13 April 2012


Language is a tricky thing. People can speak the same language, in my case, English, and use familiar words but the meaning can be something totally different. This is an ongoing situation for my husband and myself. Then there are moments when people don’t speak the same language at all and connection can still be formed between people using broken sentences, facial expressions, and hand gestures.

It kind of takes me back to my first year in nursing where I had to take a communications class. We talked about what leaves you with a more lasting impression: verbal communication and body language. I would say almost 90% of people in my class agreed that body language made more of an impact than what somebody said. Apparently, up to 70% of what people communicate is with body language.

Though there are a number of articles citing that body language can vary greatly from culture to culture, it is startling to notice that there are also many similarities: you can just know when somebody is happy or hurt, friendly or aggressive, aloof or cheerful. I think it’s important to acknowledge this because what did we do before English was the universal language of technology and business? Obviously a lot of miscommunication, but I think still enough patience and compassion to try to communicate.

“I speak two languages, Body and English."
--Mae West

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.”
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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