Falling in Love With Language

After 6 months of stumbling over pronunciation, straining my ears, and enduring the pounding headaches that come with learning a language, I read out loud in English for probably one of the first times since coming here. I had been lying on my bed reading a book for my online English class when my host sister came in and asked if it was in English. When I said yes, she laid down on the other bed in the room and told me to read out loud.

I was a bit taken aback, it was a rather technical book and not a fast-paced novel in the slightest, but nonetheless I opened my mouth and started to read. My voice was hoarse, I tripped over my –ing’s and my –ed’s, and I even pronounced some words with an bad French accent. I was embarrassed by how awkward it felt and how terrible my English had gotten, but I kept on reading.

After a couple of paragraphs, a smile spread over my face. My tongue relaxed and I was home. The words flowed, and I understood. There was no question about the meaning of the sentence, or how a word should sound; I simply knew. Before I knew it, I had been reading for an hour. No one was listening, my host sister had fallen asleep and I was alone with my words.

I read quickly. I read slowly. I read. I understood. I enjoyed. I listened to the words float around me, my tongue flawlessly forming each and every one of them. I enunciated.  I mumbled.  I spoke. It was a feeling I’d missed, a feeling of total control. I’d forgotten how it felt to be confident in my language.

I fell in love. I fell in love all over again with words. I wrote a post earlier about the how hard fluency is, but every time I think about the difficulties of fluency I fall in love with my own language. There is something about your mother tongue that pulls at your heart; something that truly touches you. I've spent a lot of time ashamed of the fact that I only speak one language fluently. I've spent a lot of time ashamed of my country, but I'm done with that. I love my language, and I love my country. This year has made a patriot out of me. As much as I have, and will, try to change it, English will always be my mother tongue and the Land of the Brave will always be my motherland. 


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