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Student 23's picture

Another Metaphor

If the brain is a government building, thought itself is one of those top-secret rooms. Words are the secretaries and messengers for that top-secret office, and they may not know what goes on in there, but whatever Thought wants the rest of us to know, Words have the responsibility of exposing.

But then again, sometimes the Thought Office doesn't want anybody else to know what's happening inside, and the Words wait outside the locked door waiting for a piece of paper to pop out of a mail slot or something like that.

To further the metaphor, one's native language comprises the Words that have access to the top-secret Thought Office. When you learn a foreign language, the Thought Office must go through all sorts of bureaucracy to convey any sort of information to the world, and that slows you down, as bureaucracy will.

Today I went to Spanish Table immediately after class and experienced what happens when these linguistic bureaucrats cross paths.  The very clumsy Hebrew words kept colliding with the Spanish ones, which were going about their own business (though still didn't quite know their way), and there was quite a mess.  So when you let untrained government workers run around loose, they run into things.

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