Unlocking Cultures

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. - Nelson Mandela

In the Canadian Film, Jesús de Montreal, many of the characters are vibrant, funny, passionate french speaking Canadian women. Near the end of the movie, they have to take a friend to an anglophone hospital. English is not their first language, so when they arrive at the hospital they have to speak slowly, with accents, and non-idiomatically.

When they switched to an unfamiliar language, they lost the charm that made them so likeable. They became shadows of themselves.

To consume a culture’s translated works or to talk to someone in their non-native language means to view that culture through a veiled curtain. We can only understand the full picture when we understand the language.

April 29, 2022


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