Learning a new language

Biang biang noodles

Learning a new language is very exciting. The most thrilling moment for me when I was studying Italian was when I discovered that through the language I could get some insights into the psyche of the Italian people. This is because language forms the most significant part of a people’s culture. When we learn a people’s language, we usually also get acquainted with their culture. Language is the bridge to a people’s psyche and their way of life.  Being able to cross that bridge is in fact the basis for effective cross-cultural communication.

Learning Chinese enables us to understand Chinese people and their culture. For instance there is an underlying belief that language must not only be functional but also beautiful for the Chinese. The importance placed on the beauty of things is intrinsic in Confucianism, which is still very much the foundation of Chinese culture. it has survived regardless of what political systems used by Chinese all over the world.

Verbose-A complex Chinese characterOne of the beliefs central to Confucian thinking is the concept of learning how to be human. Part of this process is learning how to cultivate the beauty within ourselves and outside in the physical environment. When we learn how to appreciate beauty, we also learn to listen to the voice of our soul. Thus in the Chinese language much emphasis is put on learning how to do calligraphy and write poetry. In its spoken form, language should be refined, and words should be strung together to be musical. This is of course very much related to right brain functioning. In this sphere of the brain lies our feelings.

When we learn Chinese, it is best to do it with both your head(intellect) and with your heart (feelings). In this way, you achieve a whole brain approach bringing together your yin  and your yang, the feminine and the masculine in all of us.

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