I have an awesome friend in Japan who sent me a Sherlock manga for Christmas. It’s beautiful, soft cover, and came in the mail with twelve stamps—I almost felt like I was getting mail from the Weasleys. I haven’t taken the time to start really looking at the book yet, but sometimes one has econ homework. Blast.
But, fun fact, I don’t speak Japanese, much less read it.
And yet, I’m still excited.
What I think sometimes we misunderstand about languages is that we assume they are foreign merely because we do not speak them. This is silly. Certainly, it’s not my native language. And yes, it originates from another country, revolves around a different culture than mine, including the different slang, customs, and representations of a place I’ve never been.
Somewhere, though, I don’t think it’s that foreign to me.
I think of the language I am actually learning. Español. Tomo una clase de AP en las tardes con ocho otros estudiantes para practicar el idioma por clases en el futuro, y, quizás, viajes a los países hispanohablantes. Durante el verano, fui a la España con mi padre, a Madrid y Barce. Es un país hermoso, pero siempre puedo retarme en mi casa, también. En el año pasado, compré mi libro favorito en inglés para leerlo en español: HIVE, Escuela de Malhechores.
No entendía la mayoría del cuento. No me importaba. Es posible que el cuento haya sido tan familiar, pero también, la otra lengua me trajo otros pensamientos. Dichos. Vocabulario. Una perspectiva diferente.
And sure, I assume you might not speak Spanish. That’s okay. There may have been words that stuck out to you because they sound the same in English. Futuro means future. Surprise! Clase means class, practicar means practice—you get that there are cognates.
I don’t speak Japanese, but I expect that somehow, it’s not going to matter, completely. I have the help of the Internet to take a look at introductory characters, and a friend who lives in Japan to boot. Even then, it’s a manga so there are pictures.
Someone has made a meaning for me; I merely have to find it.
Yes, I have gotten an awesome gift. And sure, I won’t know everything. But when I was speaking in Spanish, did you think I had abandoned you forever?