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LIFE AND CULTURE

What To Do If You, Your Partner Speak Different Languages

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Nowadays, relationships are increasingly crossing language divides. As people mix more and more, the chemical called love reacts before finding out what language those involved are speaking.

In the age of social media, this is more prominent, as primordial considerations feature less and less, because of the partial anonymity offered by keyboards. Social media allows one to be more cosmopolitan or be more carefree, depending on how you choose to see it. Thus, we easily find ourselves in relationships across linguistic boundaries.

Many Nigerians are now in ‘linguistically dissonant’ relationships (if I can say that without getting arrested by language police). Even when we enter into relationships from seemingly the same geographical locales, the linguistic diversity of Nigeria still makes us unable to communicate in one language. You often have to adopt a third language, which often leaves your communication open to interception by enemy forces.

There is nothing more worrisome than a relationship that has no linguistic privacy; you know, some kind of private WhatsApp or telegram in which the communication is encrypted.

Well, the WhatsApp or telegram messaging example could be a good start point in advising what to do when you and your partner do not speak the same language. Most persons in that situation devise secret codes for themselves. Devising secret codes often starts from pet names for themselves. Thus, starting from that, it would be advisable to avoid the regular names like Honey, Sugar, Love, Sweetie, and such.

My friend was as creative as having his wife call him Ebola and he calls her something like Lassa, representing all the types of feverish feelings they have when they think of each other!

But, when you are in the midst of people and you need to communicate, it’s important to maintain a language your partner understands or make efforts to translate the conversation to carry them along. If you are with old friends or family, that can be a tricky situation since those who know you from way back are unlikely to feel comfortable when you change your language of communication. Nonetheless, it is important to show that your partner is a priority to you and you want to carry them along.

Language can be a tool for bridging understanding but it can also divide. Persons in love ought to pay attention to not only how they feel, but how the other partner in the relationship feels.

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