The Music of Language


If we think about all the languages that exist in the world today, we are quick to be able to point out the differences. Language is just one of the many ways in which we express ourselves. Language allows us to convey our reality and our feelings about that reality; our desires and our regrets; our experiences and our passions.

Now think about musical instruments: the way in which we compose and what we have the possibility to compose varies depending on the instrument we use. For example, a traditional grand piano has 88 possible notes while a traditional acoustic guitar has 49. Though, arguably, neither instrument produces more beautiful music than the other. The music is simply different. Why, even two pianos are not alike! Some have even been designed with 97 notes in order to play more compositions!

While an ESL learner faces many challenges in their acquisition of a new language, they also face many benefits. They may develop the ability to express themselves in another way they hadn’t yet thought of; they may find meaning and value in abstract concepts they never knew existed (hygge, anyone?). Though it might be best to leave creating languages to the linguists and science fiction writers (I’m looking at you, Klingon), learning another language is like learning to play an instrument. When we learn another language, we open ourselves up to new possibilities of influence and expression.

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