Languages. The key that opens all the doors.
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It has been only a week since I started a new Arabic course, and already I've learnt so much.
It seems almost surreal, when just a few days ago I had no real grasp of the language, but now I can conjugate a sentence correctly and have a basic conversation with someone. So when I visit Dubai, or Morocco, or indeed Jordan, I will be able to communicate with people, in their language. Tell the taxi driver where I want to go, and order my dinner, without having to revert back to English.
In fact, it seems that because everywhere you go, everyone speaks English there is no need to learn another language. Well, no. As a tourist who only speaks English, you're bound to be ripped off.
Also in Islam, as in Christianity, and many other religions, the holy book (Qu'ran, Bible, etc.) was revealed in a different language, in this case Arabic. To gain a full understanding of the text, you must first understand the language it is written in. Without that you can't fully appreciate what is being said.
For me, I was bought up in a household where we spoke exclusively English. However when we visited my grandparents they would only speak Urdu and Punjabi. I now have a sound understanding of both dialects, but at first I didn't realise the benefits of learning the languages. And to this day, my brother still doesn't, and he thinks he can get away with speaking English in an Indian accent with my grandmother!) Surprisingly she still understands him...
I will leave you now with a quote from Nelson Mandela: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language it goes to his heart."
Now tell me, what languages do you speak?