Saturday, September 24, 2011

Living a Bilingual Life

On Monday night I gave a presentation to the current Seattle Class and its parents Danish.

On Thursday afternoon I represented International Society at the AU-HIH Activity Fair and was able to talk to dozens of international university students who had recently arrived to Herning.... in English.

On Thursday night I, along with my team from 1Y, presented "all about the Gymnasium" to the first year students and their Danish.

It was a busy week with a lot of TALKING, but on Thursday night, as I stood before those parents and students telling them about our school in my own version of Danish, I realized something as I looked out across their faces. It was the same realization that I had Monday night as I looked out at those faces and on Thursday as I talked, face to face, with all those students.

I really do live in an international community where ALL KINDS of LANGUAGE are accepted and valued.

The students and parents of Herning Gymnasium know that my Tex-Jydsk is a bit odd and not quite like anything they have ever heard before; just like I know that as I stand and chat with university students from Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Lithuania, Spain, and South Africa (just to name a few) that their form of English is different than mine, and often not like something I have heard before. But NO MATTER WHAT, we understand each other.

And we (AS THE SPEAKER) get such a gift when we see understanding and clarity on the face(s) of the listener(s). It is such a validating feeling. I assured those parents on Thursday night that during our three years together, my Danish WILL get better; just as those international students taking a bachelor's degree in English will also improve their English skills, but even after three years, we will all still sound a bit "different" and unique... and isn't that a WONDERFUL thing?


Annemette Kuhlmann said...

Yes, it is a wonderful thing - and so important to remember when you feel your cheeks blush from messing up in your second(third or fourth) language that is ok (or even charming;o) and that differences makes the world colorful.

TexaGermaFinlaNadian said...

It is such a great thing. I loved that first feeling I got when I could totally do everything in German and people would have no problem understanding me. No better feeling! Now, Finnish, well that is a whole 'nother story :)

Anonymous said...

Language is such a gift!

Unknown said...

Very wonderful. I have never really looked at it this way before. Leave it you to point me in a positive direction towards not being perfect, and realizing I will never be perfect, at a new language :)