Love – The Language We Should All Learn to Speak


Colloquialism: a local or regional dialect expression.

It is interesting to converse with people who live in the  US and speak English, but actually speak a different language. Well it seems like a different language! We have lived in the Southeast, the Northwest, and now the Central Plains. In each place, we have observed  the “language barrier” still within the borders of our very own country.

I  actually love words. To a fault! I quite often use way too many of them. And being someone who actually enjoys grammar and spelling  (when you can’t do math science or history, you have to settle for English) I find that the different usages, meanings, and pronunciation of words are fascinating. People become so accustomed to the words and phrases they use that they don’t even recognize that they are foreign to others.
For instance, if someone is fixing to get a buggy that is sitting catty-corner on the other side of the grocery store, they are most likely not from Washington or South Dakota. I once told my boss (from Washington) that I would be out of pocket for a few days. He had no idea what I was talking about. I remember the first time I was asked “if I wanted to go with.” Just with. That was it. It felt like they didn’t finish their question!
Where I come from, Lori and Laurie are two different names. But in the Northwest and Central Plains they are the same. In the south they use many different terms when referring to grandparents, like Memaw, and MawMaw, and Boompa. But I have found that more than not in other parts of the country, people use simple terms like “Grandma and Grandpa.”

Accent: prominence of a syllable in terms of differential loudness, or of pitch, or length, or of a combination of these.
I have lived away from the south now for about 15 years. While I still have a definite southern accent, when I travel back to the South I am always reminded how easily you can determine a Southerner within the first few words they speak. After spending some time there recently, I started thinking about colloquialisms and accents.
Since I tend to call home wherever I live with my hubby, I have always tried to adapt to where I currently am. One of the ways I do this is by attempting to “learn the language” and speak it! And being a grammar person, I have also enjoyed working on my vowel pronunciation over the years.(I’m just gonna say it. Southerners speak a totally different vowel language. If you don’t believe it, ask for a pin. You’ll receive a writing utensil. And if you are in a group and mention Lent, they’ll wonder why you’re randomly talking about the stuff in your dryer. And never say in front of a group of Northwestern preschoolers that you like benches. They’ll gasp and call you out! – Just ask my sister!!)

In the last few weeks, after traveling and being away, I have thought about what it means to arrive back home. I thought about where we have lived and how we have always tried to make it our home by becoming “one of them”. And I couldn’t help but think about my real home. Home home. You know the one – heaven. I thought about the people I am doing life with here at my home on earth, and how I want to speak in a lingo they understand. It’s just easier to communicate without barriers that I’ve created. But more importantly I realized that reaching out to those who don’t understand my other language – Christianese –  is of utmost urgency. I truly desire to connect with those who don’t understand my biblical dialect. More than anything I want to find ways to most clearly speak the gospel message of hope. A message so important that God emptied Himself and became one of us to share it. He communicated to us in one language – the language of love. And without it, the words we speak can’t be properly translated and we only make noise, but offer nothing.

We may laugh at colloquialisms and accents we encounter. I have no problem laughing at myself and the way I say things! Maybe sometimes we don’t understand what people are saying or mean. But we should all get serious about learning to speak the universal language of love. Everyone understands that one. And it’s the only one that matters in the end.

Love. Never. Fails. 

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