It has often helped them find their place within their new culture, creating a very real bridge linking their heritage and their adopted culture. Their confidence skyrocketed, and they experienced so much joy. Maybe you'd love it, too!
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Does your native language still feel like home to you?
Does it feel like comfort and ease of expression? Can you play with words and humour more readily and with more fun in your native language?
Over time, as you add more cultural layers to your identity by absorbing aspects of your new culture, language becomes an interesting vehicle. It can represent your old self, your new self, or a blend of the two, depending on which language you’re speaking, what you’re trying to express and with whom. It can actually make you feel a different way. You can even feel like a different person.
Have you noticed this yourself? It’s an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it?
As you gradually feel more comfortable in your adopted country, perhaps your native language comes to represent a part of you that now only comes out on the occasions that you’re with family or old friends.
Sometimes your native language may have felt like a bit of a weight. A barrier that inhibits your ability to be you in your new country where most people don’t understand your language.
Sometimes it’s a reminder of what’s missing . . . family and friends talking and laughing and experiencing the joys of communicating with ease.
All because of words.
Funny, really, when you think about it.
But it’s not really just words, is it? It’s everything that those words represent, it’s all that they express in a manner unique to your particular culture, or even your sub-culture if you speak a dialect.
Well, today I want to invite you to see your native language as a very real door to opportunity.
An opportunity to reconnect with aspects of yourself in a very powerful and joyful way.
How’s this for an idea . . .
What if 2023 was the year that you created a new, uplifting level of connection with yourself (oh, and by the way, you totally inspired others as a result)?
For 20 years I ran enchanting French sessions for children in preschools and childcare centres. It was soooo much fun, and the children had such a blast! And I had early childhood educators from diverse backgrounds and languages asking me if they could sit in and watch and take notes, because they saw how much joy was being had and felt inspired to do the same thing with their own languages.
I began running workshops to share my techniques so that these women could go out and inspire the children in their centres with their native languages, and during this time I discovered something truly touching.
In every instance, these women experienced a deep sense of joy and fulfilment when they were introducing words in their languages and hearing the children use them.
And the most profound emotion that they experienced was one of feeling complete.
How beautiful is that? It’s something that I talk about in my book, because it’s so significant.
The connection with the aspect of themselves that represented home and family and childhood memories was so liberating that it completed their sense of self. It closed the circle of identity, in a sense. All the language and culture that they had absorbed from life in their adopted country found a way to connect with their heritage, and it just felt so good to them.
It's wonderful to see.
These ladies were sharing with languages with young children, but you could equally share it with adults. You don’t need any training or certification to create some casual events, and you don’t need to have perfect English, either.
You just want to feel the inspiration, the desire, the temptation . . . and even if you feel nervous about it, if you just give it a go, you might find that you absolutely love it!
Or not, and that’s absolutely fine.
I’ve designed a new guide for you to explore some casual and thoroughly enjoyable language-sharing ideas. From young children to adults, you can be as creative and individual as you like as you allow yourself to ponder the possibilities. Most importantly, you get to be you!
Here are some ideas from the guide to get your creativity flowing:
Firstly, I encourage you to embrace something that you already love doing, and simply invite a few friends or colleagues to enjoy a little experience with you. You get to weave some gorgeous words from your language around doing something that you enjoy – how fun is that?!
For Adults, you might consider Walking and Talking. Exercise and language at the same time! We can actually absorb information with more ease when it’s combined with the real-time effects of exercise. And it could be such a casual, enjoyable experience.
Do you like art or music or sports or reading or cooking or sewing?
How might you elevate those passions or pastimes by weaving some charming words in your native language throughout, and sharing the experience with other wonderful humans?
For young children, think parties, craft, music, obstacle courses. There are plenty of ways to get the children calling out words in your language while engaged in other activities.
Teenagers are a category that could be really innovative. All my ideas tend to be very feminine, but perhaps by reading them you’ll be inspired with some more masculine-style experiences.
I’m thinking of those girls who really enjoy their language classes at high school. There will surely be those who would love a special experience outside of their school studies where they get to live the language with style.
Think high tea, vision boards, bedroom-or-wardrobe-designing. What fun that would be!
All using your language to the level that they’ve learnt at school, and potentially new words as well.
Take these ideas and allow them to inspire your own.
Create some casual experiences for your friends, or start a weekly or monthly group session. You could even ask a fee or a donation as a contribution. If you love it, you might consider creating a regular income from your language experiences.
If any of these ideas make you tingle with anticipation, I recommend that you just go right ahead and give it a try! It’s just life, lovely . . . you’re either going to enjoy your new experience or you’re not, but either way you’ve experienced something new, and that always good for your identity, right?! You are so much more capable than you think.
If you’d like to download my guide, it’s all yours! The button’s below.
And in the meantime, just enjoy inserting surprise words from your heritage into your everyday conversations with friends. Invite them into your world a little; chances are, they’ll love it!