Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Language and culture tied together

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.
- Ronald Searle, artist (1920- )

When we speak only one language, we tend to associate that language with ourselves. That is, the language and we are one entity, inseparable. Only when we learn a second language do we begin to understand what language is, its complexity, its history, what it represents.

The history of a language is also the history of those who speak the language. It's part of the culture, so much so that people who live in situations where their ancestral language is disappearing (from lack of speakers) often lose the culture of their ancestors as well.

Learning more than one language, at a minimum a few words of other languages, should be a requirement for all people so that they can understand the foundations on which people of other cultures live.

We use different words, with different sounds and different definitions, but we say the same things no matter where in the world we live.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' helping us see what we have in common with others who seem to be different.
Learn more at http://billallin.com/cgi/index.pl

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