My personal experience with listening and learning a language


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The Mizo tribe performing a traditional bamboo dance at a traditional festival

I’ve always been interested in immersing myself in learning about the cultural backgrounds of multiple different tribes from Asia; however, my favorite of all to learn about is the Mizo people. They are a tribal ethnic group living in the mountainous region in the southeastern part of Mizoram—a state located in northeast India. But there are also other Mizos that settle in other places out of the state, country, and even continent. They are sometimes called Lushai, Pawi (Lai), Lakher (Mara), and Hmar.

What I find the most intriguing about this tribe is that it shares a couple of things in common with my people (Zomi), such as the similar words in the language, traditional clothing, and dances. Recently, there was this college student who would occasionally preach at my church; his mother is a Mizo native while his father is of Burmese descent. I remember the most recent time he sermoned for divine service at church, and he used his mother’s native tongue. I was familiar with some of the similar words that he was using, but the rest sounded foreign to my ears.

I also noticed how this young man was able to get along with my people since he also knew some phrases in my language. But mostly, I could recall back to the time when my friend’s father and him were conversing in Mizo and I was so focused on how some contrasting words were simple enough to translate into Zomi.

I could also think back to the time I felt like I had learned so many terms and expressions in Mizo just by simply listening to this student’s sermon and conversations with other people. I hope that I continue to learn more of the language and apply my listening skills with other different languages.

This was a new experience that had me in touch with people from different cultural backgrounds and finding so much love and kindness for them. I could never doubt that there’s a chance of befriending somebody who speaks uniquely from others.

I could never doubt that there’s a chance of befriending somebody who speaks uniquely from others. ”

For me, learning every element of different cultures is worth it. I know how much it influences me to want to make company with people who have different backgrounds from me and learn to respect their identity, especially their roots. I always want to tell these people that ever since I was a young girl, I’ve been deeply interested in becoming multilingual and acting as if I were actually a native speaker of that particular language. Honestly, my number one interest was always the Mizo people.

My heart has been sauntering around in a circular track of wanting to understand the values and wonders of the Mizos and what makes their culture slightly distinguished from mine and other tribes and nations.

I’m like a robot that can put herself on a track of exploring and developing my understandings of different cultures and their norms.

I just want to be like that college student who spoke at my church. I have a desire to be more confident and sincere enough to be proud of my own tradition but also enjoy other people’s traditions.

I can already imagine utilizing this skill for many languages, no matter what they are.

All of this is thanks to one youth pastor.