28th April 2013

Tragedies in Boston or around the world show that men get frustrated. How often do you hear people say '...you just don't understand me'?  It's not easy to eradicate underlying deprivation and troubles in life, but you can do something to ease the frustration of it all.
50+ years ago I couldn't understand why I was terrible at some school subjects but good at languages. Eventually I figured it out. Girls were expected to have background knowledge in subjects like domestic science (and I had none!), whereas in French and German I started on a level playing field with everyone else. Now, I couldn't possibly live here without being able to communicate in shops, with workmen, on the telephone etc.  Language is an amazing tool. It opens up worlds that would be closed to you otherwise.  On the Toulouse metro I marvel at the automatic announcements in both French and the mediaeval Occitan:  'La prochaine station est La Roseriae, .......Roziado'.  The French (not noted for their language skills) are at last cottoning on:  '...It's a weak point of the education system that pupils learn grammar but don't practise talking and interacting enough...' says Claudia Senik, Professor at the Sorbonne.
So, one answer to the world's problems = language = communication. Stop the violence - not by buying yet more guns, but by learning to communicate. It's the only way.

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