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| Reading age: from 7 years |

Language, difficult word, you have to pronounce it very slowly: Sp-ra-che - has that to do with revenge? So what if someone did something bad to you and you paid him back? Not really, but in fact there is a story in the Bible that lumps language and vengeance into one pot:
In the old days, it is said there, all people spoke the same language. Pretty practical, because everyone understood everyone, and when you went traveling, you didn't need a dictionary or a translator. Through the common language people were united with one another, they were like one people. Or maybe people were a little lazy because they didn't need to learn other languages ​​and didn't have to strain their heads. In any case, the Bible story goes on to say that back then people thought they understood everything and knew all secrets and all sciences. People became arrogant, they thought they were insanely wise, they even thought they were at least as clever and omnipotent as God himself. He didn't think that was a good thing. After all, someone has to be the boss, and where do we get to when people think they don't have to exert themselves anymore because they are already perfect? Like God. Cheek! Nobody would lift a finger if this continued. Then who bakes the bread that everyone eats? Who cleans up the garbage? Who sings beautiful songs at work? ... When the people of that time also began to build a tower that rose up into the sky, because as God you kindly live in heaven, God, the real one, got really angry. He decided to punish people for their arrogance, to give them a lesson, or - in other words - to get revenge on them. And then he did - I don't know how, but it doesn't matter to the story, he made people suddenly speak different languages ​​and no one understood the other. This was his vengeance.

Logo, that caused a mess at first! Imagine you go into a café and say "A glass of apple juice, please" and the waiter brings you salty oatmeal soup with mustard. Or a grandmother says "thank you" because you have vacated your seat on the train and you understand something like "Impossible, this youth of today!" Problems with yourself. They no longer understood each other. So it came about that the building of the tower was abandoned because nothing worked at all on the construction site. And so it came about that people spread out over the earth. Why should they live in a city with people they don't get along with? So some moved to the left, others to the right, a few towards the North Pole, others to Tierra del Fuego or Lake Titicaca. And so a different language is spoken today in almost every corner of the world.

But is that bad? That people were cheeky and were punished by God for it is one side. In addition, the Bible story shows us the actually beautiful idea that all people are equal and belong together. In the old days (in a better time) everyone spoke the same language, and life was easy because you understood each other. Whether with words or with the heart. It was the people's own fault that this great condition is no longer there. They had forgotten that humans are only a small part of this earth where there are many other great and important things.

This story makes a little sad. It leaves you feeling like you've lost something, a glove for example, or your favorite teddy. Or like being kicked out of the room for being naughty. But when I think about it a my, I don't think it's bad at all that there are so many different, exciting languages. Just like there are many different ways to say something. And I also believe that there were very different languages ​​from the start. Yup!

Let's imagine a few primitive people - uga-uga! One troop lives in a cave on the north slope of a river, another tribe lives in wooden huts in the green meadows on the other bank. If a bear comes by, a young caveman calls out "uga bari". His buddy looks and also calls "bari", and so the two of them invented the word for bear, in cave-worm-like fashion. On the other side of the river a bear comes by when a young wooden hut woman calls out "uga oso". Your buddy sees the bear and also calls "oso", and from now on that is the word for bear in the manner of a wooden hut. There in the green meadows, however, not only bears but also rabbits pass by, so a word for rabbit will soon be invented. Primitive humans were very fond of both animals. Perhaps at some point it was too stupid for the young Holzhüttenurmenschin always to ask "rabbit or bear?" And then she came up with a word for food. Perhaps both of them, the young woodworker and the young caveman, stood on either side of the river one day. Then they fell in love, met in the middle on an island and founded a new tribe. If a bear came by there, they probably said "barso", in Inselurmischisch, a mixture of the Höhlenurmischisch "bari" and the Holzhüttenurmischisch "oso".

