I’ve been studying Spanish through a free phone application for a little over two years now. I am continually delighted by the ways I can read (basic) Spanish and sometimes even pick up on a bit of conversation aurally. The exploration of a language that I didn’t grow up with never ceases to amaze me. It also never ceases to inspire me.
Because you see I was reviewing an old lesson over the weekend when I came to this sentence:
Ellos se caen porque el piso está mojado.
They are falling down because the floor is wet.
I find myself drawn to studying languages for myriad reasons, including the ability to communicate more freely in the world, the way it challenges my brain, and the delight I feel picking up snippets of conversations on the subway that otherwise wouldn’t register in my head.
But then there’s the moments when I read a sentence like above. They are falling down because the floor is wet.
It feels so immediately obvious and simple. If the floor is wet, of course people will fall down. But what if we apply this simple framework to the harder to reach corners of our worlds, of our thoughts, of our emotions. What if we try to explain how we’re feeling but in that “new language” way where you have limited vocabulary and have to dig deep to articulate.
Here are a few personal truths I could write for myself:
She is anxious because she slept in.
She is sad because she has a lot of work to do.
She is upset because she didn’t eat breakfast.
And while it sounds cartoonish and silly to take so much from a language app sentence, the prompt was enough to stop me in my tracks and produce a screenshot that I would stare at for what felt like ages before being able to put this piece together. To try to explain what it feels like to look at something at its base level. To simplify. This because that.
Perhaps, as someone who spends every day weaving words, it is useful for me to revert to language at its core. To understand that sometimes, people are falling simply because the floor is wet. And, it is useful for me to do the same with myself. Perhaps not all things need to be complicated.
Perhaps things can often be as simple as:
She is dancing because she likes the music.
She is laughing because she is happy.
She is smiling because she loves him.
Perhaps, even, the most important things we say are those we feel silently in our hearts.