Language barrier

English is one of the toughest languages to learn. This is almost universally agreed upon.

You know what’s even tougher? Learning proper English when you’ve spent your entire life speaking and writing in American English.

British English is almost as different from American English as any two other languages you could pick. The grammar is different. The punctuation is different. The slang is different. The spellings of some of the same words are different. As an American reading British writing (for the charity anthology project I’m working on–with primarily British writers), it can be frustrating. Is this a misspelling or just a cultural difference? What the heck is this word? What the fuck does this even mean?

For the writers of the anthology, one of our functions is to critique the other writers’ works. This critique process helps to clean up first drafts, second drafts, etc. It also gives the author of each piece a different perspective of how the piece reads. It’s a great process, and it has improved my writing immensely. However, as a “foreigner” when it comes to British English, I feel as though I’m trying to critique a short story/poem/etc that’s written in Greek or Spanish.

Granted, I’ve learned quite a lot about British English through this project. When I watch a British television show I’m not quite as lost at some points as I may otherwise be. It’s quite interesting to see the differences in two languages that are supposed to be the same language. No wonder it’s considered one of the toughest languages to learn. You can learn British English fluently, then take a trip to America and suddenly feel as though you don’t know English at all (or vice versa).

Since I’m partially bilingual (I know Spanish well enough to converse with the Mexican patients at work and we can largely understand each other, but I don’t consider myself fluent), does my newfound knowledge of British English make me actually trilingual? It’s a fascinating concept.

Not everyone likes the same things as you (and that’s okay)

It happens. You get excited about something that you love, and you want to share it with the people you know. We’ve all done it. But what do you do when the people you care about don’t care about the same things you do?

Nothing. You don’t do a damn thing, and I’ll tell you why: because they have every right not to like something, just like you have every right not to like something that they like.

It’s called diversity. When people hear diversity, they think of things like race, religion, and gender (most often you hear about it in the context of the workplace), but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about human beings in general being a diverse people. We are each one of us unique, with our own likes and dislikes. No one thing, no matter how great it is, is going to make everyone happy. No book, TV show, recipe, political view…not a damn thing can do that. And that’s okay.

We live in a society where like-minded individuals congregate, which is great, but even like minds do not necessarily share all of the same likes and dislikes.

We are individual. We are unique. We are human.

And that’s okay.