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Language Barrier (?)

a poetic reflection on this phrase

By Gabriel HuizengaPublished 15 days ago Updated 14 days ago 1 min read
Top Story - April 2024
20

My line of work involves a lot of time communicating across languages

through an app, telephone service, or my new friend José.

I have found that this challenge, generally referred to as the "language barrier,"

More often feels like a bridge -

Something that must indeed be crossed, with effort,

but which is as much an opportunity as it is an obstacle

...as long as we remember to reject the lie that the fastest way to do something

(for example: hold a conversation, move a couch, communicate a feeling)

Is the best way.

***

For when I manage a few broken words in Swahili, and see this elderly woman's face light up-

This storied soul warmed by another character's feeble attempt to speak in the tongue of her youth and people-

When I grunt, "Pesado!" and laugh along with the man who is helping me move this impossibly heavy sofa, as he proclaims with a smidge of pride,

" ¡Este hombre está aprendiendo español muy rápido!" -

When the father of the Russian refugee family (whose language I have not yet even dared to attempt!) smiles at me across the bus-

And when I smile back-

I see the true nature of our "language barrier."

FriendshipStream of Consciousnesssocial commentaryinspirationalGratitudeFree Verse
20

About the Creator

Gabriel Huizenga

Twas for love of words that I first joined this site:

Poetry, essays, and dear short stories too;

For to live one's best is to read, and to write!

So find me in words here, and I'll find you 💙

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  2. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  4. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (16)

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  • Hannah Fraser12 days ago

    Such a powerful, beautiful piece! What a blessing for you and others that you have the opportunity and willingness to connect with people in this way.

  • ROCK 12 days ago

    I loved this as I have lived in a family situation where English, French, Arabic Spanish and Swedish are spoken. Now my daughter speaks German! I know a little bit of Russian and it's always fun to surprise someone with their language spoken back to them. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Eddiereader14 days ago

    the language barrier is always a challenge

  • “M”14 days ago

    Congratulations 🥳

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • LASZLO SLEZAK14 days ago

    Congratulations on your story.

  • Ameer Bibi14 days ago

    Congratulations for top story 🎉🎉You're making significant strides with your hard work and commitment. Keep up the momentum

  • Anna 14 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!!

  • Lindsay Sfara14 days ago

    This hits home as someone who's part of a multilingual and multicultural family. Beautiful work, and well deserving of top story. Congrats!

  • Well written, language barrier is complex like a bridge and actually never really straight forward. Congrats on top story!!!

  • Cathy holmes14 days ago

    This is really well done, and isn't it great when even the smallest gesture can make a person smile. Congrats on the TS.

  • I absolutely love this. The image of the language barrier as a bridge is perfect. It is just something that can be crossed with a little bit of effort. Congrats on the Top Story!

  • Forspiya14 days ago

    People nowadays are really stressed so this is all for you https://vocal.media/poets/wings-of-resilience-a-journey-through-adversity

  • This was so deep and wonderful! It made me smile. Loved your poem!

  • D.K. Shepard15 days ago

    This is another powerful piece, Gabriel! Working with multilingual students has been an incredible part of my job for the last few years so this definitely struck a chord. Communication is a beautiful thing and always possible when we’re willing to try!

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