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What would your life be like if you had never learned a language?

What would your life be like if you had never learned a language?

The language learning method used by Language Institute Regina Coeli ensures that you learn to speak a foreign language quickly and effectively. The institute's highly qualified trainers teach you the skills, vocabulary and grammar that you need for your specific situation, so you can immediately start communicating in your new language.

We often struggle with grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation when learning a foreign language. In addition, we have to take culture into account - things such as the tone of the message - to convey what we want to say. Should it be formal or informal, direct or not? Young children, especially those of expats, seem to do all of this with ease. They often speak effortlessly in one language with their father and in another language with their mum.

Language intensifies how you experience the world

The most important thing is that children learn to express themselves well in whatever language they may speak, and the same goes for adults. A good command of language, especially an expansive range of vocabulary, broadens, deepens and intensifies how you experience the world.

Just as the development of our taste buds allows us to taste the fuller characteristics of wine - not only "fresh" or "acidic", but also "citrus fruit", "oak", "smoke" or "leather" - the substantial command of a language brings more depth and colour to our experience of the world.

Language broadens, deepens and intensifies how you experience the world.

We need to be able to talk about ourselves. The language of our inner worlds, in which we express our deepest and innermost desires, feelings, thoughts, memories and fantasies, must be able to drift freely.

That is also the idea behind the statement of philosopher Peter Bieri (better known by his pseudonym, Pascal Mercier). In 2011, he said that when you describe the sea, it becomes even more beautiful:

"I love (...) the sea deeply. But the sea becomes even more lively and beautiful when you describe how it looks, how it was yesterday, how it changes colour. Most people (...) say: “you swim in the sea; the water is cold”. That is true, but if you really talk about the sea, it takes on an entirely different dimension. You experience the sea very differently." 

Locked up in your inner world…

The same can happen when we are troubled by something, some vague or indefinable feeling, something brewing just beneath the surface that we cannot put our finger on. Then we read something somewhere or hear someone say something and we realise that that was exactly what we meant but had not (yet) been able to put into words.

Who has not been around a small child throwing a tantrum or frustratedly sobbing and repeating some undecipherable word, when all the while the child did not understand that the people with whom they were trying to communicate did not understand that they meant ‘doggie’? That wee child is "locked up" in his inner world.

An American professor of linguistics often began his introductory lectures by asking his students what ability they would find the worst to lose. The answers were mainly things like, "If I had to choose, I would rather be blind than deaf," or vice versa.

None of the students spontaneously replied that the ability they would miss most would be their language ability. Yet, wrote the professor, if you are born blind or deaf, you can still have a rich social life. You can have friends, start a family, get an education and find employment. But what would your life be like if you had never learned a language?

A life without language

Without language, we cannot perceive, we cannot experience, we cannot understand ourselves or the world; therefore, we cannot communicate with others. We cannot unlock our inner world.

Author Marjolein Kuperus is a lawyer, philosopher and writer. She works as a Dutch language trainer at Language Institute Regina Coeli and guest lecturer in philosophy, as well as a writing teacher for lawyers in particular. Do you want to know more about the Regina Coeli method? Contact Language Institute Regina Coeli for more information!

Marjolein

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Marjolein Kuperus

Marjolein Kuperus (1964) is a lawyer, philosopher and writer. She works as a Dutch language trainer at Language Institute Regina Coeli and guest lecturer in philosophy, as well as a writing...

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