Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thoughts on Why Everyone Should Learn a Foreign Language

"When each of you were born there were roughly six thousand languages spoken on the planet...

"A language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules.  A language is a flash of the human spirit.  It's a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world.  Every language is an old growth forest of the mind, a watershed of thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.

"Of those six thousand languages, fully half are no longer being whispered into the ears of children.  What could be more lonely than to be enveloped in silence, to be the last of your people to speak your language?" - Wade Davis, in a TEDtalks speech given on 12 Jan 2007

Roughly every two weeks a language dies...

I wonder sometimes if we think God only speaks our language?  Does it occur to us that God speaks more than English - that He speaks every one of the languages of the world?  I do not mean to belittle my own culture, but Americans are particularly bad about learning foreign languages.  We expect everyone else to learn English in order to communicate with us.

In learning a foreign language, we not only learn another way to communicate, we learn another way to see the world.  And that is enriching.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That brings me to remember that a man interviewed on Focus on the family mentioned that when a little deaf girl was told the gospel in ASL, she was excited, saying, "God knows sign language, Daddy!"

I know it's not the same as the old lanmguages that are dying out, but it is a cross cultural ministry of unreached people whose parents don't even bother to learn the language of their children!