If you know me, you’d know that I speak several foreign languages and I can learn and memorize new words, phrases and syntagms with quite ease. I finished highschool program that had emphasis on languages and did my Bachelor Degree in Italian and Portuguese Language and Literature.
I hear quite a lot “oh, you are so good at languages! you have such a talent for words!”
Well, let me tell you that I don’t think that is true at all.
I was exposed to English since I was 3 years old as my parents enrolled me in kindergarden that taught English from an early age, but I sucked at it for a looong time.
Early on drawing was more my thing and when I started to go to school I was really good at maths and science stuff, not thinking much about words and languages and all of that. But, then I discovered books, and liberating feeling they gave me as they allow me to fly away, leave the reality I wasn’t quite satisfied and entertained with and discover so much of the world, psychology, human nature and language. I guess that’s how I first developed sensibility for words, subtle nuances in phrases, rhythm and figures, construction of the sentences - I read and read and read and then I started to write as I felt I found a tool for expressing myself that I didn’t own before.
Being a sensitive child with rich and turbulent inner life, it was so releasing to finally be able to put down my feelings and opinions, express them through words, let them be seen and exposed to others - as I’ve never felt quite comfortable talking.
And you can just imagine what kind of excitement overflew me as I realized that I am not only limited to the words of my native language, but that there are so many amazing languages out there, with words and terms that don’t have an equivalent in my own! So much more space for expression! So much more opportunity to shape and form who I want to be!
I saw languages as some kind of outfit, uniform, or even mask - by switching the language I am speaking in I can become a new person, a new version of myself. And when I get bored with one version, when I feel like I used certain words too many times, when I feel as they have become too heavy with emotion and additional meanings, I know it is time to go for the next language.
I guess it is quite difficult to explain and even more so for you to understand, but I strongly believe foreign languages saved me in some way. Try to think of it this way. We all speak our mother tongue and not just that - how we form and pronounce words is very specific and depends on our origins and part of the country we live in. We speak that specific version of our mother tongue from the very early age and it marks us, it gives tone to our thoughts, it gives rhythm and colour to our words. It becomes a vessel for the content that is our opinions, feelings, thoughts etc. When we switch the vessel, content doesn’t intrinsically change, but we can get a new perspective on it. We may see new patterns and colors that we weren’t able to see before - we get deeper insight into our psyche and more profound way to understand all aspects of ourselves.
Further on, every language has its own energy and contrary to the popular opinion that we should learn the most spoken languages or those that would be useful for our career, I believe we should choose to study languages that we feel drawn to - because there is a reason we are drawn to them and even though we may not know that reason right now and rationally don’t even fancy the language so much - the reason will reveal itself when the time comes.
Besides English, the first foreign language I studied was French. I remember like yesterday me as a 10 year-old arguing with my parents as I wanted to choose French instead of German in school and them saying how German is more useful and this and that and finally winning the battle and starting to study French in small group of 4 classmates.
I fell in love with it so much and it led me to some beautiful French poetry that was pillow for my soul during many melancholic nights through school days. Then Italian happened, which I was really resistant to at the beginning, but with time the purpose of me getting fluent in Italian revealed itself and I found it so magical. I find it so magical and unexplainable what each language I dive into brought to my life and it continues to amaze me. I won’t be getting into all the miracles that came through me immersing myself in a language because this post will turn into a book, but those who know me know very well about all of that. The last language I was mysteriously drawn to was Portuguese and what can I say - I live and study in Portugal now, I found my soulmate in a Portuguese man and I feel at home in this country as I never felt before in Croatia.
I am excited about the next language I am about to dive into and what different worlds it will reveal to me. I feel it will be some Scandinavian language but I am still waiting for the exact direction and message about which language it should be, which language my soul craves to speak in during the next phase of my life.
Stay well, my friends.
Lots of love,