Something which has fascinated me for quite some time is this shared feeling many of us have, a feeling of internal friction. A part of us is pulled towards wanting to feel unique and feel like an individual, while the other pushes us to want to fit in and conform.
And so both forces, (as Yoda would say) act in opposite directions, leaving us in this stationary state where we stand shoulder to shoulder with one another in no man’s land. Not knowing whether to put a foot forward or backward, to hold the person’s hand beside us or to stand alone. Being human feels like much more than being flesh and bone, than having a soul. Societal baggage comes along for the ride, an additional freebie that no one is thankful for (well, at least not all of the time).
To give a bit of context: I was listening to a podcast several days ago by a Spanish man who helps others learn the Spanish language through informal story telling (which is great, I think). And within the first 10 minutes of this particular episode he mentioned how your aim when learning a language shouldn’t be about wanting to ‘ sound like a native’ yet instead the focus should be on ensuring that you speak with clarity and that the message of which you are trying to convey is understood. So less about perfecting the accent and more about achieving clear communication.
This was a notable point in my mind, because it’s true, so many advertisements I see about languages always seem to be promoting the measure of success of language acquisition as being equated to sounding perfectly like a native.
But is it really that important to sound like a native? No. Because then you are not sounding like yourself. Your accent + new language = a unique accent that nobody else on the planet could ever have. This is a special thing. We shouldn’t be trying to change our charms.
His words resonated with me on many levels. If everybody aimed to sound the same and look the same we would lose any uniqueness, any quirks. Diluting ourselves is essentially losing ourselves I think.
Anyhow, maybe I should lay off the herbal teas before bedtime……….