Help Me Understand

BackToBackHave you ever heard something wrong? Your brain has played a trick on you! It tried to deliver a sensible response but failed. It happened to me a few days ago. What I heard did not make any sense so I asked my friend to repeat what they said and indeed I had heard it completely wrong. Actually I “heard” it correctly twice but interpreted it incorrectly the first time. At least while listening, as long as it is with an accent I am familiar with, it is usually easy to understand what the other person is saying. However as I write this in English you will need Phonetics in a dictionary to tell you what an unfamiliar word sounds like, let alone mean. But I mostly use common words and phrases because I really want you to understand me.

Why does the world have so many languages? Imagine the confusion my brain would have in a country where I do not speak the language! My first response would be to ask “Do you speak English?”. If you happen to be in Russia they may reply “Я не понимаю”. Yet everything being said can be translated. Most concepts transfer between us because we are people and come from the same river. It is our language that has put us on separate banks. Fortunately music can help bridge that river! But translation is still needed when it is a song!

BTW (by the way) if you hear:

Я не говорю по английски” in Russian,
난 영어 못해요” in Korean or
Ich spreche kein Englisch” in German

they are saying “I do not speak English” .

The more I learn the less I know. Sometimes I don’t understand anything. I struggle to learn my heritage. It is difficult to do in this land foreign to my ancestors. Imagine my horror in finding that the US government deliberately destroyed the Natives language and heritage in this very land of their ancestors. How did that “help” them? Also as Andrew WindyBoy explains “our spirits don’t speak English”!

So I spend time learning the major different languages in order to bridge the river with what I know and how to explain it to everyone else. More important than knowing the individual words is grasping core concepts. Yes it is a formidable task I have undertaken just to simply help me understand.