Tongues

I like calling languages “tongues” –
Because we all have tongues.
And if we all have tongues I can learn
To move mine like yours:
Like an Arab tongue,
A Danish tongue,
A Kiswahili tongue,
Or a French tongue which insists on pushing its way down your throat.

The term “language” is so daunting –
“Foreign Language Learning” is such a mouthful:
My oral cavity stretching itself from the labiodental fricative
All the way back to the velar plosive,
Just to push
Push
The damn phrase past my chattering teeth.

Just the term “Foreign” feels funny in my masticating mouth –
“Language” languishing just a little too long for comfort –
“Learning” just too dull to describe what it means
To understand someone’s tongue.

Tell me about your tongue.
Does it flick off your alveolar ridge and teeth and clacking clucking clicks?
Does it curl and vibrate in effortless trills? Marrrrrrrrrria.
Does it dance a precarious dance with your velum and glottis?
Does it create words that others thought impossible?

Teach me to move my tongue like yours.

When I lived in Greece they told me the best way to learn a language:
Sleep with a native.
Which was weird because I was 10.

But I think they had the right idea:
Because we invented language to communicate
And I can’t communicate when I am lost in the muddle
Of Second-Language-Acquisition-Jargon.

Teach me how to move my tongue like yours:
It is not your language I want to learn,
But your tongue,
You.

speaking-in-tongues

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