The following quote is one of my favorites:
“I haven’t been to Paris for ages. But this evening, when you were singing, Edit….I was there…in the streets, beneath the sky. Your voice is the soul of Paris. You took me on a journey. You made me cry. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
It comes from the movie “Le Vie En Rose.” If you haven’t seen it, go and rent it tonight! It’ll touch your heart. It’s about one of the most famous French singers ever, Edit Piaf. I won’t get into the movie, but I will share that when a woman in the movie said this to Edit I had to quickly pause the film and write it down. Edit is singing in America and in the crowd there is a very well known fellow Francophone. I can’t remember who this woman is, but she is utterly touched my Edit’s singing. In fact, as she states in the quote she hadn’t been in Paris for ages, but that evening when Edit sang, she was there…in Paris.
There are so many reasons why this quote practically brought tears to my eyes. Not only did it reinforce how powerful language can be, but it confirmed what I always suspected or felt when I heard Spanish being spoken after we moved into a predominately anglo city. There was a sense of “being home” …a sense of intimacy.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. One of our five senses is hearing. For instance, how many times have you eaten something that reminded of your abuelita? Or how many have you smelled the perfume you mother used to wear and instantly you are taken back in time? It’s the same way with language especially if you are hearing your foreign language in a foreign city/country after so much time has passed.
Language is tied to your identity….to who you are and to who you were….wherever you may be.