Hello, I’m Nicolas Gros, how are you doing?
English is not my mother tongue but still… I’m communicating with you. Do you understand French? Would you understand the same words in my language? If not: you’re lucky that I learnt English!
The main reason to learn languages is basically: communication. Human beings have developed so many languages, and if we were all limited to one language, there would be no way to understand each other.
Learning a language is a first step toward other cultures – but it’s not the only one. Culture differences need some attention in order to understand how other people think and how we can communicate with them.
The complexity of a language formats the thinking. Some words can be very hard to translate, just because a concept is not shared among cultures and needs a few words of explanation.
There are thousands of examples, such as “friendly” in English that relates to a respectful positive attitude, while the direct translation in French “amical” will not carry the same intensity. A well-known book “How to win friend?” from Dale Canergie has a poor translation in French “Comment se faire des amis ?” and is perceived as Machiavellian book on how to manipulate other people by making them think you are their friend. A better translation would have carried the message that creating positive relationships is a more human and respectful attitude than keeping distance with others.
So… should such cultural differences retain us from learning languages?
No! It’s true that many translations are dependent on the context and that mastering a language takes many years. But perfection is not a reasonable goal at the beginning.
Every journey starts somewhere, and it starts with the first step. So the first goal should be to spend a few minutes a day and to concentrate on the funny part of learning languages.
VocaBattle has been designed on this purpose: it allows a few steps every day. The time-limited quiz games are a funny and addicting experience. Everything is easy, because the teacher is always here to help.
Lao Tzu once said: “There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path”. In the same way we could say: “Learning a language is not the path to happiness, happiness is the path to learn languages”!
So … enjoy your path!