The Beauty of Language is ConfusionDublin, Spring 2013
Dublin has surprised me in so many ways. The diversity here is absolutely incredible! I can walk down Rathmines Road and find Lebanese restaurants, an Italian Cafe, a cute tea shop, and a Brazilian cafe. People from all over the world seem to be flocking to Dublin, and I don’t blame them! It’s a wonderful place to be, and it’s not just because of the great food. One of my flatmates happens to be from Mexico. She is an international student at a university in the United States. I have loved living with her because she shares so much about her culture with my other flatmates and I. She’s taught us to make salsa and shrimp tacos one night, and they were absolutely delicious! In our classes, we often share with our professors experiences in the US that may be relevant to what we are discussing about Ireland, and she always offers a differing and enlightening perspective about what it is like in Mexico. I am learning so much from her. The other night, my flatmates and I were sitting at our table attempting to do some homework. Spring break was starting the next day, and we were all very distracted and excited about our excursions. My flatmate from Mexico was watching some silly videos online, and she was attempting to explain to us why they were so funny. When she explains things to us, sometimes she has trouble finding the right word she wants to use in English. Because Spanish is her native tongue, translations can be difficult and it isn’t always the same to use a different word in another language to convey exactly what you want to say. Her English is amazing and she also speaks German! But she will always say, “what is the word in English you would use…” Usually, my flatmates and I know what she means. But the other night when this happened, we just started laughing. She said something that really stuck with me, “The beauty of language is confusion.” She couldn’t be more correct! I love going to a new place and discovering how someone else’s language is different from mine. Just walking down the streets in Dublin, I hear more than just English and Irish–I’ll hear bits of Polish, French, German, and occasionally Arabic! Even all the street signs are in English and Irish since both of them are the official languages of Ireland. I’m fascinated by language and how translations work. I took French in high school, and we would always read literary works in French. If we had to translate, the direct meaning in English was never quite the same or as eloquent as it sounded in the native tongue. Language is baffling to me–I love diversity and it’s amazing that you can find it in the words that someone is speaking. I’m truly grateful for my flatmate sharing her wisdom with me even though she might not have realized how important is was to me! Have you ever had a moment like mine when you realized just how awesome our diversity in language is?
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