Fragment: Languages

To love a person is to learn the language of that person’s heart.

There are as many languages as there are people.

Our capacity to learn languages is endless.

9 Comments on “Fragment: Languages”

  1. I think loving someone is not about learning the language of their heart, but rather looking for the language of God’s heart within them, and then teaching them their True language. Most men’s hearts suffer from a guttural and barbaric language of the heart, since we’re all descended from Babel. We live in an age in which we believe that the most important thing to us is the language of OUR heart, and nothing could be further from the truth. To love others is to teach their heart the language of Love. If we think “Love” is simply learning the language of others’ hearts, we fall into sentimentality. Our hearts are looking for the Living Word, and our love must not be content with learning the primitive language of men’s hearts, but rather seeing within them signs of the language of our Father, which we, and they, have lost. To love others is to give them the Logos, and then teach them how to speak their heart’s true language.

    I think this is no place more important than in our sexuality.

  2. debora gorton says:

    I like that. that we may be saying the same thing but in our own language. our problem is also shutting up all our language-ing and do some listening.

  3. Christine says:

    An interesting analogy.

    In the field of linguistics, much has been discovered about how we learn language. We are born with the capacity to learn any language and to distinguish all sounds that all languages make. As we grow older, we lose some of this ability to make and distinguish sounds in other languages. Most native English speakers cannot hear the difference between an aspirated ‘p’ and an unaspirated ‘p.’ (When you speak a word with an aspirated ‘p’, when you say the ‘p’ breath will come out which you could feel on your hand if you were to hold it in front of your mouth. When you speak a word with an unaspirated ‘p,’ no breath comes out. The ‘p’ in ‘top’ is aspirated; the ‘p’ in pot is not.) Speakers of some other languages hear these as distinct sounds. Coming from speaking a language like English that does not differentiate these sounds, it can be hard to learn and understand a language that makes this distinction.

    Likewise, we can lose our ability to make certain sounds. The extreme example of this is click languages in Africa. If you don’t grow up speaking them, it is difficult or impossible to learn how to make the click sounds if you try to learn those languages as an adult.

    (Sorry, as you can probably tell by now, I’m a bit of a language nerd.)

    I wonder if this would apply to your analogy of learning the language of someone’s heart. The languages most similar to our own would be easiest to learn. Due to our own biochemical makeup, life experiences, or even our own choices, we may find other people’s languages difficult to learn and impossible to learn to hear and respond fluently. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, or that we won’t find anything in those languages that we can understand, but it does mean we’ll have more trouble learning the heart languages of some people than those of others.

    1. Christine says:

      Oops, I just realized that I mixed up the aspiration of the “p”s in “top” and “pot.” The p in “top” is unaspirated. The p in “pot” is aspirated.

  4. richard says:

    The language of the Soul.

  5. JBT says:

    Ooh, ooh, Christine, that ties back in to the “Lattice” post on the 26th – you know, the whole thing about how sometimes we need one of our friends to be sort of a bridge between us and another one of our friends? Because we might love a person but not be able to speak their language with exact fluency, just like I might have tried really hard to learn Swahili but still occasionally need a native speaker to help me find the precise turn of phrase I’m looking for when I’m talking with someone who’s equally unfluent in English.

  6. federoff11 says:

    Lovely thought! A book that helped me “get” other people who had a different way of receiving love was “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Its been invaluable as I seek to reach a distant teenage son.

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