Longing for Language

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I went to China in May. It was amazing. Everything was different—the food, the culture and of course, the language.

I loved everything about it.

I got to climb to the top of the Great Wall, and try 10 different kinds of dumplings. But, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t crack the language. It was fascinating to listen and watch the people speaking. There are so many tones and symbols—even watching people write had me in awe.

It got me thinking about how important language is. When I was in China it was so hard to communicate because of the language barrier. You are stuck using your hands, or trying to convey a message with your expressions alone.

It’s tough. It’s scary. It’s beyond frustrating.

You want to be able to speak the native language of country you travel—it’s easier, respectful, and of course just cool.

In fact, if I could have any superpower it would be the gift of speaking and understanding every language in the world. Now granted, that’s a lofty goal. But imagine what that would mean—the ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime. It’s not that easy, but I wish it were!

Languages are unique and complex. They are full of history and tradition. I took French starting at a young age. I didn’t keep up with it and it’s a shame. Looking back now, I wish I would have practiced more or taken it more seriously. How cool would it be to really talk to someone in French, like really talk?

Every time I travel I get enthralled with the language—I hang on every word. Even the ones I can’t understand, which are a lot.

I have a new life goal—one that will no doubt take a while to accomplish. I want to learn to speak Chinese, at least conversationally. I left China in May knowing how to say hello, how are you, I’m fine, and thank you. It’s not a lot, but it’s a start.

I may never reach my super power goal, but I can say hello and goodbye in French, Chinese and English—I just have to keep adding to my word base!

 

 

Amy Esselman

About Amy Esselman

Amy is a senior at La Salle University. She is majoring is Marketing and International Business. Amy is spending the summer interning in Salt Lake City. She loves music she can dance to, blogging, knitting, and collecting rings among other things.