Is that the real you?

acotaciones-externas-cabeza-caballero_23-2147486678I was talking to a friend recently who suggested that you could never really know someone if they were speaking something other than their native language. She posited that, even if you can speak a foreign language really well, you will still have to choose different words and phrasing than in your own language, so people would end up essentially seeing you as a slightly (or totally) different person.

What she was referring to was that she felt like she couldn’t adequately describe her work (which she’s very passionate about), because she didn’t have the right vocabulary, and she had to choose different ways to describe what she was doing. In some ways, I understand. The technical words are difficult, and having to work your way around a description a few different times can take away from the impact of the story. In my personal experience, I find that I often don’t fully express my opinions in another language because I don’t have the right words. So, in this way, the listener doesn’t really understand my whole viewpoint.

Do these examples mean that people we talk to don’t really know us very well? Yes, and no. I could still tell my friend was excited about what she was talking about when she was discussing her work, even though she may not have been able to discuss it very deeply. We still have the same smiles, even if sometimes they may be a bit hesitant in the midst of muddled sentences.

Do you think the friends who you speak to in other languages know you well enough?

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