Wouldn’t it be cool if we could understand and talk with animals? Who would want a human friend who could turn his back on you anytime when you have a loyal dog to be your confidant? Come to think of it, it would be nice to ask the bird why it chirps every morning and ask my pet how the night went. And seriously, it would be helpful if I could warn my cat not to touch my fish if I haven’t offered it!
To be able to completely break the language barrier would be both helpful to one as an individual and to the world as a global village. The experience of sight-seeing on foreign land cannot feel wholly satisfying if one cannot interact with the locals or at least exchange pleasantries. Coming from a country where many languages are spoken, it can get pretty irritating when people switch to speaking another dialect in the middle of a general conversation. You may have the instinct that whatever is being said is about you but since you can’t understand it, you have no proof and all you can do is either endure the sound transfer going over your head till it ends or you walk away.
Although English is the most spoken language spoken globally, one can still find himself in a fix when one comes into contact with someone who doesn’t know a single word in English. In this era, it has become almost mandatory to a person’s benefit to at least be bilingual and much more expedient to be multilingual.
I must say, I find some languages aurally sexy, serious, perplexing, and some others downright amusing! Variety is indeed the spice of life!
Now back to the animal kingdom. Apart from having a listening buddy during your lonely times, they could help save you from harm. From my Ghanaian society, it is believed that pet animals are very intuitive and thus can sense danger even before humans can suspect it. It would be great to exchange pleasantries with the animals at the zoo too, right?
I honestly believe there’s a reason God gave us different tongues and languages and the ability to learn them. To be able to speak someone else’s language, I believe isn’t just to flaunt or translate it to others but to understand their perspective of the world and appreciate it better. If only we could all ‘understand’ each other, most of today’s world woes would have been dealt with.
As much as it feels cute just thinking about talking with animals, I believe we can still communicate with them by observing them and spending time with them. Our language barrier with them doesn’t necessarily have to make us strangers to one another. Those who live or work around animals can testify to that, right?
This question has inspired me to learn a new language. You don’t know when you’d need it.
What about you? Animals or humans around the globe? Which one would you rather speak to?
Josephine Amoako © 2016