Day 51: Say it in Another Language!

Learn a Few Words, and Open a Window to Another World.

DAY 51 ACTION: Learn 7 words in another language: hello; goodbye; please; thank you; mother; peace and love.

Newsstand on Fourth Avenue at 14th Street, New York, selling foreign language newspapers (1943). Credit: Marjory Collins/Library of Congress.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela

For those of you keeping score, The Majority’s First 100 Days is following a few broad themes. One is to encourage greater engagement in our political process. Another, perhaps even more important, goal is to engage with our neighbors, to increase understanding and tolerance.

On Day 30, we suggested that food is one way to achieve cultural understanding. Language is another terrific way to understand and appreciate different cultures. Learning a language enhances our ability to see and interpret the world, and helps us understand how other people see and interpret things. This builds tolerance and mutual respect. Plus, research shows learning another language makes you smarter, and more decisive and perceptive. It may even stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s

So today, take a few minutes to learn 7 words in a language you don’t know. You might choose a language that a friend speaks, or one spoken in the country that you read about on Day 37. There are lots of resources for language learning; here are 6 free websites. We suggest the words hello; goodbye; please; thank you; mother; peace and love – but feel free to improvise! Then, amaze your friends with your new-found vocabulary!

Today’s Action: Learn 7 words in another language! Consider the culture of the language you’ve chosen, think about the lives of the people who speak that language, and exercise those language muscles!


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