The Language of Our Captors


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People think of colonialism as a kind of gentle help extended to primitive culture for the their own good. Of course, the colonizer has the right to depict its own mission in this manner to its own people. But when your own native language has been taken away from you, a lot of things go away from you along with that language. When a new language has been instilled in you, a great deal of things like world views… cultural things come along with that new language.” -Malidoma Patrice Some’ in Of Water and the Spirit

As I’ve traveled and met people who speak multiple languages, I’ve learned that not all thoughts are translatable into English and not all “American” points of view can be translated into other languages. This has led me to wonder how much language influences our pattern of thoughts. Can language in itself make us more prone to empathy, violence, or mysticism.

Are we further indoctrinated with every word we speak or hear?

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