Language barriers

In the past few weeks, I've been having many conversations with people for whom English is not their first language. This has resulted in two thoughts.

The first, and most obvious, is that I really need to learn to speak another language. I can't converse in anything but english.

The second thought is about how I ask questions or respond in English. I'm learning not to use double negatives, choose simple words and make non-complex sentences. When I'm asked to repeat something, I repeat what I said, but then also rephrase it with different words. I try to enunciate, without shouting. And I speak slowly and deliberately without sounding patronizing. I do the same when I write to someone, but then I will use more difficult words, but still no complex sentence structures. It is a challenge, but I've really been enjoying it.

Recently, a new friend commented in spanish on one of my photos. I understood exactly what was said, but couldn't respond in Spanish. I figured there would be less confusion if she read the English. She wrote back in English. I really had hoped she would keep writing in Spanish. I'll learn more that way. But really, I need to try writing in Spanish instead.

But as outgoing as you all think I am, I'm still painfully shy. It is hard for me to speak another language, but the only way I will learn is to try.


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