, but words provide a bit of context.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ExcelllenI studie about the language, Frank .
    I smiled at reding vine and wine in English -German but dont forget vin in French ! 🙂
    I would add other forms of laguag such the musical language .
    In friendship
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michel,
      Thank you for the kind words. Although I already knew it, the wine-vine lines came to light when we were going through a wine region of Austria while we were cruising on the Danube a few years ago. I knew that I would use it sometime. …. and oh yes – music is not only a unique language, it is one that crosses cultures because no matter one’s spoken language, music has a way of delivering a message! FYI: Memory tells my that I have a second language walk that touches upon other languages such as music.

      Like

  11. Fascinating post, Frank. Of course I think about words, sounds, and language all the time. Are you still fluent in Italian? My mom said that when her younger brother first went to school, he only knew Yiddish because he was home with her mother all the time. I’m not sure he knew Yiddish very well as an adult though.
    I know there are efforts being made to save some indigenous languages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merril,
      I wish I was still fluent in Italian. After all, we lose what we don’t use. My understand is much better than my speaking … but I can get by in Italy. Plus, put me in that environment, I improve every day. Thanks for sharing the story about your family. Back in that time period with so many immigrants with different languages, wow … can you imagine school for both the student and teacher perspectives? Then again, in many areas today, that is still the case, but just different languages.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ll have to come back for the video, Frank. On the roof and my phone is choosy what it will share 😕💕. But I love Ed! I wish I had learnt Portuguese at 5. So much less stressful! But I did have a lovely walk on the beach today 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo,
      I hope you come back for the video because it is a good one that fits the theme. I was wondering about your Portuguese – but I’m sure it is better than when you first arrived. Did you begin learning Portuguese before moving?

      Like

  13. Great subject material…with as many possibilities for thoughts as there are languages themselves!
    My heritage is Dutch, and though I was born in Canada, my parents spoke both English and Dutch…so I learned the Dutch…though I didn’t really use it much my self…until I was seven and spent 9 weeks in Holland. Then when I got back I had about two weeks to relearn to speak English, because school was not in Holland. LOL! And my little friends were looking at me strangely. They did not understand me at all! So I had all the tools for the second language in my head, and being immersed in it, that brought them out. Later my mother taught my sister and I how to read Dutch, which I can still do, albeit slower than reading English. My spoken skills have dwindled over the years, because after I got married my exposure to Dutch peeps was greatly diminished. I can still communicate, but its very stilted and my accent must be awful! But, if you can communicate, you are doing well!
    In highschool, I took French (Because its a Canadian law…), and German, because I wanted to…and in college I took one semester of Italian, because I like to listen to music, and a lot of operas are in Italian, and it is the musical language that is on the printed pages…ie: Allegro, Andante, etc.
    So somewhere in my little brain’s filing cabinet are the tools and scripts for 5 languages…
    Once when my sister was here and we were out shopping, we were bantering all kinds of talk about the clothes we were trying on, etc, and we were using all 5 of those languages. LOL! (She has a degree in German, minored in French and Italian) The clerk asked me where we were from…and I said, Battle Creek…she just gaped at us…LOL,LOL! We of course were not disparaging her or the store. That would have been rude and an unwise way to use our word salad.

    Oh, yes, I learned two polish words from a friend, Good Morning (dzień dobry) and a unmentionable one, too, LOL!

