Sunday, August 25, 2013

When one language doesn't cut it ....


When we decide to formally learn another language, we tend to have a solid command of the essential structures to be able to communicate with and understand others.



Unless we are in constant contact with highly proficient speakers of that language - or quite simply, native speakers - we are deprived the chance to deepen our lexicon so that we can REALLY express ourselves, 



When we find ourselves in higly emotional situations, we usually react in our first language to express anger, frustration, discontent, anxiety, and so on. 



This fact re-inhabited my thoughts while watching MTV Brasil this morning. The VJ is interviewing singer Shakira about her then new CD in English and wants to know what the experience is like. The chat is in Portuguese, but it can be easily translated



How would you complete her answer in English? 

It was a ............. ....................., perhaps, the biggest of my life and my artistic career, because ... you know, I can talk to my lawyer in English, to my manager in English, I can think in English, but I feel and live in Spanish, I .................. in Spanish, so to talk of the most ............. and intimate emotions in a language that is not your ........... is about the same as an adventure, an expedition, a voyage to the ...............

This makes me think of what happens in the classroom when we expect students to talk about really personal issues in another language. 

What about you? Can you express the deepest sentiments in another language that you master well?

        

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