What Language Do You Speak?

According to statistics, 40 percent of the world population are monolinguals and 43 percent are bilinguals.

I believe that within the 40 percent, there are some people who understand a little of another language, just not enough to be called bilingual. Yeah, I am talking about the Messi and Ronaldo lovers who know a few Spanish words. Then there are the K-drama lovers with the “aigoo” moments. These people (myself included) only know a few words in these languages but not enough to communicate well in it. In this case, we pick up the language based on our habit of spending time to watch these celebrities.

Let us come home to Nigeria. This country is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world, with over 500 languages spoken. You will find the Igbo trader trying to say some Yoruba words just after a few minutes of associating with them. The same happens with Hausa, Ibibio, Ijaw Tiv and the others. Staying in the midst of people speaking something other than what you speak, will influence you to try speaking theirs and they will pick up a bit of yours too.

Linguistic map of Nigeria

You probably understand more than one language but my focus here is that particular language that you can communicate in with very little to no hiccups. There are roughly 7,117 languages spoken all over the world (that is what Google said) so it is not possible to learn every language inorder to communicate effectively. This English that is considered a universal language is not spoken or understood in serveral small areas which limits its “universality“.

Also, there are some special and skillful means of communication like art, music, dance and the likes. These people go through deliberate training to learn this language. Practice and practice until they can communicate it well.

The Oxford dictionary defines language as “the principal method of human communication, consisting of words used in a structured and conventional way and conveyed by speech, writing, or gesture“. Speech and writing speak for themselves so let us be the mouthpiece for gesture; not the hand signs this time but your carriage. You also have the facial expressions, eye rolls, smiles, and lots more. These are the ones I call the “universally” understood language. I do not need to learn your language to tell you that I am hungry, all I have to do is show you in a way that you will understand.

A special message from all babies to you.

Without the defined hand sign language, this is still a pretty easy task. It has been said countless times that communication is considered to have taken place once the information passed has been received. In essence, the plenty fancy words will be garbage if the person receiving your message does not understand a thing.

You will agree with me then, that the means of communication is as important as the message. It is beyond repeating the quote you heard, fact you read, preacher’s words and so on. It is important that you communicate properly, the first step is to understand the environment. Don’t go whispering the way your friend did when you have an audience that did not come with their hearing aid and need you to scream. Or you pour water to wake them up when these are very light sleepers that would wake up if you just call their names. It would be like talking to a wall if you insist on quoting what the preacher said verbatim, in English, to someone who has barely grasped pidgin.

Yeah, but I hope we never talk again.

We should always remember to understand the audience first, then do not just talk, COMMUNICATE. Meaning, speak in a way that will be understood not in the way you were told or the way the last audience understood it.

There is one more language that everyone understands, and that is love. This universal language can be heard in your tone. It is easy to spot it out If it is lacking in anyway. Don’t you find it funny when people say they want to show you the light but they spend the entire time talking about the ills of the darkness? You say you come in peace but your knives are out and ready to cut through my throat. How is it still communication when you reflect the opposite of what you claim you are upholding? It becomes obvious that what you think you are handing over is far from what I know I am receiving.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;…

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

No matter what language you speak, do not forget that communication is the goal. With love, communicate properly. Remember that “love is not ARROGANT or RUDE. It does not INSIST ON IT’S OWN WAY,” so learn to understand the way of every environment you find yourself in”. If you are still learning the love language then be like the football and K drama lovers, watch those who already know how to love. Surround yourself with what you want to become. Be like the artist, be deliberate about learning the art.

Love does not insist on its own way. Adjust, adapt, be willing to learn and unlearn because that’s how we grow right?

How many languages do you understand and how many can you communicate in? Don’t forget to leave your comments here. Thank you for reading! 💖 Sosoño, Eșe, Dalu, Merci beaucoup, kamsahamida, Xie Xie ni, Gracias, Danke schön…don’t you just love languages? 😁

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