HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Verbal Communication Prompt #6

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“If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world”. I have only studied two other languages other than English before. Neither of which I would consider myself to be adept in. Regardless, from my time studying both Spanish and Japanese, I can interpret the quote as learning another language is like learning to see things differently. To learn another language is to also dive into another culture. Looking back on it, it really did feel like I was seeing things in a different world.

For Spanish I wouldn’t say that it felt a whole lot different because it’s very similar to English. Sentence structure was the same and many words are interchangeable or had insignificant differences. When I began learning Japanese, it was so different from English that I felt a little overwhelmed, but it was really interesting. The instructor would explain why kanji was written a certain way, and although it’s not something that made sense in English, it still got through to me. Japanese isn’t very specific either, as in there are no articles or plural versions of nouns. Although it was hard to convey direct thoughts at times, the language flowed very smoothly. When I was starting to get the hang of it, I felt it strange that I was actually communicating with a language that wasn’t the one I grew up with. Perhaps that’s what the quote was implying. I felt I was perceiving another world through another language, and I really enjoyed learning it.

This is probably what most people would say about learning another language, assuming that they weren’t forced to learn it. Although it doesn’t feel as natural as using your native language, there is something really enjoyable about having the ability to express your ideas in two or more cultures. It creates a sense of freedom, as if you could open up to more people than you could before. That’s how I would interpret the quote.

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