A Fear of Whales

A Fear of Whales

Language Learning

I believe that the language a person speaks is one of the most important, if not the very most important factor in determining how they think. If you speak English you think in English, and that comes with all sorts of connotative meanings to English words.

I’ve studied some Spanish, but not nearly enough to begin to think in Spanish. When I speak Spanish, I have to translate what my friend is saying into English in my head, then formulate a response, and then translate my English response back into Spanish.


Eventually through practice I’m told it’s possible to develop enough fluency for me to begin to think in Spanish, and I aspire to do that, not only because it would help me avoid embarrassing mistakes, but also because Spanish has a different feel than English and learing to think in Spanish could hardly help but open my mind.

When I think of what it means to “Know Jesus” I have very little choice but to use that English word “know” in my head. “Know” is related to “Knowledge”. It associates in my head with facts and figures and books. I automatically think of knowing Jesus in terms of what I believe, and whether or not those beliefs correspond to reality sufficiently.


If I spoke Spanish I wouldn’t have that problem because I would find in my bible a variant from the root “conoser” which is related to “ser” meaning “to be” it is a word that refers to familiarity, as in “I know my friend Jessica” while contexts like “I know the formula for the area of a triangle” use a different Spanish word. (“Saber”) it would associate in my mind with the person of Jesus, as an associate of mine, and being familiar with his ways.
And that’s just one word!

Do you know how many words Spanish has?!?!?!

So I’m excited by languages and language learning, I think it’s a force for peace, unity and broad mindedness. Which is why I was so incredibly excited when I found this.


It’s called “Where Are Your Keys?” and it’s an open sourced language learning game put together by some nerds in Portland who are obviously insanely awesome. I’ve not played it, They’re in Portland, but I’ve read up on it and watched some videos, from what I can tell, it’s like Mao, but instead of a soul crushing sensation that you are wasting your life, you get to learn Mandarin.

I think the church should rock this thing. Do any of you readers know anybody in Portland?

PS. If you don’t know what Mao is, e-mail me, we’ll get a game on!

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posted September 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm

let me know if you want to get a group together and practice it in the next month or so. If you have ASL be just need somebody who knows a language we don’t… Andy, are you in? You know a good amount of Chinese right?

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posted September 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm

That is freaking awesome. I’ve been wanting to learn another language, but am a little scared since ASL was the only one I picked up easily. Shaweeet!

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posted September 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm

the best video seems to be with the links that come after it also being rather helpful

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posted September 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm

So, I’ve watched about three of the videos, and I am not getting the game. I get it’s asking for something in front of someone and then someone answering it. There’s sign language involved. Where is somewhere with the rules written down, or simple direction written down? I think this could be cool to do during lunch at my high school. We have about 15 different languages spoken on our campus.

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