Language starts to form in humans during a critical period of childhood. It may be surprising to find that when babies babble, it is the first step in their lifelong quest to comprehending human language. At that age, whereas you may not be able to roll your Rs or elongate your As now, babies are able to pronounce every distinguishable sound. Facial expressions used to communicate by infants eventually transform into syllables and then words.
Human language appears to have evolved from gestured communication. The product is an ability to express our thoughts on a variety of topics, from “Hello” to “Help!” to “Do you believe in love at first sight or do I need to walk by again?” Since fossils do not leave the best examples of evidence for language -- the shape and size of the brain cannot tell us about intelligence -- other than the shape of the vocal tract, we can only rely on word of mouth passed down over the years to foster a better understanding of the development of language.
Being multilingual is an accomplishment that not many people are lucky enough to achieve. It is a difficult status to reach as it often requires strenuous effort. For some of us, it means having to grow up in a multilingual family, being exposed to several languages at once, which we eventually absorb in our brains. But then we must practice speaking, listening and even reading and writing.
It is an ability that is not appreciated well enough. We often do not empathize with those who struggle to piece together their English. We dehumanize them as if being unable to speak perfect English makes anyone less than human. We offer them fewer opportunities because they aren’t able to speak a language with a mannerism that best reflects their character.
I think it is important to remember that people who don’t speak English fluently have other languages in which they can tell stories, make others laugh and show off their personalities. Language barriers may be inconvenient at times, but we must learn to be patient. Every person, regardless of where they come from or the language that is spoken from their lips, has a history, a personality, a meaningful life story that deserves to be heard and not put down.