Saturday, June 6, 2009

Language first

Few weeks ago, I met a Japanese guy called Hajime in an hotel. He was working for the government of Japan as deputy director for management, as written on his business card.

He was studying French for four years and I must say I was impressed by his sophisticated sentences, the structure of his questions and his use of French expressions ! As for me, I was learning Japanese on my own for weeks since I found a simple and great website (in French) from which I was printing out pages and pages of Japanese lessons in order to study in the subway. Hajime was thrilled to hear me say "watashi no shumi wa eiga wo mirukoto des", literally "my favourite hobby is to watch movies"!

I've been thinking about language for a while and was glad to find someone interested in that question, especially someone so far from my own culture and language. The fun part was when he tried to pronounce the sound "e" in French and was surprised to know that I couldn't hear the difference between his "e" and "ou". Then, a bit frustrated, he looked at me and said : "But you know, this sound doesn't exist in Japanese, I can't pronounce it !". Sounds surreal.

That's where the conversation went deeper. I discovered something while he was explaining how his language was built. I discovered that digging this question, questionning him about structure, rythm, sounds, meaning, was a way to know his mind, how he thinks, what makes him who he is. Being interested in that makes us more tolerant. And it's fascinating.

It's a door that leads to people's mind. How they apprehend the world, how they understand it, how they express it.

This first post is my introduction. Not so far from our topic. I picked the extreme because that's where this blog begins, with the language, the one I'm using right now to reach you.

The American mind remains a mystery to me even though I keep being inspired, pushed, questioned, challenged, moved by it. I'll be glad to "dissect" my French brain on this blog, share my gurus, seek inspiration, talk business, answer comments, spread what I find, bring difference.

Let's my guts talk.

1 comment:

  1. The American mind confuses me too.

    ...and I am one.

    Does that mean I am confused by my own mind?


    "Chris is Starving!"