A Taste of Language
YPC’s ‘Taste of Languages’ event was held on Nov. 29 at Dos Rios in downtown Des Moines. Close to 60 young professionals gathered in the private room to network, socialize, and to have a ‘taste’ of a few unfamiliar languages. This year’s event featured five YPs explaining the basics of Italian (Viola Tattini), Bosnian (Aldijana Musa & Sanjin Mrkajic), Arabic (Salih Hamid), and Vietnamese (Thai Luong) to an eager and curious crowd of fellow YPs.
The format of the event primarily involved the five teachers rotating between four groups of YPs and talking to them about the basics of the language. This was followed by a few minutes of general interaction between the YPs and the teachers and ensured that everybody learned something new—not only about the language itself, but also about the culture, holidays, notable places, etc.
For instance, we learned from Thai that Vietnamese is one of the most difficult languages to speak. Yes, the language sounds dramatic, but it is not because the people just tend to ‘speak that way’. Turns out, that is, in fact, the way the language is ‘supposed to be spoken’. And Viola told us about the interesting story behind Bologna’s (Italy) famous arcades. They were initially built to provide homeless people a place to sleep at night.
Growing Together Through Language
It is true that in the present age of internet and technology, finding resources to learn about a new country—the language, culture, people—are always just a few clicks away. However, it is also true that very few of us will actually pursue these opportunities. Sparking someone’s curiosity, on the other hand, can be a powerful motivating factor in learning. The fascination with learning more about another culture doesn’t just lie with what it has to offer that is different from our own; sometimes it is equally exciting to learn how similar the other culture is to what we grew up with ourselves. And it was in these aspects that YPC’s ‘Taste of Languages’ event proved to be successful. A lot of credit goes to the YPC Diversity Committee for finding the teachers and organizing this event in a very professional manner.