language

 

Something that stuck out for me this last term of University, where I was taking a beginners course in Spanish, was how you said or were asked how old you are.

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“yo tengo dieciocho años”

This may not seem to be different or of any interest to anyone else, but I particularly liked it. You see all kinds of posts on websites such as Tumblr, posting what `partner` is in Norwegian and that it translates as something meaningful and how the language is much more emotive and delicate comparatively to English. In the same way, the phrase above literally translates to `I have eighteen years.`

I liked this, simply because from the phrasing it implies ownership of those years; `tengo` the conjugated form of the infinitive verb, Tener: meaning to have. In English we would say `I am eighteen years old` and as we become older, we say it with more despair as if its a quality about us that we regret and have gained nothing from it. I like the Spanish phrase because to me it implies a greater sense of gaining experience from the years of your life much as if you would say `they have knowledge.` If you own something then you can accept it surely?

With another year having just passed it got me thinking and to me this seemed more of a positive outlook. I’m probably looking too much into this, but I think the language that we choose is important. Anyway, this is what interested me today.

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