Feeling Multilingual

My native language is German and my daily language is English. Living in both worlds comes with a lot of benefits, but one thing I struggling with, is to express thoughts consistently in one language.

This week we hosted our European user group and I was trying to express our promise, which includes the term ‘Care’. That term has such a fundamental different meaning in German (‘k├╝mmern’). So we settled on ‘Wertsch├Ątzung’.

Feeling and thinking something in one language and expressing it in another is such an interesting, sometimes scary experience.

One participant at our event spoke with an accent and was initially hard to understand. Over time I got into it and could even ‘feel’ a deep humor in some statements that wouldn’t be possible without the accent. It was such a great experience but also reminder about our biases.

I have such a deep appreciation for people that are able to transport their message across languages and cultures. And for those that put their biases aside and listen with an open mind and heart.

My thoughts, ideas, even dreams switch easily between languages. It makes my emotional life better, easier and richer. Just try to explain ‘Zeitgeist’ in English or the unlimited flexibility of ‘appreciate’ in German. Sometimes I would love for my environment to ‘feel’ my thoughts.

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