"" Writer's Wanderings: The Melody of Language

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Melody of Language

Last night we listened to a local missionary whose native language is Russian. He spoke passionately about his ministry and at times was a little difficult to follow when his enthusiasm rushed into his speech and made his words a bit kinetic. He reminded me a lot of my grandfather though.

Grandpa came from Bohemia back in the late 1890s. While he lived in this country for over 50 years, he never lost the cadence of his native language. I loved him for it. It was always a delight to hear how he phrased the English words and sentences and to listen to what I call the melody of his language.

My daughter-in-law whose native language is Japanese is very much the same. She has a delightful way of phrasing her English speech that often makes things sound much more poetic than we who have English as a native tongue. It too has a melody to it. Different than Grandpa's Bohemian and the Russian we heard last night.

Our speaker apologized in the middle of his talk for his "broken English."

"Not broken," I told him later. "You just speak English with a beautiful Russian melody."

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