I am monolingual. Monolingual means I only speak one language. I learnt a little bit of Italian in school, but not much! I see some really tiny kids chatting away in a different language and am baffled by how quickly they can learn it! And some kids know more than one and are bilingual. Are you?
Have you ever wondered why people from different countries have different skin colours, look different and speak different languages? Well, our skin colours come from adapting to our environment, with those with the darkest skin living closer to the equator and those with the lightest, living close to the Poles. But what is with different languages?
Language does change over time. New words are added to our dictionary every year. Many English words actually came from Latin, which is a language no one speaks anymore. Ancient Greek is what the New Testament of the Bible was written in, and I know a man who is fluent in it. But when he went to Greece, he tried to talk with them in Ancient Greek and no one understood it – it had changed so much!
What do you think?
Language and words and accents are funny things sometimes.
Real or made up?
Bumfuzzle, collywobbles, bumbershoot, flibbertigibbet, gardyloo?
All of them!
Bumfuzzle. This is a simple term that refers to being confused, perplexed, or flustered or to cause confusion.
Collywobbles. This refers to a weird feeling in your stomach or an overall bellyache.
Bumbershoot. This is referring to an umbrella.
Flibbertigibbet. This is another fun word! This refers to someone who is silly and who talks incessantly.
Gardyloo. This is actually a Scottish term. This is what people living in Edinburgh shouted out their windows as a warning before dumping their slop buckets out of their windows.
Do you know any words that have been added to the dictionary lately?
Random new words I learnt when I went searching are:
Awesomesauce: means, “extremely good; excellent.”
Beardo: is “a nickname for a person who has a beard.”
Sharent: is used to describe a parent who frequently uses social media to share photos or other details about their child.
But what about the descendants of Noah. How did they come to have different languages?
"At first everyone spoke the same language, but after some of them moved from the east and settled in Babylonia,they said, "Let's build a city with a tower that reaches to the sky! We'll use hard bricks and tar instead of stone and mortar. We'll become famous, and we won't be scattered all over the world."
But when the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower, he said, "These people are working together because they all speak the same language. This is just the beginning. Soon they will be able to do anything they want. Let's go down and confuse them! We'll make them speak different languages, and they won't be able to understand each other."
So the people had to stop building the city, because the Lord confused their language and scattered them all over the earth. That's how the city of Babel got its name.”
What is wrong with building a tower to the sky? It is the thoughts that go with it. They will be as tall and strong as God as they will be united. Being united is great, so long as we don’t grow proud and think we don’t need God, and that is what is happening here. Pride is the problem. It’s the thought, “I can do it without God, I don’t need him.”
Bible Passage: Romans 12:3
"Do not think you are better than you really are.”
Bible Passage: Philippians 2:3
“Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves.”
Sometimes we say, “I am so proud of you,” and that’s fine. There are two definitions for pride:
- feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one's own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated: "A proud grandma of three boys”
- having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance: "He was a proud, arrogant man"
God does not want us to be the last one. He wants us to have pleasure and satisfaction when we reach our goals. He doesn’t want us thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, better than we really are.
The people in Babel thought they would become famous and won’t be scattered all over the world. Then they would be so fantastic that they wouldn’t need God. They could rely on themselves.
Nowadays, we are like Babel too. Our cities are full of people. In the city, we feel part of a large community. We feel safe and strong and we don’t need to rely on God for our safety or our food or water. This is what God wanted to avoid and so he split up the community by changing their languages.
But why does he let our community continue to do what they did in Babel – being proud and not relying on him?
I think that we don’t need to be divided up, as we have all the information we need in the Bible, including this story! The citizens of Babel didn’t have books to learn, but we do! We can learn from history and other people’s experiences. So let’s not be proud.
Bible Passage: Psalm 118:8-9
“It is better to trust the Lord for protection than to trust anyone else, including strong leaders.”
As someone who lives in a country rich enough to play podcasts, you are likely to have not needed to rely on God as much as those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from or when. As kids, I think it may be easier to rely on God, as you have less control over your activities.
I struggled to think of personal stories of me relying on God because I am not very good at it! But I can tell you about how I’ve been learning to over the last few years, since Covid …
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said:
Bible Passage: Matthew 6:9-11
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread …”
We are to ask God to provide what we need for each day, and rely on him to provide.
- Have you ever relied solely on God about something? What happened?
- How can we rely on God more?