As the world quickly becomes more and more interconnected through globalization we have never been further apart. Social media and technology remove a significant portion of what used to be actual physical contact. As humans we have a built-in need for connectedness, this is where languages come into play. In a world where it’s never been easier to keep in touch, but we’ve never been so far away the ability to speak more than one language could change the way you experience the world, and your life.
Many of us who study a language usually become very passionate about it, and the one thing we all seem to have in common is that our passion for languages originally came from someone else. For me, studying languages was introduced by my daughter. As soon as she spoke her first words, she seemed to want to communicate with everyone around her. By default, she became bilingual much to my surprise at that time. Then soon, trilingual.
As an adult, I began learning languages so that I could communicate with her, and it’s one thing to be able to understand someone else’s language, but it is another thing completely when they can understand you back. Learning a language often shortens the perceived gap between people of different backgrounds. Even if you’re not completely fluent in a language, the mere attempt and the faintest of knowledge sometimes go a very long way.
Having an understanding of the way other people approach life, their culture, and their language makes you more open to different ways of living. Since becoming trilingual just over a year ago, and am currently working on languages 4 – 6 simultaneously. I have had the privilege of experiencing French, Spanish, English, and Portuguese cultures firsthand. Being able to not only understand but also speak these languages has allowed me to experience so many different lifestyles, and I have found that there are more similarities than differences.
When you travel around the world no matter what language you speak it’s inevitable that you will come across people who share your passion for languages. During my travels, I often meet fellow polyglots who are always excited to find someone else who shares the same enthusiasm for languages. It’s like meeting someone who has the same favorite movie, or TV show as you, it brings people together.
Another aspect that draws me to language learning is the history of words and how they have evolved over time. Languages used to be passed down from generation to generation verbally, meaning that meaning changed over time depending on what culture it was associated with. Let’s take for example the Spanish word “macho” which means male, strong, brave, etc., it derives from the Latin word “masculus”. Now if you look at how this word has evolved similar words exist in Portuguese and Italian as well. An interesting fact is that in French masculine actually derived from the Latin word “masculus” as well, but it also derived from the word “maison”, implying that macho could potentially have a double meaning in French.
I remember learning about the Romantic languages at school, particularly Spanish, and how romance originated from the Latin word for Roman. It was an interesting concept to me because I always thought of being romantic as something only used in Western cultures. Once again however if you look at other romance languages such as Italian, French, or Portuguese, you find similar words which have evolved over time. Language is a truly fascinating subject to me, no matter what language it may be I can always find something interesting about them. Who knows, perhaps one day I will find a word which has common roots with all of the languages I have learned so far.
UpLingua was created not just for those who have a passion for languages but also for those that simply want, or need, to learn a bit about another language for travel or business purposes. Unlike other language learning websites, however, UpLingua focuses on languages as a way of bringing people together. It is not just our passion for languages that helps us do this but the relationships we build along the way. I pride myself in honestly saying that at UpLingua we have an active community completely made up of people from all over the world who love languages as much as I do. If you have a language that you would like to learn with us, or if you just want to come and say hello then feel free to come by and introduce yourself. We’d love to meet you! It would be our sincere pleasure to help you grow in one or as many languages as you choose to learn.
So à bientôt, hasta pronto, fino a presto, até breve, bis bald (see you soon) “au revoir!