You Say Tomato

Today I was listening to a story on NPR about being bi- and tri-lingual (the joke is that una-lingual folks are called Americans). ìLearning a second language is not necessarily required or expected of students in America — but virtually everywhere else in the world, it is. What factors determine what second languages Americans choose to learn?î

I also recently read a piece on Brian McLarenís blog on ìWhat is Post-Modernism?î which I found to be really wordy and text-booky: that might float some peoplesí boats, but blogs are more palatable for my gnat-sized attention span if theyíre conversational. But I thought about how people are kind of stuck on this whole ìmodern/post-modernî thing. I realized that itís almost a cultural thing – it doesnít restrict itself to a certain age group, but rather itís a way of perceiving and interacting with the world. If I donít speak Chinese, am I going to have a hard time speaking with a Chinese person? Probably. Will there be cultural things that donít translate or make sense? I would think so. But are we made of the same ìstuffî with the same desires and basic needs – physical, emotional, and spiritual? You bet ya.

So, with this whole new church/emerging conversation/modern & post-modern mindset jive, am I taking time to learn the other personís language? To realize that things (even basic things like the word ìchurchî which to some is a building and to others is a group of Christís followers) donít always translate evenly? Maybe before I dive into hefty conversations that could cause some miscommunication and frustration, I should take a deep breath and ask myself if Iím being bi-lingual.

How many languages do you speak? How did you pick them up? What’s your native tongue?

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