If you have tried translating a sentence from one language to another, you have no doubt come to realize the complexity of languages. Language is a living system, changing constantly to accommodate our life and need for communication. Each language is so intertwined with the culture and habits of the specific people that are using it. Here are a few more famous quotes beautifully expressing just how alive languages can be.
If you talk to [someone] in a language [he or she] understands, that goes to [the person's] head. If you talk to [somebody] in [his or her] language, that goes to [the] heart.
- Nelson Mandela
Being exposed to the existence of other languages increases the perception that the world is populated by people who not only speak differently from oneself but whose cultures and philosophies are other than one's own. Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends.
- Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now
To have another language is to possess a second soul.
Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Words are the leaves of the tree of language, of which, if some fall away, a new succession takes their place.
- John French
This article discusses the exact phenomena of languages being shaped around the people. Even a simple thing as color is interpreted so differently depending on the geography, culture and needs of the people that use it in daily life.
In Chinese culture, each family member has a specific role in the household. Their language reflects this. For example, the word “uncle” has many forms to precisely describe their relative position in the family tree. Chinese children growing up try hard to get the roles correct, to show respect to each family member.
Learning another language is a humbling, life-long journey that is guaranteed to be enlightening and fulfilling at any stage in our lives. We encourage all of you to start, and continue searching into the minds and hearts of people that use different languages.