    In my work,m there is much communicated by non-verbal means, such as touch, eye contact and smiles. Its hard in there now, with the masks we have to wear…no one can see our smiles, even though our eyes may be twinkling, and we aren’t supposed to hug peeps. Phooey. I *do* give out hugs when no one is looking…shhh, don’t squeal on me…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      There is so much in your comment that made me smile. The thought of you and your sister bantering in different languages was a hoot. Cheers to the clerk’s sense of humor! We share the parallel of a bi-lingual household when growing up. There were many conversations when they spoke to me in Italian and I replied in English … and it worked! Oh, the effect of masks these days in terms of communication – so I appreciate your thoughts about your work. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. “We live in a world of 5 to 7 thousand different languages, plus dialects.” This really caught my attention, Frank. That means that there are so many people I couldn’t hope to have a conversation with. I think a smile is the universal language though, and I can always manage that. Your Beach Walk title today brought back a distant memory of one of my favourite folk songs fron the 1960’s, “Listen To The Ocean” sung by Nina and Frederik. Maybe you’re too young to have come across it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXeGhIJWG5I I find their voices and the the rhythm very soothing. Have a great week, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sylvia,
      The thought of so many languages is a bit overwhelming. On the other hand, I know you have traveled many places, and I’m sure you have multiple stories of encounters when the spoken language was a barrier. I’m confident that some had successful endings and others not. Thanks for the song – but one I didn’t know. Music of 1960. I just checked the list of Billboard hits of 1960, and there are songs that I knew then. However, it doesn’t seem “Listen to the Ocean” made it across the pond. Thanks for the introduction?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Language is a fascinating ability “…all languages are an expression of human culture. Humanity has languages written with letters, symbols, and characters – some for sounds, but not all. Over time, languages evolve while remaining part of the culture. Then again, some languages fade into oblivion. ” Absolutely. Yes. Did you know that body language is 70% of “what we say/communicate”?, and a people’s culture is lost to those who lose their native toungue – when a language “dies”. Old traditions and memories, ways of working and ideas about life disappear. A language is so tied to a certain culture, that the understanding of old life and customs is totally lost if the language dies. Much because most dying languages have no writing traditions.
    I was a language teacher for 25 years before I retired, and of course languages fascinated me. My daughter is the same, but knows more languages than I do. Right now she is into Chinese. THERE is my limit. I would never go for a language with another “alphabet”. Thank you for another interesting walk!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ann-Christine,
      Thanks so much for the interesting response. You made me step back into times when the oral tradition was the way stories and traditions were passed down to the next generation. After all, very few knew how to write. And those were also a time when the movement of people was limited. Your thoughts also remind me that culture today is squeezing out some native languages. The region around Naples, Italy has a unique blend of Italian & Catalan that is fading away. How many languages are you comfortable with?

      Like

      1. I didn’t know about Naples – interesting! Comfortable with? Eh, I speak only the Nordic Danish and Norwegian and Swedish. Then English and a bit French. Understand a bit Spanish and Italian as I also took Latin and Greek once. I took some uni in Icelandic, but that was a major difficult grammar…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for sharing & I salute your interesting in language … and cheers to your daughter crossing your line into Chinese. Interesting how related languages are similar and different … the Nordic, Slavic, & Romantic languages. Then toss in the Hungarians surrounded by the Slavic but with a language more similar to Finish and Estonian. Fascinating. I was wondering about Latvian and Lithuanian. Are they more Slavic or Hungarian?

