Yoko meshi


Yoko meshi (noun) Origin: Japanese | The stress caused by speaking a foreign language.

Its hard translation is ‘boiled rice’ (meshi) and ‘horizontal (yoko) which will sort of mean as ‘a meal that’s eaten sideways’ — this metaphor actually refers to the fact that the Japanese write vertically instead of horizontally. Hence, the word yoko-meshi has a nice spin to it, doesn’t it?

An old topic for me.  I have nothing to add to this one-sided conversation except you should trust me when I say that I become super stressed when I have to speak in a foreign language professionally.  However, privately, learning bits of other languages has enhanced my life and travels to measures I cannot ever truly express.  The returns I have experienced by even knowing a few words in the language of the country I am visiting has caused laughs, misunderstandings, and deeper understandings and connections that have made my life so much better.  Connections I never would have made if I had let that yoko meshi steal my confidence and stress me out.  Push through it .. don’t give up.. make connections.

“A different language is a different vision of life.”
Federico Fellini

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”
Frank Smith

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.”
Rita Mae Brown

“He who knows no foreign languages knows nothing of his own.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.”
Geoffrey Willans

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
Nelson Mandela

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.”
Charlemagne

“Change your language and you change your thoughts.”
Karl Albrecht

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
Flora Lewis

“Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.”
Roger Bacon

“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Language is not a genetic gift, it is a social gift. Learning a new language is becoming a member of the club – the community of speakers of that language.”
Frank Smith

“Learn a new language and get a new soul.”
Czech Proverb

“A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.”
Gaston Bachelard

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”
Chinese Proverb

“One should not aim at being possible to understand but at being impossible to misunderstand.”
Marcus Fabius Quintilian

“A mistake is to commit a misunderstanding.”
Bob Dylan

Connections:  GSAL; Jan; Jo; OperationX; Lifestyle; Rivergirl; Nicholas; Ishita; James; Alina; Helen; Visha; Elizabeth

Sprachgefühl


Sprachgefühl (noun) Origin: German | A person who has the feel for a language.

This literally translates as ‘language feeling’ from compound nouns combining Sprache (language) and Gefühl (feeling). Basically, this does not only refer to a person who has a good understanding of foreign languages but also to a person who has intuitiveness for what is linguistically appropriate.

The truth is, I have no real understanding of foreign languages.  I do have a good understanding and am very intuitive to what people are saying, meaning, or wanting though. I’m perceptive to the needs of others.  Not always accommodating but very perceptive to what they want or need.

I have taken both Spanish and Nepali courses for work.  Nepali was easier for me because it was completely not logical and did not even use the U.S. alphabet but an easier form of Hindi.  I was also able to learn the Korean alphabet when I was in Korea. However, the Spanish language was and continues to be a struggle for me.  There is something about learning a very hard language that makes the teachers a little more forgiving and makes the learning more memorable.  

As you can see, I was a very diligent student.  However, few of the measures I took helped me learn the language.  I just do not have a mind for this type of thing.  I enjoyed the role playing, the music, the movies and I could always get the gist.  But the memorizing of nonsensical words in nonsensical sentences didn’t help me at all.  It was exhausting.

After 7 months of Spanish, a few weeks in Ecuador in a language program, and many folks doing their best to help me out, I was still confusing past, present, future, imperative, gender, words in general.  I think because Spanish is everywhere and you can make out so many of the words, i felt it would be so much easier.

For me it was not.  I cannot tell you how many times I would be telling someone a story about my childhood in Spanish, and the person would look at me and say, “Wait, me?  Wait, you?  Wait, who are you talking about?”  My feelings were that if you did not understand me completely, you should at least understand if you or I had done something.. work it out man.  When i tell you a story about being attacked by a seal…. do you really have to ask “who” was attacked by a seal? I mean, unless you were actually attacked by a seal then yes, that is a great question.  Anyways.  

Once I completed my language classes, I completely enjoyed every country I visited.  I loved being able to even partially communicate in any of the languages of the countries I visited.  It completely changed the travel experience. 

Also, even though I did not quite know all the words, I was able to tell jokes, laugh at jokes, sing along, and carry on broken conversations with just about anyone. I think that having a “feel” for a language is sometimes more important than to be able to speak it perfectly.  Sadly my bosses do not always agree with my philosophy .. and sure they are at least partly right.  I do know that I had fun and I do know that people had fun with me and sometimes at my expense for my communication errors.  In my world, that means total success.

I have been to many countries at this point and in many of the countries I never spoke the language at all.  I think if you looked at all of the pictures below, you would not be able to know which countries I understood and spoke the languages and which ones I did not.  For me, the understanding came with the smiles.  It came with laughing over common states of being.  It came from eating and drinking the same food and realizing that we all had some of the same joys and some of the same sadnesses. 

I am definitely classifiable as a Sprachgefühl … if that is even a classifiable state of being.  See, not even sure if this is a real word, but you feel me, right?

what does the dog say?   Rochelle; Ibonoco; varnika; Rosie; Troy; Debasis; Jim; Rebecca; helen; annette; libertatemamo; albigensia; Cherie; suzanne