Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Joy of Language

*Collaborative post
Image credit: Pxhere

There is something about reading that is so compelling that you can’t stop and when a book ends you have a small period of sadness that you couldn’t continue on with the characters. As human beings, we are all obsessed by stories whether they come in book form or as films or radio shows. We love to know more about each other and even invent characters to explore issues and topics too.

As social animals, language is what drives us together, keeps us happy and allows us greater access to understanding the world as we see it but also how other people see it. In short, language is a true joy that should not be underestimated.

Communication Makes Us Happy

If you have ever spent time alone then you will understand how detrimental it can be to your health. Humans are social creatures and even if you think that you like being a hermit, after a day or two in solitary confinement, you will almost certainly be going a bit stir crazy.

In fact, communication is so important that you shouldn’t limit your chatter to friends and acquaintances. Talking to strangers is a good way to boost your mood and even seems to improve our social interactions with loved ones as well. This is quite surprising given that modern society can feel so cold, especially in large cities like London.

But, try chatting to the person next to you on the bus and see what happens. Even in London, you can almost guarantee that they will respond.

We are Built to Learn Languages

Learning to speak comes naturally to the vast majority of children. The brain seems to be programmed and ready to accept the languages it is exposed to from a young age and children are definitely more adept at learning new languages than adults. Though we tend to teach languages by memory and rote, it is clear that children learn through mimicry and experimentation, learning the rules naturally rather than uniformly. Understanding this is the foundation of learning a new language and courses such as the Effortless English Club utilize this method over others.

Interestingly, people who have multiple languages tend to think differently in each language as the tone lends itself to a particular frame of mind. This is intriguing because polyglots also seem to use these different languages to hop from idea to idea, choosing the language that fits, rather than the one we have. It rather suggests that though language is what we have to arrange our thoughts, it is also affecting what those thoughts are in the first place.

Telling Stories

So what do we do with all this skill? We tell stories and we consume stories all the time.

A big part of the joy of storytelling and reading is being able to vicariously experience something completely different to what you know and understand about the world. It gives you the ability to empathise with someone you have never met and probably will never meet and the sensation of forging a connection between the two of you.

Language connects us all.

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