Language Barrier or New Door?

Couple of weeks ago when I was in London, I really realized how much of an advantage it is that I can speak other languages than only my own.

As a girl from Finland, you will learn at least two to three other languages than our native. I can understand that that it’s necessary because there’s not so many of us in the world and Finnish isn’t the easiest language to learn in the first place. But you don’t think about the whole thing at all unless you move away from there.

I remember when I was about to move to Germany, that I was thinking that surely because it’s located in the middle of Europe, my skills will come in handy… But how wrong was I and how big of a shock it really was! Main problem was that from those four languages that I knew, German was not one. And yes, I moved here without any plans or knowing the language. Something you just have to jump and fly.

When I moved here, I was all stoked to learn German, but most of my friends wanted to practice their English and my German never got any where, and then when I met my boyfriend, well let’s just say that I manage to find the only one probably who is amazing at English…

Then when I got depressed and the real culture shock kicked in, I just hated everything about Germany, including the language. It has pretty much taken this long, almost two years, for me to start really wanting to learn the language. I’m trying, but German is not too easy either… But it’s better to try than give up!

Coffeeshop table

To the point why I wanted to write this piece is, when I was in London, one day we were in this super nice coffee shop and I was paying the most amazing RED VELVET CHEESECAKE BROWNIE! Sorry, but it was capslock good! 😉 So I was paying it, and I was all confused about the English coins and was just messing about and just gave the whole punch to the nice guy to check it. He was checking my coins and was giving me some euro coin back and we were talking about them, and I said that I’m not used to pounds. And he asked where I am from, so I explained my these days normal “I’m originally from Finland but I live in Germany” thing. Note: I have somehow became all Finnish after I moved away from there haha, don’t you go and try to mistake me for German :D.

THAT RED VELVET CHEESECAKE BROWNIE!!

THAT RED VELVET CHEESECAKE BROWNIE!!

SO, we were talking and I was asking where he’s from and he was from Sweden… So, I told him that oh dang, I’m born there haha, and he asked if we could speak Swedish :D. And I was like, “SURE”! And there we were chatting away and then said bye and I enjoyed my delicious brownie with a huge smile on my face!

The thing is that I think I made him really happy with some Swedish which he probably don’t get to speak every day there, and he made me really happy by saying that I look more Swedish than Finnish, and if you know, then you know that that is a good thing to hear ;).

But I also realized that in my every day life I speak three languages all the time in someway. Finnish to my dog and to myself (thinking included), English with my boyfriend and friends (thinking too), and Germany as much as I can or have the chance. That’s two more than most in the whole world. At first I was a bit freaked out but then I realized how seriously blessed I am.

Another funny moment in London was at our shake out run, when lovely NBRO ladies were speaking Danish to each other and I could understand some of it :).

In Finland you usually know at least some English when you go to school as all in TV and everywhere is in original language. But this “normal” thing here, that everything is dubbed and you never even by accident don’t learn any other language is really scary and sad, and I think in many ways harming. Because the school system is different so you don’t learn languages in a way as we, and there’s 80 million people here on the same size of land that Finland is and has around 5,5 million. Basically, you never have to learn because there’s so many of you that well yeah…

But this also made me yearn more, as in move somewhere else where I can really put my skills to use. Let’s see what happens.

Oh, and the languages I know are: Finnish (obviously), Swedish, English, French and now slowly German.

I don’t know how you feel about this matter but I am interested to hear your opinions. So I would say that this skill set gives me new doors to walk through, I hope :).

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Language Barrier or New Door?

  1. A friend of mine works in a call centre, and she was speaking to one person with fragmented English, when it came up in conversation that he speaks four languages. It occurred to her at that point how many people would condescend to him because of his English, in a country where few of us speak more than one language. It was the one thing that embarrassed me about being Australian when I was in Europe, that I was one of the few monolingual people there. But I tried! And I did pick up a bit.

    • I heard from couple other people how they feel embarrassed to only know one language, but mostly they were people who only spoke English. I feel that here in Germany, people don’t really feel that it’s any kind of problem to only know German… The point is, I think knowing more than one language is always good. And I know that you tried and studied, so you got something there! 🙂

  2. that’s AMAZING that you can speak 4 languages!!! I can barely understand french and it’s our second national language!!!! You continue to amaze my friend! Hope we get to meet soon. Perhaps in Copetopia!! lol.

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