• Agora

Escribir: Writing in a Foreign Language.

by Lillian Woodhouse R.

If I ask you which came first, was it writing or languages… what would you say? Let's see.

A language is what makes it possible for us to communicate, and depending on where we are born we will embrace a specific language. And there is a definition of language by Noam Chmosky1 that says the language is the inherent capability of the native speakers to understand and form grammatical sentences. Is a set of, finite or infinite, sentences, each finite length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. And how do we communicate with each other? with gestures, using our voice and writing. The natural way to do it will be using the language of our community, or of our country, but it is not the only one in a world that has about 7,000 languages. Writing will exist as long as we have languages.

So, what I really want you to ask yourself is: how can I write in a foreign language?

My native language is Spanish, and I started to learn how to write at a very young age, writing has become an important part of my life, an activity that I can do also in English, a foreign language. Like me, many people with Spanish as their native language started learning English at school, and some are learning a third language.

Plus, thanks to the technology learning to write in a foreign language can also be self-taught. What can make it easier? I believe that as we start learning to write another language, we have to stop thinking and maybe deleting the word foreign, because as we start writing on it is our own.

We don’t learn a language from others to write, or even speak, like them, and this is what makes the difference.

Take a piece of paper, write down “a foreign language” and draw lines over the word “foreing”, and what just happened? You took all the stress out from one sentence, and probably feel better, lighter.

Start by choosing a notebook that you are going to use just to write in another language, and don’t forget about the pencil or a pen, or if you prefer do it in your computer. Be curious, observe what surrounds you, write what you see in your native language and search how it is written in the language you want to learn.

Be aware that there will be mistakes, and these are part of our learning process, there is nothing wrong, and you don’t need to apologize, it takes courage to do what you are doing.

A language is foreign until you start learning it, is not a matter of days or years, but as the time pass you will add vocabulary, it will be almost natural, and you are going to feel more comfortable.

I talked about writing as it is an activity that we do most of the time alone, with ourselves. Is personal, and for me, it feels like home.

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  1. Azizul Hakim. (2020). Definition of Language by Different Scholars and Linguists. October, 2021, by English FInders website. Definition Of Language By Different Scholars And Linguists.