The Gifts of Speech

Michael - Wellesley, Massachusetts
Entered on March 16, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

What is talking? Technically speaking, it is just noise, it is a series of different noises put together in a certain order to convey ideas, emotions and suggestions. But from the first grunt of a prehistoric caveman, language has become so much more than just noise. People express their selves through language, they convey their thoughts through it, and I believe that I should understand them. Every since my dad took me on a four day business trip to Germany last year, I have held this belief dear. So many times people tried to talk to me and so many times I could barely understand their German, it was frustrating. At one point I was reading in the hotel room, and the maid came in. She began speaking German, as if I could understand. I know now that she had wanted to clean the room and that I could have stayed in the room while she cleaned, but instead I assumed I was being kicked out, so I left to read in the lobby. And the thing with Germans is that they smoke. A lot. I spent nearly an hour sitting in the smoke filled, German speaking lobby attempting to read, and the whole time I could have stayed in the room. Upon returning to America, I buried myself in my German textbook, getting ahead of my German class so that I would be able to understand the next German maid who tried to save me from a smoky fate. In addition to taking German at school, I picked up Japanese, French, Chinese, and Spanish, because I want to be understood and I want to be able to understand. What would the world be like if people didn’t talk? If people couldn’t understand each other? Would we even know each other? Imagine a world with no books, no lyrical songs, no speech. Our world certainly would not be as interesting without it’s diversity of foreign tongues. I think I can say that I believe in the gifts language has to offer. Everyone deserves to have their chance at being understood by the world, and I want to be a part of it.