Friday, March 26, 2010

I think language should be a barrier to love. Logically speaking.

I continue to have random thoughts I want to put voice to, and so, I continue to return to this blog. Just in case someone may remember to check it and read it.

Today's thought was along the lines of wondering how two people who don't speak the same language can fall in love. A local girl with very little Spanish recently married a South American man with very little English. When they first met Laura spoke no Spanish and Juan spoke no English.

So, how did they move beyond what I assume (and possible incorrectly!) was their initial sexual fling? How do you come to want to spend the rest of your life with someone you can't discuss books, news items, politics, religious views or whose turn it is to mow the lawn with?

I can't imagine how it's done.


  1. You can't imagine because you and I depend on language: We are thinkers who cherish words, who play with them, holding them in our hands, turning them over and looking at them in different lights. We are in the minority.

    Most people don't need to connect on that level. We all know that actions speak louder than words; and for most people that is sufficient. If they show each other uncommon kindness and courtesy (if he remembers to put the toilet seat down even if she can't complain about it), they are likely to have a long and happy marriage.

  2. "Love is the universal language," right? :)

    Intrigues me as well. Aside from the deep, meaningful conversations, I wonder about casual, everyday discussions too. I suppose though, it would be the true definition of full-immersion learning.

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall in their kitchen (a fly who was fluent in BOTH English and Spanish, that is).


  3. Interesting- not to be able to chat idly with one's spouse? Either they'll learn the other's language quickly, or the marriage won't last, I would guess.

  4. Alicia: Yes, I do forget that others are not quite so in love with words! And yes, there are lots of people who don't feel a need to discuss anything in depth, let alone politics, religion and the meaning of life!

    E & Sally: Yes, they are working on their language skills. I met Laura at a 6 week intermediate Spanish course I was doing, and Juan's English is progressing too.

  5. They may not be the kind who require deep, meaningful conversations -- well, they're obviously not, are they? -- but language of some sort is essential, just to sort the logistics of co-habiting. "When will you be home for dinner, dear?" "Can you drop the car at the mechanic's on your way to work?" "We need to get someone in to see to the furnace."

    I suppose a lot of that could be done by miming and gestures -- but how cumbersome! And what about the more nuanced things, less tangible things? No language requires the you both to be mind-readers, and, even when you're blissfully in love, you really can't hear your beloved's thoughts!

    A marriage couldn't survive without some form of language. But it seems they've figured that out, too -- hence the language lessons!

    Now the question is: when they can speak to each other, will they like what the other one has to say? :)