Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Nothing is weird but just a little different

by : 

I love that when learning a new foreign language, I seem to discover a new way of thinking and, most importantly, a new way of relating to people.

When learning another language, you also immerse yourself in another culture and this teaches you other ways of doing life. You learn to accept other peoples’ behaviour better and start to value the fact that learning about another culture and embracing different customs helps you appreciate more your own.

I am currently living in Vibo Valentia in Southwest Italy. Most people here are very friendly and like to chat (anywhere and anytime).  Every time my work colleagues and I say goodbye to each other, I seem to be the only one rushing to leave to get to my next appointment. Everyone else stays even after they have said their goodbyes more than twice.

At first, I couldn't understand why my colleagues would continue chatting  after they had formally said goodbye.  However, after having spent over a week here, I have learnt that staying behind to chat is the way local people show they are interested in you and that is quite nice!

I am, slowly, learning to be more flexible with my schedule and I, now, make sure I have plenty of time between appointments so I can join conversations without having to constantly be in a rush.


Do you think it's important to try to learn about the culture of a country when you're learning a language? 


Silvermist's picture
Silvermist 14 October, 2015 - 14:49

Obviously, to speak a language is to take on a world, a culture. For example, I learn french as well as English as a foreign language, and through it I have discovered a whole new wold, and it is amazing to glide through the world, To conquer language is to conquer culture curz language is the key to the hearts of people. " a different language is a different vision of life"

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AngelaE-Olano's picture
AngelaE-Olano 15 October, 2015 - 12:08

Federico Fellini sums it up really well  "A different language is a different vision of life."

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Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 14 October, 2015 - 14:17

Of course!
Linguists often talk about language as an object, but language we use is all about our identity, it's about who I am, where I grew up and the community/people whom I belong to. So, I think it's quite natural that once people start to learn other language, they get interested in its culture as well.
By the way, I'm just wondering whether people chat for a long time because they are interested in others? Not necessarily… I think people want to chat because they want someone to get interested in 'myself'. Weird enough, many of my class mates are very busy for replying texts on their social network, because I heard there was an implicit rule that if one fails to reply in a blink, that person will be ignored from the chatting community. It sound ridiculous to me! We should be more independent and respect each other's time and space! Perhaps, I would be ignored and kicked out from a community at sight, since I'm to lazy to fall in line with other people……. :|

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sanpai28's picture
sanpai28 14 October, 2015 - 12:39

Of course!!! It's important to try to learn about the culture of a country when you're learning a language because if you use and combine your knowledge about that culture with your language learning, you will be able to flow yourself quickly in that country's society with very little difficulties. I also think that natives will admire and appreciate you much more if you show them that you know much about their culture in chatting with them, than chatting with a lack of that knowledge.
Your blog is so interesting that you showed us the advantages of learning a foreign language together with that foreign culture, AngelaE-Olano! :)

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gianggiang's picture
gianggiang 14 October, 2015 - 11:57

I think it is very important to learn about the culture of a country when we are learning a foreign language. For instance, in my country,people often have very big lunch but Canadians usually eat sandwiches for lunch or Vietnamese people usually shake hands instead of kisses and hug when they haven't seen each other for a long time. And it is very normal to ask someone's age and religion in Vietnam but this can make people in other countries feel uncomfortable. So, in my opinion, learning about culture of a country is necessary.
[Uhm.. There are no exercises here. What a pity!
I am very interested in this essay.

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