The language of the other
Language rests at the base of a culture and shapes the understanding of the world, therefore it shapes behaviours, views and feelings about everything that surrounds us.
Britain lives a wonderful, multicultural life with London in particular, hosting speakers of over 250 languages, which makes it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. Still, we tend to ignore such facts and take for granted the fact that most of us can understand each other when using English. But do we?
Behind any foreign accent lies a secret story. There is the person, and there is the culture. If we weren’t speaking a common language already, we would probably try to learn one, but what a long, exhausting process that would be, right?
The good news is, we do not have to learn all the languages in the world to be able to communicate, form and maintain strong relationships with the people around us; but simply learning a second language, the one that does not belong in our own personal and cultural background, will open new doors towards the OTHER. And will certainly open our minds and help us understand and accept the otherness as it is.
Language is not a border, it is a means to communicate and live on. A young child can learn any language if they are exposed to it, for it is only natural. So let’s pay attention and nurture the positive, natural behaviours in our young ones and help them enter this world with an open mind, an open heart, and a couple of great skills under their sleeve…like speaking Mandarin ;)