Daily Prompt November 22nd – A Bird, A Plane, A You: You get to choose one superpower. Choose one of the these and explain your choice: the ability to speak and understand any language; the ability to travel through time; or, the ability to make any two people agree with each other.
Considering my current situation this is an easy choice. I moved to Finland to live with my now-husband a bit over three years ago. We intend to live here for the long term. So I’m living in a non-English speaking country, with a husband who speaks English as a second language, most of his family do not speak much English (or if they do are not hugely confident to speak it), our children will learn Finnish, if I ever want a job I need to learn Finnish…
It almost seems obvious that I would go for the first option.
Speaking foreign languages does not come easy to me. I’ve been learning Finnish for as long as I’ve lived here. Actually I learned a few words before I moved here. Despite that I constantly feel that my language skills are not good enough.
I can more often than not understand the gist of a conversation, but not the details. I may be able to think of how to contribute to the conversation, but by the time I’ve figured out how to say what I want to say, the moment is gone.
Finnish is the primary language spoken in Finland. A lot of people, especially the younger age groups, do speak English, but they may not be confident to do so. When we got married it amazed me to see how many of my new husbands family suddenly revealed their ability to speak English in order to commune with our non-Finnish guests. Alcohol had a lot to do with that though…
But the superpower is the ability to speak and understand any language. Beyond simply Finnish (and of course my mother-tongue, English). I still think that would be useful. Finland’s second official language is Swedish, and it would help my job hunting to be able to speak both. And being bordered by Russia, the ability to speak Russian would no doubt come in useful at times. Then there’s the fact that one of my best friends is Danish, and it would be great to be able to converse with him in his own language. And he has a German girlfriend so learning German might be nice…
I think it is very very extremely super-duper unlikely that I would ever learn that many languages. Sometimes I feel like it is very very extremely super-duper unlikely that I will ever be able to speak Finnish to a satisfactory degree, but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. I hope…
With regards to the other two super power options… Time travel would be pretty awesome but it’s also a complicated thing. There’s so much that could be inadvertently changed, and it would be very tempting to change things that had gone wrong, or that I wish had gone differently. And who knows what unexpected side-effects such changes could have.
The ability to make any two people agree with each other… I’m wary of that. It could so easily be abused. And it messes with freewill. That’s never a good thing. Taking away people’s free will… I can understand in some cases people might want to get people to agree – two warring factions to agree to a peace treaty, your children who won’t agree on what film to watch – but like I said, I don’t think messing with free will is a good thing.
All things considered, the ability to learn any language any time… That would be what I’d want as my super power.
Of the three choices at least. If I could have anything at all I think I would go for something similar to the learn-any-language thing, but slightly different….
Does anyone remember Charlie from Heroes? The girl at the diner that Hiro falls in love with and tries to save? You remember her power? Yeah, I want that.
Which of the three super powers would you choose? Why?