Saturday, May 12, 2012

The language barrier

Over the past years I've read an indecent amount of texts about identity, about communication and about language. Your language is the most important tool you use when you're making sense of the world around you - how would thoughts be without the actual words and names? And yet, I had to move away from my own home country and into a whole new world to realize how much my language means to me.

I do not at all consider myself as incompetent when it comes to the English language - I read and write the language at a university level, and hell, I even have a blog where I try to communicate in English every now and then. And yet, it's like I'm only able to express a selected part of my personality when I'm using English. It's as if I have another 10 % of me that's not getting across. On top of that, I live in a country where Arabic by far is the preferred language. I'm picking up more words and expressions as the days go by, but at this moment I'm quite sure most of my messages in Arabic get across due to my excessive hand-waving, rather than my vocabulary.

The funny thing though, is that when I go back to Norway and my mother tongue, it'll probably only take me hours before I begin grasping for the words I want, and substituting them with English ones. Or Arabic. My languages are a mess. I like it. But it's messy.
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