Frank Smith said that one language sets you in a corridor for life, while two languages open every door along the way. And there is nothing more true – being able to communicate in a different language than just your native one will change your life in ways you would never imagine. We borrowed a few another quotes to give you a glimpse of it.
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
Nelson A. Mandela
Nelson Mandela knew what he was talking about. If you’ve ever travelled somewhere where people do not really speak your language, you know that getting even the smallest things done can be rather difficult. However, once you try to speak in their own language everything changes and locals will do anything for you. It’s because that by even trying to speak in a native language of another person you show respect – both to them and to their culture. At the same time, people respond differently to someone speaking in their native language – not only that it creates immediate sympathies but they also focus more on the content rather than on just trying to understand.
With languages you are at home anywhere.
Edmund de Waal
It does not matter if you are traveling around the world or living in a different country – if you don’t speak the local language you will always be just a tourist, a foreigner, an expat. You will never get into the local cultures as much as the locals, there will always be a barrier that you won’t be able to get across – simply because some things are impossible to translate. You can translate the words but unless you speak the different language you will not get the deeper meaning behind them. However, when you master the different language, you will see that this barrier disappears and you’ll be able to experience everything just as the locals do.
Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.
Johan Wolfgang von Goethe
Learning about different cultures is one thing. But there is much more behind learning languages than just that. Because it does not only make you aware about other cultures – it actually makes you able to understand your own. When you travel to different countries, it makes you able to see the differences, makes you realise the good and bad not just about foreign places but more importantly about your own country. And knowing another language is just the same – since knowing the language is a key to understanding a different culture, it is also the only way how to understand your own.