English – the language of the world, the language of trade, business, music and international travel. One would be forgiven to think that, with it being so readily used and available at any point in your life, no matter where you are, you’d grow sick of it pretty quickly.
My first contact with (American) English was as a toddler, when American friends spoke to me and I seemingly understood. So is the beauty of language mixed with children: they absorb everything and learn at warp speed. When I went to school, my first English lesson was like opening a treasure chest. I was hexed by the softness of consonants, the elongation of vowels and the sing song intonation of native speakers when I listened to the audio tapes. I sat in my room for hours, replaying segments of conversations over and over again, then repeating, then listening again, until I had perfected my own pronunciation and enunciation of every single word. Later I sat with CD booklets, reading along to music and then singing out loud, learning the lyrics until I knew them by heart, a dictionary always at my side as my bank of vocabulary increased steadily and word order as well as grammatical phrases became natural habits I knew off by heart. I remember my English lessons, loving every single one of them, thriving, indulging in them nearly as much as I did when I wrote pages upon pages in my native tongue. Language was and has always been my sanctuary, and, other than German, I have rarely taken to anything as naturally as English. When my teachers explained the grammar, spellings and phonics to us for hours on end, I listened and took it all in, but I rarely referred back to those rules of the correct usage of English. Instead, I just knew what was right and what was wrong. I felt the language, I intuitively followed my instinct and was rarely disappointed. I trusted English and, so it seemed, English trusted me in return. This mutual flirtation was only scratching the surface of what was to come when I finally moved to England. Nothing could prepare me for the love and passion for English and the delight I feel when I know I am able to write confidently in a language that is not really my own. This has evolved and manifested itself because I was able to fully immerse myself into the language and its cultural aspects. Nevertheless, I was never prepared for just how much I could fall for this language, nurture it and make it my own. I love everything about it: the sound, its quirks, its infuriating difficulty with silent letters, and not to forget its over-usage of homonyms, homophones and homographs. Native speakers and foreigners alike tell me it is one of the most difficult languages to learn. I agree, but feel lucky that, as a linguist, me and English never had an issue. We fell in love and have remained partnered up happily ever since. I just “get it”, but I am not saying this to boast. I am fully aware that there are lots of better writers out there. What I want to say is, that English is the linguistic love of my life, always has been, and always will be. It has been the biggest reason why I stayed here, after painful break-ups, difficult times and the hideous Brexit divorce. English is my ally, my best friend, my lover. I am grateful I can use it every day of my life. And, English and I are planning for it to stay that way.