Language and culture, those of us who have a greater understanding of language and culture beyond our own are truly gifted. That has been my interpretation of being multilingual for ages due to the fact that I speak one other language fluently, other than my own and speak notions of four other languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Polish) and can say a few words in Chinese and Arabic. I truly envy those who speak twelve languages fluently. However, my belief is that to understand culture is of more importance, and why? My reasoning with that is simple – we get to understand each other a lot better.
I have harboured a belief since I was in my early twenties that we can can all create an understanding of one another through an understanding of each others culture, wherever we are from. Whilst I have lived in the UK I have met people from all four corners of the globe. I have met people from Central and Eastern Europe, people from Italy, Spain France and Belgium, made friends with peoples from Poland, America, Argentina, El Salvador. I have made friends with people from Pakistan to Algeria. And though I have an Argentinian friend that I went to school and worked with in Zimbabwe I started to pick up Spanish from he and his family. Some of my cousins had a Belgian background and so started to pick up French from them. But my understanding of language & culture never really took off until I came to the UK. That is one of the beauties of the United Kingdom, its broad spectrum of different cultures and backgrounds.
I am no lingual genius, I do however wish I was but being able to speak the notions I do is gift enough but had I carried on with my Polish course I would be able to speak Polish fluently. But this is where I think the ultimate respect for other nationalities come from. Although I do believe that an understanding of another religion, other than my own helps. I do not believe that is where the ultimate in understanding and acceptance comes from – it primarily comes from language & culture.
So at the end of the day what is your understanding of the key to humanity, acceptance and understanding?
This post totally goes against what I have remodelled this site on but I think this is an important part of who we all are and who we should be.