Something like that. In addition, people used to travel less and less far than they do today. Climbing over a mountain range or paddling over an ocean without a car, plane and pipapo was not easy. The different languages ​​(and the different people) touched less often. So it is that today French is spoken in France, German in Germany and Japanese in Japan. The languages ​​are as wonderfully diverse as the colors of the eyes, noses, voices, pointed and round asses, as are the people, countries and cultures. And they often work very differently. For example, if you say 'wolf' in our country and 'wolves' for several, in another country you simply say 'many wolves'. We change the word a bit, something is added to it in other languages.
Learning other languages ​​also means using your own language smarter. Sometimes it is even the case that a word from another language goes better with what you are about to say. And maybe after a while you don't even notice that you are actually using a word from a foreign language - a foreign word. In the Bible story above, I said people thought they were extraordinarily "clever." And 'clever' is an English word we borrowed, so to speak. And the English borrowed German words the other way around, ›Kindergarten‹ for example, every child in England knows them, only pronouncing them a little funny, as if they had swallowed a frog. We also have borrowed words that are pronounced differently and sound like original German. In the end, we no longer believe that they come from another country. 'Sugar' is such a word. In the days of the knights, we didn't have any real sugar, only honey or sweet beets. We got the sugar a long way from the Arabs, who say "schekker" to it. In Spain they say ›azucar‹, in England ›suggar‹, in France ›sucre‹ and in our country ›sugar‹. It all sounds the same, doesn't it? And there are many words of this kind that are related to each other like cousins. To ›fire‹ the English say ›fire‹, the French ›feu‹ and the Spanish ›fuego‹. The same is true for ›Frucht‹ in German, ›fruit‹ in English or ›fruta‹ in Spanish. ›Light‹ means ›light‹ in England and ›luz‹ in Spain. This may be due to the fact that light was once called 'lux' in Latin, in the ancient language of the Romans, which nobody speaks today. But in their time, the Romans conquered many countries and acted as bosses there for centuries. Over time, many of her words got stuck in other languages.

It is something beautiful and alive that languages ​​change, influence one another and copy one another. Languages ​​change. New words are added, such as for inventions that did not exist before: lightbulb, car, television, computer or mobile phone (which only sounds English, but is a German word invention). Other old words disappear, turn pale, and die. The song says: "Saffron makes the cake gehl". So 'Gehl' - and what does that mean, if you please? Sometimes the words also change their meaning, so what can be said with them. ›Geil‹ for example. Gardeners or foresters once used ›Geil‹ to mean that plants formed very long shoots and branches and grew wildly, as if they had to hurry to get as much light as possible. Later, "cool" meant when an adult really wanted to cuddle and cuddle with another adult. But when you say 'cool' today, you just mean 'great'. You think something is awesome.

So language is alive. Like a being, something that spans the whole world and is common to all people. The ability to speak is what sets us apart from apes, who unfortunately cannot. Today there are great and famous languages ​​that almost every child learns in school. So-called world languages. English, Spanish and Arabic are among them. All over the world you can find people speaking one of these languages. Not as good as someone from England, Spain or Arabia, but in a way that you can talk to, somehow. Pretty handy when you can ask about the toilet in Ouagadogou airport in English or buy freshly squeezed juice in Spanish in the Ecuadorian jungle. There are also small, rare languages ​​that only a few people can speak. And small differences within the major languages ​​called dialects. Basically everyone in Germany speaks German, but it often sounds strange to someone from the south what the other from the north is babbling about. As if he were mispronouncing the words. A dialect is, for example, when the Berliner says “ick ooch” instead of “I too”, or in Saxony it sounds “nu gloa” and “yes of course” is meant. Funny, funny ... In addition, there are even special words or phrases in individual professions that someone who does not learn this profession cannot understand. There are crazy stories. A shoemaker understands a ›cobbler boy‹ to mean something completely different from a baker, and a book printer, in turn, means something completely different from the two before them. Look it up!

Sometimes it is important to be specific with the language and find the right words. So that you don't get misunderstood. But sometimes you can also play wonderfully with language, chatter nonsense about how your mouth has grown, imitate dialects, swap syllables or invent new words. In general, new words are constantly being invented. Have you tried it before? Let's say you should do something totally stupid that you don't feel like doing; your parents or teachers told you to. But then you find out that it's great fun. Why don't you invent a word for this feeling, the feeling exactly at the point when it changes and changes its color, from ›no desire‹ to ›wow, that's rubbish‹. You say the new word a lot, maybe only your siblings or friends use it at first. Who knows, sometimes the word starts by itself, from person to person, first reaching all the children in your class, then the whole school and the parents, until everyone speaks it and the word is firmly established in the vocabulary. Sometimes a word invention remains a secret language that only you and your friends understand.

One thing is certain: learning your own language and other languages ​​opens many doors to new treasures for you. (Not just vocabulary!) You don't need magic words for that. Open Sesame!

Word and text: Mathias
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