Saturday, November 21, 2009

The emotional language

Not so long ago, I posted an insert on my blog talking about the problems we Swedish speaking Finns are incountering in today's Finland. Funnily enough, today again this topic has come up. It's amazing how languages can cause so much discussion and dilemmas. I can understand Finns not wanting to be forced to study Swedish in school, but then again, would I have studied Finnish at the early stage I did if I wouldn't have been forced to? I think since we have a country with two official languages, Swedish should not be such a huge issue in Finland. I mean, deal with it. It's been a part of our reality for over a hundred years.
Interesting enough, even foreigners coming to Finland seem to think "Finnish in Finland, Swedish in Sweden". This kind of narrow minded way of thinking would make other multilingual states, like Switzerland and Belgium just to mention a few, seem ridiculous. Having a wide culture with influences from other countries is a benefit!

In the end, Swedish for us Swedish speaking Finns is not only our language but it is a part of our culture, which differs from the Finnish one.

Last Thursday in my Italian class, my teacher began to talk about something he called "our emotional language". Some of the people in my class were saying that even though they might learn different languages, a person faces a lot of difficulties if he/she needs to talk about feelings in another language than their mother tongue. They used children as an example. They meant that it is difficult to express feelings and closeness to a child in another language than your mother tongue. This is true also for other strong feelings, love for instance. I must say I think they are partly right. But once to really start to use another language, on a daily basis even, eventually you really can start to think in that language. I first experienced love in Italian and therefore that has remain my language of love. It's difficult to express feelings in the same way in other languages. Besides that, my mother tongue Swedish is not a romantic language in my opinion. At least not in the same way as Italian.

In Swedish, like in other languages e.g. English, the word of affection is darling, while in Italian it's love. I also like the fact that you can talk to your friends in a affectionate way. Tesoro, which means treasure is commonly used for close people. I don't think a person should restrict oneself to just one language. My mother tongue is a beautiful language that is a part of my identity as it stands for the Nordic part of me. It makes me feel that I belong somewhere. Just yesterday I met a Norwegian guy on the street and I could immediately communicate with him in Swedish. Nevertheless Italian for me is not merely a foreign language, but in a way one of my emotional languages.

No comments:

Post a Comment