Learning a foreign language is both a frustrating and liberating experience.
We can focus on the frustration of not understanding the words the way we understand our mother tongue. Or we can realize that without the words, we are free to fall back on other ways of capturing and understanding meaning.
A crying baby can be soothed by words it does not yet understand, because she senses what’s behind the sounds, lets the meaningless melody cradle her to sleep…
Similarly, we don’t always have to know what’s behind the words, as long as we make an effort to understand the meaning behind the sounds.
Hearing a foreign language brings us back to that wordless world the way we experienced it as a newborn, before we tried so hard to put everything within and around us into language.
It makes us remember, there’s more to life than our words will ever allow us to express. And somehow, that’s a soothing thought.