The Truth about Language Barriers

Have you ever thought about the importance of language, communication, miscommunication and not communicating at all? I have.

I arrived in Madrid knowing no one and nothing. But worst of all, I couldn’t understand a single word. While I thought I’d get by with the minimal Spanish I spoke, it just didn’t cut it. However, for some magical reason, I managed to get a SUPER hot date on my first night in Madrid (virtual high-five).

He picked me up on his motorcycle and we drove around huge fountains in the summer heat. I was the Spanish version of Lizzie McGuire and was even singing “Hey now, hey noooow. This is what dreeeaaams are made of” as my dress twirled in the wind.I could sing this without being weird, since my date barely spoke any English. You may ask yourself: how does one date if you don’t share a language? Easy. You mostly gaze into each others eyes.

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If one party does decide to speak, the other will then proceed to nod and smile hoping it wasn’t a question. Then the gazing continues. We talked past each other for hours as we sipped our cocktails on a rooftop terrace. It was pretty romantic.

It might surprise you, but I continued dating this man for a while. A gorgeous Latino (my friend and I, forgetting his name, would later call him ‘the hot one’) with a one bedroom flat right in the heart of Madrid. I’d be stupid not to. We usually went for a drink, literally one, since conversation wouldn’t last any longer. It was pure bliss. We continued to talk past each other until my Spanish suddenly kicked in.

It was as if I had slept on a Spanish magazine or watched too many telenovelas. All of a sudden I understood. And this, my dear friends, was the downfall of my relationship with said Latino man.

A week went by and I not only understood all the crap he was saying, but I was able to talk back. He talked about how I was supposed to cook and clean his flat, to which I would tell him to screw himself.

We realised that we are the most incompatible couple on the planet and the gazing stopped immediately.

One day, he told me I’m a stone. I thought the meaning got lost in translation. Maybe I was as special as a diamond? No, he was telling me that I am emotionless. In English, we would say ‘a cold hearted bitch’. Gracias amor. Hasta nunca. See you never again.

 

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