April 29, 2016
Language Begins with First Words
One of the most important milestones of a baby’s life is their first word. Whether it’s Mama or Dada, it marks the point in a baby’s childhood when they start to communicate. They might not understand what they are imitating, but that first word, that first time that they move their lips and push a word from tiny lungs, marks the point where language starts to come into play in their lives.
Language is a tricky thing. A lot of people say that the English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn, if not the absolute hardest. To be honest, they aren’t wrong. And yet, even though it can be a really confusing language, there are little two year olds toddling around and using the language to tell everyone what they want, because they grew up hearing it used all around them.
English Rules and Exceptions
To someone who has never spoken English, it would definitely seem confusing. There are so many strange rules, many of which don’t make any sense, and let’s not even start to count all the “exceptions” to those rules. I’ve thought about it, and Spanish makes so much more sense than English, grammatically speaking, and yet, whenever I try to form a sentence in Spanish, I end up having to translate it into English into my head to comprehend what I’m trying to ask.
There was one day in Spanish class that our teacher played Spanish music while we were working on some worksheets. As I was working, I listened to the lyrics of the song. I recognized some of the words, but they were gone before I could translate them to something I could understand. It occurred to me that if a Spanish kid were listening to the same exact thing that I was, it would make sense to him. He wouldn’t have to translate or think about it to understand the words that were being sung. It’s interesting that we would be hearing the same sounds and words, but I would have no clue what they mean, he would understand the meaning instantly.
Words Represent an Object or Concept
The odd thing about language is that every word is only a representation of a thing. Some idea or object or abstract concept that we want to describe. We use a word, short and sweet, like tree, to describe the tall green plant that grows in our backyards. So when a person says the word tree, I know exactly what they mean, and I can picture what they’re talking about. Everything has a name, and we just use those names for things that we want to talk about. Whether it’s tree in English, or árbol in Spanish, every word in every language is just a name for a thing or concept.
Language is Important
Language is one of the most central parts of our lives. How could we ask for what we need, communicate our feelings, or even just laugh and joke with friends if we had no way to communicate? Even though words might just be representations, they carry more weight than we can imagine. We use those words to talk to others and make connections in our lives. No matter, what language, Spanish or English, that always stays the same. See you next week!