I was raised and lived the majority of my life in a very culturally diverse area. I lived where four states join at their corners in one spot, call The Four Corners. In this area are four Native American tribal reservations, a strong Hispanic and Spaniard populations and Caucasian Americans. Mennonites and Quakers of German heritage also lived in this area.

Languages spoken in the area were American English, Spanish, Navajo, Ute, Apache and German. Each group of people brought their own culture and customs. Hispanic and Spaniard are not the same, and each is offended by being called the other, although they both speak Spanish and have very similar culture, their heritage is very different. Hispanics trace their family lineage to Mexico. Spaniard trace the family lineage to Spanish explorers all the way back to Spain. Most Spaniards still own the land titled by Spanish Land Grants, given to them by the King and Queen of Spain. Spanish is a common language as the older Navajo, Ute and Apache elders could speak Spanish in order to trade with the Mexicans when the southern parts of Colorado, Utah and all of New Mexico, and Arizona were part of Mexico, along with California and Texas.

I was raised to speak American English. In school I learned Spanish and spoke Spanish with my dad. I became fluent in Spanish. I also learned Navajo from my school friends, but did not learn much until later in life. I started training horses and doing horsemanship clinics as well as working at a restaurant, during this time I learned Navajo, although I was not fluent in speaking. When my children were in school, they were taught basic words and numbers in Navajo and Ute. I learned to speak Ute with my children. When I started working for the school district assisting with special needs students, I learned Sign Language.

At home, my children and I would speak Spanish, Navajo, Ute and Sign Language as well as American English. In taking college courses to become a teacher, I learned that if children are exposed to a different language before they were eight or nine, they would be able to learn other languages easily. My children have learned other languages since becoming adults. One speaks Japanese, another Korean.

I have learned that by speaking different languages, I can get the jest of a conversation even though I do not know it. As some words are similar due to the languages being in the same language tree. Such as Italian and Portuguese is in the same language tree as Spanish, words are similar enough to be able to comprehend what the person is saying.

When I was in high school I wanted to learn Spanish, French and German so I could travel the world and be able to speak to others. I did not learn French. I only learned a few words of German. Since being away from my home ground and not using Spanish, I am no longer fluent. Languages and the culture that goes with them are interesting and unique.

My most recent exposure to a foreign language is Afrikaans. The person I learned how to train herding dogs, Afrikaans is their native language. It is also the native language of the South African judges and inspectors for Dorper Sheep. If I had the time to be able to learn this language I would. I would know what the dog trainer is saying to their dogs during herding dog trials, enabling me to be a better dog handler. I would also be able to communicate with the judges and inspectors at the Dorper sheep shows and when the time comes for them to inspect the sheep at my farm. American English, I consider to be shallow as words have multiple meanings. Other languages have more precise meanings for individual words, creating more precise communication.

I do not believe you are ever too old to learn a new language. The first new language is always the most difficult to learn. But once the brain has started thinking in more than one language, learning additional languages becomes much easier.



8 thoughts on “Languages”

    1. The 4 Corners is a gateway to a several National Parks: Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon and Zion National Monument are all an hour away. Plus, Durango has many attractions to visit. If you visit Mesa Verde, then The Four Corners Monument, you will drive through Monument Valley on your way to the Grand Canyon. Many westerns were filmed in Monument Valley. The last Lone Ranger will Johnny Depp was filmed in Shiprock, 20 miles south of the Four Corners Monument. In the span of one hour you can go from the Rocky Mountains to the desert of Arizona. It is a unique place and worth the visit.

      Liked by 1 person

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