I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Russian. Yeah, I know, useful. But after taking a year of Russian to satisfy a language requirement for a natural science degree, I’d fallen in love with the language, the history, the literature, the politics and with Russians themselves. I may be the only person to ever graduate from UT with a major in Russian and a minor in zoology.
Even though I haven’t used my degree professionally, I think studying a foreign language was beneficial because doing so has been shown to improve cognitive, memory and problem solving skills, all of which I’ve used as a professional, as well as an understanding of other cultures. Maybe even more profoundly, my study of Russian instilled a deeper understanding of my mother tongue.
Over the years, with varying degrees of intensity, I’ve also studied French, German and Italian. So, when I got the weekly email from Motilo.com about the short film, Lips of Babel directed by Elle Muliarchyk, I was intrigued. Ms. Muliarchyk, a former model, is the daughter of a journalist and a diplomat and speaks five languages herself so she’s long been fascinated by language. When she learned that many languages besides English have tongue twisters she came up with the idea of filming models from different countries reciting tongue twisters in languages foreign to each model. Watching the video, some languages were familiar but others sounded like…well, babble. I think this brief film is an example of how languages separate us and cultural similarities bring us together.
P.S. I wish my lips looked this gorgeous every day.