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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pity the Poor English-learners!

I am so glad I grew up speaking English.
Because if I had had to take English like I took Spanish, French, Italian and German in K-12 and college, I'd never have become fluent.
Those languages are far easier to learn.
They're not filled with irregular verbs:
I eat/ I ate
I go/ I went
I see/ I saw
I read, I read (?)
I teach/ I taught
I lie down/ I lay down
Not only that, but English learners have to contend with all the homonyms, too.
Take this, for example:
scents, sense, cents
two, too, to
some, sum; sole, soul; peace, piece; him, hymn.
Too bad we don't employ inflection, like other languages, to help distinguish one homomym from another.

And how about these words which look like they should be pronounced the same, but aren't?:
bough, trough
food, good
bow (from a tree), bow (as in tie a bow)
sow, cow, but. . .
low, or tow, or mow?

If I'd been born two generations ago, I'd be a native Norwegian speaker, and I'd be struggling to master the ridiculous inconsistencies of the English language.
How I admire and applaud all you people from China or India or Russia or Europe or South America or anywhere else you do not naturally speak English.
You are geniuses, all!

I was reading in Acts, chapter 2, the other day, where the disciples of Christ suddenly began to speak in other tongues. Of course, they spoke other languages, not because they studied and practiced them for months or years, but because the Holy Spirit enabled them to do so.

Then a question popped into my mind which I don't think I'd ever entertained before: did the person who suddenly started to speak Parthian, or the person who was enabled to speak Phrygian keep that language ability? Or did that speech go away as suddenly as it came? And did the speakers-in-tongues know what they were saying?
Maybe I'll have my questions answered when I stand in heaven.
But did you ever wonder this: In heaven, will we all speak our native languages but be able to understand each other? Or will we all speak some heavenly common tongue?
Language-learning is such a laborious process here on earth.
Won't it be incredible to not have to struggle with irregular verbs and confusing homonyms in heaven?
In the meantime, I guess we, as writers, will just have to remain diligent in applying correct grammar and punctuation and vocabulary and spelling so that our words effectively communicate words of truth and inspiration to fellow believers.

". . . we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" (Act 2:11)


  1. Interesting post, Dena. When the universal translator hits the earth marketplace, I'll be one of the first in line to buy it. Perhaps our incorruptible eternal bodies will come with a built in translator? :-)

  2. Yes, I often wonder about that translator now. What is it going to sound like when we're all singing praises to God, surrounding His throne?

  3. What ever language Jesus speaks in heaven is good enough for me :-)

    I'm glad I'm not a writer so I don't have to worry about correct grammar and punctuation and vocabulary.

    I am very thankful for spell check :-)


  4. Hi Dena -

    Loved this post!

    Perhaps we'll all be one language again as it was before the Tower of Babel. We'll speak the language of heaven. :)


  5. Susan, my husband concluded that as well. Way back when, that single language was all about rebellion against God. This time, it'll be about unity among the believers as they worship the Creator.