Language is a connection

Wendy - Richmond, Virginia
Entered on April 28, 2008

I believe language has the power to connect and divide people. The world is diverse with many races that speak different languages. Even though countries have their own native languages, minorities still choose to speak the language of their origin.

While I was visiting the nail salon one day, the employees greeted and asked me what I would like to have done. After being waited on, the nail technicians began talking to each other in their own ethnic language. They constantly smiled and laughed back and forth in a language that I could not comprehend. Mixed feelings overwhelmed me as I felt excluded and the butt of a joke.

I am currently attending one of the nation’s most diverse universities. While walking on campus, I feel like I am on a road trip around the world as I hear students speaking different languages. I know that these students know how to speak the native language of my country but just choose not to. I believe they mean no harm and choose to speak their language as a connection with their culture. Speaking their language may be comfort as they can relate to each other. They do not realize how others may feel when they walk by and hear these unfamiliar spoken words.

I realize language can not be forced upon someone and people have freedom to say whatever they choose. Also, that this can be a sensitive issue for some as speaking another language is like leaving their cultural values behind. Learning a new language is difficult, but should be taken into consideration so that no one is offended or insulted.

No matter how difficult learning a new language can be, language can bring people together. Even though one may choose to speak their own native language as comfort and connection with their culture, they will never be able to see joys and values that new country can bring by connecting and speaking to others of a different culture. Speaking the native language of a country will eliminate the confusion and wrong impressions others may feel when they hear an unfamiliar language.

I believe that choosing not to speak the native language of a country is choosing to not be connected with others. Language is communication that can connect and unify us all.