Jane Seymour: Every person need to know yet another language

I grew up in a extremely multicultural household. My father was English and spoke fluent French and some Afrikaans as he was stationed in South Africa with the RAF. My mother was from the Netherlands and spoke fluent English, Dutch, German, Malay, some French, a tiny Portuguese and a tiny Japanese. She was in a concentration camp for three and a half years in Indonesia, so she spoke Bahasa Malay and then, of course, in the internment camp they had to do roll phone in Tenkō and then count and say specified items in Japanese, so she reluctantly spoke people.

Simply because of the camps, my mother and the other survivors made the decision that their homes, if they ever had kids, would be properties to one one more. So as a youthful child we didn’t have extremely much cash but we would use a rail pass and go around the Netherlands and invest time with youthful folks whose dad and mom had also been in the camp. So that’s how I discovered Dutch. I learned French at school and my parents sent me to pals who lived in Geneva so I started making use of it right away. French grew to become quite critical to me due to the fact I in the end ended up generating a film in French and enjoying Marie Antoinette.

Language, especially understanding at an early age, is extremely important to me. You just never know what conditions you’re going to be in when you might have to communicate with somebody in a language that is not your very own, so it is valuable to have some fundamentals in at least two other folks. I’m operating on a Tv series correct now called Hey Wordy! that introduces kids to foreign languages and cultures by means of animation and songs. It’s a quite clever and fun way of educating. As soon as a kid learns 1 language, it’s a passport to currently being ready to very easily learn any language.

I’m a foodie and I adore the idea of currently being capable to talk with men and women of different cultures to value their spiritual side, their architectural side and undoubtedly their culinary side. It is a gesture in the correct route a way of saying “I care adequate to want to talk in your house tongue”.

We must teach the subsequent generation to not just learn languages, but complete cultures and belief programs. We will then make a lot more of an effort to understand folks and their various cultures.

This piece is element of the exhibition The languages that changed my daily life getting held at the Guardian offices in London, 13-31 October.

Go through far more stories like this:

• 3 European languages that you didn’t know existed

• Confusing ‘jam’ for ‘condom’ and 9 other blunders while finding out French

• Paddy Ashdown: ‘Learning six languages has transformed my life’

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