          Like

  16. Most interesting, Frank! I’m often struck by how humans communicate with their pet dogs and cats. How can a species that doesn’t know how to “speak words” understand what we’re saying? But every pet owner knows they do! Would that we were as capable of understanding them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie,
      I’m with you on that, yet I’m not close to Dr. Doolittle. I heard that with pets, much is about the tone in our voice. In other words, say something nice in a harsh tone doesn’t work …. then again, saying negatives in a pleasant tone gets a positive reaction. When we picked pet names, we selected names with syllables that stood out. Nonetheless, communication between humans and pets is special.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’d love to speak lots of languages!
    I’ve learned 3 in my lifetime, but truth is I only practice 1; English.
    Canada is a bilingual country, French and English.
    We all took French though all 12 grades of schooling. Yet, if I don’t go to Quebec; or St. Boniface, Manitoba. no one speaks it.
    So, English it is, and my French has slipped away a lot.
    I spent a year and a half in S.America, and have travelled to Mexico at least 6 times. Few speak Spanish in Canada, so again my ability slips away, slowly.
    Then again, there’s the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.
    Always a fab walk with you, Frank!
    Thank you, Gracias & Merci Beaucoup!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      Thanks for sharing your experiences with 3 languages. Yep – not using it causes it to slip away. As an outsider, it is interesting to see my northern neighbor as a bilingual country. I still recall my visits to Quebec City. For me, the closest feeling of being in France without being near Europe. Amazing. You also reminded me of a time we were in Madrid and went to a pharmacy. I tried to explain what we needed. After we left, my wife said my words were a mix of Italian and Spanish … but I think we got what we needed!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I made my living “speaking” languages so that people could communicate with machines. The language that allows you to prepare this post and me to comment on how appropriate the subject is. We can’t yet add the inflection, tone and body language to our comments. I guess I’ll have to tell you that I’m pleased and that I’m smiling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan,
      Oh yes. The IT language is another world to most of us. In my instructional design days, I recall developing an IT course for other IT professionals was the most challenging I ever encountered. Now I had a subject matter expert at my disposal, but I simply gave up trying to know more than I could grasp.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. My mother’s tongue is both Urdu and Farsi, but I speak only English with an accent that marks me from far away. That said, it is context, eyes, and creative expression that give language its meaning. People who do not understand each other’s words can still find inventive ways to communicate, and often do so on a deeper level then those of us who simply speak. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jaya,
      The comments in the post have been very interesting because people are sharing a bit of their story – so thank you for sharing yours. 🙂 I agree about those without a common understanding of words finding a way to effectively communicate. Reminds me of the closing video in the recent Oneness post – the video of Matt Harding dancing across the world. Cheers to the multi-lingual and those who make communication work.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I enjoyed the statistics on how many languages and dialects there are worldwide, Frank. Many of my neighbors speak languages other than English and we at times struggle to communicate, but manage. It’s been harder this past year, however, because with masks we lose a portion of our facial expression, and it makes it more difficult to communicate. 😕

    Liked by 1 person

  21. That is amazing how easily children can pick up a language and how difficult it is for some of us adults. Lived in Greece for a couple of years as a teen and none of it stuck. Neither anything from three years of French classes…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Once I got over the resentment from having to leave my friends and my pets behind, and after adjusting to the culture shock, I actually did enjoy it. I went to a small international high school, between 5-10 students in a class, and found interesting friends from many countries — Greece, UK, South Africa, Congo, Lebanon, Canada, Germany, Yugoslavia (the part which is now Macedonia), and several Americans. Broadened my horizons considerably. The food, farmer’s markets, travel and hiking were great, too!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. “Fields of study as medicine, legal, education, IT, science, business, engineering, and more have their specialized vocabulary and phrases. Words have one meaning in one field, but a different meaning in another – let alone a different meaning within the everyday world where all of us interact.” This is the world that made it difficult to learn to blog and all the diverse skills that go into the process. I wrote a rant on creating a “landing page” once because I couldn’t understand the language of the video, even while chatting with the video creator. Thanks for leaving a link for Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays, Frank. Here’s a quote that I think fits your post. “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” Frank Smith. Have a great week, Frank 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha,
      Thanks for the good quote and the interesting shot. The concept about words having different meanings in different fields including everyday use would be an interesting discussion on its own. It’s also interesting is how new words come along with technology.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tell me about it. I have struggled with the blogging and technology lexicon. But we educators have our own and it is daunting to parents or outsiders. 🙂 Once we had to read a scholarly journal article about education written in Australian English. Did I tell you about this? Anyway, we had to read for one hour and after that we could stop. Oh my gosh. I didn’t get more than a few pages read, and my mind was goo. The idea was to show us how second language learners struggle with the vocabulary even when they know the words or maybe just know how to pronounce them. There wasn’t a word in that article that we did not know, but the article made absolutely no sense.

