It is not a controversial claim to say that language opens up the world for you. It helps you navigate to the beach on your vacation; meeting new people becomes easier; it makes a great impression on the employer; and you get in touch with the world. Learning a new language can even make you smarter; decision making, problem solving, creativity, and a better memory are a few things that are improved by expanding your language repertoire.
“The limits of your language are the limits of your world”
Words spoken by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
And that is how it really is…
In my youth, I spent many hours at my friend’s house. As we lived in the same neighbourhood, it was a daily routine to just walk across the road and say hi. I was invited into their home during holidays, and met their large family. The eldest lady in the sofa with a smile was the one who often caught my eye. She barely spoke Swedish, but she was the most vocal in her native language. There was something charming about being so close to the core of the family, despite not knowing what she was saying.
As my friend taught me a few words in Cantonese, I also started to understand what the sweet lady in the brown chair often said – and I can tell you she swore like a trooper.