08 June 2010

Language and Culture

There is something about travelling and living abroad that opens your eyes. You "see" the world in general in a different way. Certainly, you learn more about the country you are visiting, but an interesting aspect to me is how much you learn about your *own* country.

My home country is the United States. I have been slow travelin' and living in Costa Rica for over 4 years. I am planning a long trip to France. A big part of my journey has been learning Spanish, and now French. The Spanish language has nuances that, when understood, can help you understand the Costa Rican culture better. I expect that as I learn more French, I will understand more about the French culture as well. When you first see the mental flash that a particular nuance provides in another language, you compare that aspect of the culture to your home culture (and to other cultures that you have learned about). You really think about a part of your culture that you never even noticed before.

Some of these discoveries are pleasing, some are disappointing, but all are interesting.

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