Friday, April 15, 2011

The Difference in Language

I am watching a British show on TV.  They speak in English.  Their accents and idioms are such that it is not exactly the English we speak in America.  But for the most part, it is understandable.  But, sometimes, I have to listen very, very closely.

The really interesting thing about that, is I find the same thing happens to me in this country. I do a little bit of traveling, and there are parts of the country where the idioms and accents are so different from what I am used to. But it is still English.

This happens to other languages:  French in Canada compared to the French in France.

Spanish:  "Castilian Spanish" may refer to Spanish spoken in Spain, compared to Spanish spoken in the "New World."  But Spanish in Mexico is different than Spanish in Texas, California or New Mexico.  Spanish in Cuba and Puerto Rico is also slightly different.

My father spoke Polish, but he understood some Russian. 

Romance languages have a base in Latin, and are similar but very distinct, also.

I work in a prison. The "jargon" is very different than jargon in other fields. Each field has its own jargon.  It helps to understand the different languages people speak: 

When I take my car into a mechanic, I do not speak "mechanic" so I can not always effectively communicate with my mechanic so he knows what my concern is.   It helps to understand the technical speak of each field.

We gravitate to people with whom we are comfortable: people who have shared similar experiences, have similar ethnic backgrounds, have similar interest.  Similarities make us comfortable.  Similarity in speech is most important.  Even if I do not have the other backgrounds, if I can speak the same language, I have broken many barriers.

So, often, even though there are differences in language, when we focus on the similarities, we bring ourselves together.

As a high school student, I learned about Esperanto  I am not sure what Esperanto sounds like, but the idea of a universal language makes sense to me.

We realize that this is a small world, and the oceans and atmosphere especially join us as one. Language has made man unique among the life forms of this earth. But, we are discovering that other species have simple and complex language.  Man needs to learn that it is "A Small World, After All." Man needs to learn how interdependent we really are. Language helps us, to interchange. But language keeps us apart. So maybe a universal language would help to erase our differences.



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