Today I read a TED Talk post written by Timothy Doner, “the world’s youngest hyperpolyglot.” Mr. Doner is able to speak more than 20 languages, all of which were learned primarily of his own accord. His story is fascinating for its insight into his learning methods, but, it becomes more meaningful when he realizes that while he will never be fluent in all of these languages he now understands “that language is about being able to converse with people, to see beyond cultural boundaries and find a shared humanity.”
Doner’s discovery lines up perfectly with the point of my KnowPlaceInTheWorld blog: we all share this planet and need to find ways to interact in a more humane way, both culturally and intellectually, in order to bring about a better shared life experience. Learning a language will take us a long way toward this goal because it opens up a line of communication. It also allows us to see another person’s point of view from their perspective. As I have learned Dutch and Spanish I have gained insights into the culture, politics, and history of the Netherlands and Spain, making it easier for me to see how and why they interact globally today. I encourage everyone to allow themselves the joy of learning another language and seeing how wide their eyes can open.
Here is a link to the TED Talk story by Timothy Doner. Please read, share, and comment here about your experiences with language learning and how it has influenced your life, even if you don’t use it much today for communication.