It is true that Northrop Frye’s ideas about the way we speak and the function and levels of our language gives us something to think about and brings up the question of why different languages present such huge problems when there is a language barrier between those who are trying to communicate. Northrop demonstrates his own ideas about how to communicate better as he talks about language on a societal, individual and worldwide level. For those who have only spoken one language their entire life, to be presented with a new language can be thoroughly frustrating and confusing.
One language can be so different from the other and trying to speak a new language can take a huge amount of time in studying the pronunciation of new words and trying to relay them to others with the same rhythm that they speak. A good example of the frustration and confusion of a language barrier, I witnessed in a shopping mall. The foreigner was trying so hard to get their message across to the sales clerk and only ended up leaving the store with disappointment.
I noticed that the foreigner spoke slowly and tried to pronounce their words slowly and clearly as the sales associate just spoke in their usual manner and not putting any effort into speaking more slowly and clearly or even trying to use other, more simpler words which would have helped the foreigner, tremendously. Instead of opting to try other methods of communicating, the clerk only let the customer leave without hesitation. It seemed that the associate would rather lose money for the company, let the customer leave with frustration and avoid the entire incident, completely, rather than finding a better way to communicate.
Another example of a racial language barrier, I witnessed at a gas station. This time the foreigner spoke loudly and quickly and the group in our immediate area only looked away or stared at the individual as if they were saying nothing at all. The foreigner this time, forgot to find a better way to communicate. I wondered if there was an emergency or a problem with this person that needed immediate attention from the people around, since they seemed desperate and frightened. There was not a single person in the area that spoke the same language as the person rambled on about something that we had no idea what they were speaking about.
To me, this language barrier was extremely frustrating, as well and I felt bad that I couldn’t understand the message they were trying so hard to convey. They left the scene, without any help, just as the individual in the shopping mall who wasn’t able to communicate clearly enough and who didn’t have the proper listener who was willing to use a different method for communicating. In order to break the language barrier, it is so important that we learn to adapt to other cultures and become more patient and educated for different languages to be used and understood.
Newcomers to a region are not always equipped with the proper language skills that they need to function properly in society and it is important for them to study the new language and practice for success in speaking the new language. They must learn to achieve goals by listening to people talk and adapting to the new speech. It will take patience and tolerance in learning the new language and with this in mind, they will become good speakers and will also be capable of learning to speak the language which will end the constant frustration and confusion.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 24 December 2016
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