Czech proverb, “Learn a new language, gain a new soul,” is so beautifully illustrated by Robin Wall Kimmerer’s practicing her ancestor’s language, Potawatomi. She is even more fluent in botany.
I loved Krista Tippett’s interview with her:
The Daily Good reposted her essay from The Moon Magazine:
Robin inspires me. In her own struggle to learn a language with nine remaining speakers, she is helping keep that language alive. Even her beginning, broken Potawatomi is deeply meaningful. Every new word counts. Every attempt to view of the world through a new language enriches our souls and our world.
She says, “I remember the words of Bill Tall Bull, a Cheyenne elder. As a young person, I spoke to him with a heavy heart, lamenting that I had no native language with which to speak to the plants and the places that I love. ‘They love to hear the old language,’ he said, ‘it’s true.’ But, he said, with fingers on his lips, ‘You don’t have to speak it here, if you speak it here,’ he said, patting his chest. ‘They will hear you.'”