A Piece Of Wisdom From Two European Languages.

A Piece Of Wisdom From Two European Languages.

The Dutch Family

“Family first” as they say. But what really is “family”? Are we including third degree cousin on the father’s side? Is it only related to blood-bond? If so, how much is enough to be considered “family”? What about an emotional bond two men can have, for example, to create a “bromance”, meaning when two men are so friendly close to one another they consider themselves as brothers therefore somehow from the same family. Is having or being part of a family something one can have control over? I would argue that the Dutch language can bring a beautiful viewpoint on that matter.

  • No, you do not have control over it. At the end of the day, you have not asked to be here as they also say: “you cannot choose your family”, or “familie” as the Dutch would say. This term would refer to a family at large, including not only you, your siblings and parents but also cousins, uncles, aunts and grand-parents from both sides.

  • Yes, you do have control over it. Indeed, the Dutch have another word that also means “family” in English, it is “gezin”. Gezin refers to you, your partner as well as your child or children if you both happen to be parent. I argue that one is undoubtedly more in control in those circumstances since it is possible to design the family you wish you create with through the culture, hobbies and values you and your partner decide to transmit, thus the importance of remembering the 3 pre-requisites to increase your likelihood to have your own gezin.

The Spanish loving relationship

Following the family relationship, let’s have a look at how the Spanish indirectly prioritize our romantic lives status. But first, it is imperative to highlight the fact that there are 2 possible ways to say the verb “to be” in the Spanish language, notably: “ser” and “estar”. On the one hand, “ser” is used to describe that is fixed, factual, therefore somehow permanent; for example, I could say: “yo soy un hombre” (I am a man). Whereas, on the other hand, “estar” is used to describe, to the contrary, something that is temporary, a state of mind: e.g. “estoy feliz” (I am happy).

Having this in mind, it gets insightful when discussing about relationship status, more particularly “being” single or married. Indeed, in Spanish, you say “soy soltero” from “ser” to mean being single as a male and “estoy casado” from “estar” to mean being married as a male. Have you seen it? If you read between the lines, no matter how good or how long you have been married for, they rightfully see it as something that is, eventually, temporary, thus with a beginning, middle and end, thus the use of “estar”. In opposition, they seem to consider bachelorhood as something intrinsically and primordially fixed, as you indeed fundamentally always have to deal with yourself first, your relationship is your self. This analysis of this particular Spanish lesson taught me to, before jumping into another relationship, keep in mind that the first and most important life partner you must deal with is yourself. Spend time with yourself, discover yourself, question yourself, love yourself. Thus, the importance of being self-ish with your-self.

Languages are crucial tools to master when discovering a local culture and when studied properly, they can also bring life lessons global citizens must know to pursue a purposeful life mission.

Apparently, a “girl” is a neutral noun in German and becomes a feminine term once a “woman”. What other fun facts or penetrating introspections have you gained from foreign languages?

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