Is Language the largest barrier to people understanding one another?

United States
August 26, 2011 5:20am CST
I was reading a book a while back and noticed something later that I failed to notice beofre. I reminded of this later when I was watching Robocop 3 on cable one day. It was the scene when the COO of the company OCP was speaking with another executive of a japanese company. And the conversation was odd to me to hear but easy for me to follow. For those who haven't seen the movie, it was a scene when these two individuals were holding a conversation, but each man was using his native language. The American was speaking english and the Japanese executive was speaking Japanese. And they made statements and respondd back and forth naturaly without a hitch, working on the grounds that each understood the other's language but used their own language out of comfort. Relative to this situation, in the book I refered to prior, an American reporter was trying to interview a Vietnamese fisherman but he wasn't getting far. And the Vietnamese fisherman was very reluctant to answer after a while for lack of comfort. But the American reporter studied French abroad and made a French reference. The Vietnamese fisherman suprisingly began speaking French fluetnly and they had a very deep conversation. And although his english was ad, his French was quite eloquent and revealed that the fisherman was increadibly educated and well spoken. And from my perspective as the reader, I was quite suprised as well. it made me relfect on m experiences I had at a few jobs out here as well. I have worked with many Hispanic coworkers before and the alot of the misunderstandings came from people getting frustrated at the fact that some didn't know much english and others couldn't understand spanish. But I understand more spanish than I can speak, so I didn't even notice when I heard something in spanish and responded in English that they were suprised. But things went much more fluidic and we grew to mutually respect one another more. This wasn't always the case, but in other instances the same thing occured. Sometimes in Russian, Korean, Japanese and Manderin the same cases occured. People became much more comfortable knowing that they could talk to me. And I was comfortable around them as well. Sometimes, though, people use the language barrier against others under the unfortunate premise that Americans can't and won't speak and understand other languages. And then get frustrated when others speak around them in other languages because they don't understand. Therefore, it is my summation that if we as peoples from all walks of life were able to understand others, there would be less confusion and offense. What do you think?
1 person likes this
4 responses
@Simon1223 (902)
• China
3 Sep 11
In my view, language is a barrier for people to understand others of different cultural background, but I'm not sure whether it is the largest factor or not. As we all know, language is the carrier of culture. Without mastering a language, we are unable to realize the culture behind it, which may lead to minsunderstanding. So it's worth spending some time in learning foreign languages, especially those spoken by many people.
@marguicha (88213)
• Chile
3 Sep 11
I think that language is one of the many barriers that people have to understand each other. But in your examples, you also showed that that barrier had been somewhat raised by good will. Prejudices, cultural and religious barriers make people uncapable of accepting other types of languages. In the awesome book, Le Petit Prince (the little prince), the author explains how the prince┬┤s planet was discovered. A turk astronomer discovered it, went to a congress in his ethnic attire and showed where it was. Noone believed him. Some time later, there was a law in his country that everyone had to use western clothes. The astronomer went to another congress, gave the same conference and he received applauses. One of the things I like of this site is that most of the people show respect for the rest, no matter where they come from.
@eileenleyva (10684)
• Philippines
29 Aug 11
Hmmm, the summation must be, world understanding can be better achieved if people would exert effort in learning another language. You mentioned the problem with the English speakers who had left it upon other people to learn English and expect the others to understand them. Well they had put themselves at a disadvantage.
@jaiho2009 (39021)
• Philippines
26 Aug 11
I agree that language is the biggest barrier when it comes to understanding each other (with other countries/people) Take a simple example with your own country- having different dialects- yet the other person doesn't speaks well the national language (country's mother tongue) it is enough to give misunderstanding. What more with different countries having mis-communication. Have a great weekend ahead jaiho®