        Liked by 1 person

              1. LOL! I still don’t have a real landing page. It is so much work, and simply visiting with people has build my blog to the point I can still handle it. I’m not selling anything, but at the time I was trying to experience everything blog. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m going tiobe fascinated by my granddaughter growing up. My daughter talks to her in English, her partner in Catalan. Together they speak Spanish … so that’s three. And you know all about this easy assimilation of language from your own early experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I wholeheartedly agree with your opening paragraph, Frank. A thought-provoking and fascinating post about language. You bring up wonderful complex points about the subject of language. My career was in the dental field, where nonverbal communication is a big deal. My first language is German, and I dream in German and English. I am a fan of Ed Sheehan and Andrea Boceelli. I love this song. Thank you for sharing an excellent post, Frank! You made my day. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica,
      Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for sharing a bit of your story about language. I impressed by the comments in this walk. The comments alone truly support my points. The number of languages spoken by the commenters alone is impressive. I’ve always wondered about the dreams of multi-lingual people, so thanks for sharing. Glad you enjoyed the musical duet, which I thought fit with this post very well.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Hello Frank,

    what an interesting post which Marsha guided me towards as we had been discussing languages and accents. The resulting discussion is even more interesting, if that is possible.

    Some years ago I volunteered in an English “class” in Luang Prabang in Lao. I put class in inverted commas as it was a totally informal arrangement organised by the Big Brother Mouse literacy charity.

    http://www.bigbrothermouse.com/

    The arrangement consisted of English speaking travellers going to the charity’s office and attempting to teach English to local people ranging in age from about 15 – 25 and all of whom had a basic grasp of the language. The only teaching aid was a world map on the wall and the occasional English language newspaper that appeared. It was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it although it did bring home to me just what a difficult language English must be learn for a non-native speaker. I distinctly remember getting terribly bogged down trying to explain the various meanings of the simple, three letter word bow, it was a nightmare. The poor “students” could not understand how such a small word could mean so many things and that was before I started explaining that bow and bough sounded exactly the same!

    Perhaps there was something to be said for Esperanto after all although the international language now seems to consist of 😂, ❤️️, ☮️, 🤘 and so on. Do smiley faces etc. qualify as a language?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fergy,
      Welcome first-time beach walker. Not only thanks for letting me know that Marsha is our common connection, thank you for your thoughtful and interesting comment. I agree with you that English isn’t an easy language to learn … and your team did it with so few resources. I’ve had some experience as a volunteer with English Second Language students in my area. The team had three different levels and I had a chance to volunteer in all three levels. Although they were their worst enemy in terms of sporadic attendance, there is no question in my mind that these people from all over the world wanted to learn English for a variety of reasons. How long id you do this?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello again and thanks for the warm welcome.

        I only did it for a couple of weeks and the “teaching” was a large part of the reason I stayed in Luang Prabang so long.

        I only had a one month visa to see the whole country and I had initially intended to stay a few days but the place was so amazing (the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the people so friendly and the teaching so much fun that I got somewhat marooned there for a couple of weeks but there are worse places to get washed up if I may borrow your beach analogy.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. The number of languages in the world is fascinating to me, and the idea humankind can somehow manage to bring them together in terms of living, business, entertainment . .

        Like

  26. Thoughtful post, Frank. Nearing the end of Helen Keller’s memoir and finding it absolutely wonderful how language, in several non-verbal forms, opened her entire world of understanding.

    Like

  27. Language is fascinating – how it came to be in different parts of the world, each distinct. And then how more have evolved from the first ones.
    I LOVE this song!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dale,
      Although I don’t know much about it, language origins intrigue me. I think about Europe with its clusters of similar languages – Germanic, Romantic, Slavic, Baltic, and whatever group Hungarian & Finnish belong. So many languages in a relatively small area, let alone the dialects within. Simply fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Language definitely fascinates me, particularly as I’m learning to code at the moment and because previously I’ve been an editor, writer and scientist.

    I’m especially fascinated by the etymology of words, phrases and idioms. I love the manner in which meaning converges and diverges and the way languages constantly borrow from each other, which in turn reflects the history of those cultures. English is a particularly good example of this, being a hodgepodge of Brittonic, Latin, German, Scandanavian and French, among others.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I love the beach backdrop when reading the post. Very innovative and refreshing.
    “Vine in English is wine in German, but wine in German is vine in English” – Intriguing!
    Language is certainly a medium to connect us all! Lovely thoughts! It’s limitless!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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