Friday, April 27, 2018

X - Xenoglossophobia

     noun - fear of foreign languages

Pictures don't do it justice
Several years ago, I took a trip to New York City with my daughter to see the Tim Burton exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. We came into town a few days early to take in the sites. We arrived at Times Square about midnight on a Thursday. The place was packed.

In addition to all the amazing billboards, I was fascinated by the number of languages I could hear spoken around us. Standing in one spot I heard German, Russian, Czech, French, Thai, and something that I believe was Klingon, but I couldn't be sure.

I love language. (I am not scared of it as the title suggests, but you come up with a topic starting with 'X'.) I loved learning Spanish and trying to communicate when I lived in San Juan. I currently live in Beijing and am surrounded by Mandarin speakers all day every day. My wife and I have taken lessons to better our communications here, but she is much further advanced than I am. I get excited talking to people from other countries, getting to know them and hearing their stories.

The college I went to had a foreign students night once a year. They encouraged all students from other countries to cook something from their homeland and bring it to a big fellowship dinner. I had some neighbors from Thailand and Burma who decided to collaborate and make a dish both families enjoyed. I was helping them with this meal and found myself left out of their conversation as they all spoke their common language of Lisu. I had no idea what they were saying and did my best not to mess up the food. They spent so much time laughing at me, I am sure I did it wrong.

Since getting my Master's degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), I have the opportunity to be surrounded by other languages at all times. It can be overwhelming occasionally, but I love it.

Language is fascinating.


  1. I have no fear of foreign languages, just the fear of having to reply in said foreign language which is never going to happen as I can't speak anything but english. but it's sort of fun to listen to people speak all type of languages. it's why I like watching foreign films in their original language with english subtitles.

    have a lovely day.

    my latest a-z is: xo - favorite romantic classics

    1. I can only watch movies in their original language. When they get dubbed and their mouth does not match up with what is coming out, it drives me crazy.

  2. I will master Mandarin, and through traveling, I now know that I must refresh/relearn my high school German. It is everywhere.

    1. Maybe at some point we'll end up a country where I have already learned their language. Spanish. Lots of choices for that one.


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