I may have mentioned this before, but ever since I have started seriously learning Norwegian one of the unintended side effects is that I now approach my own native language with greater scrutiny.
For example, one of the most beautiful things to me about the Norwegian language is that many of the words themselves can be traced back directly to the national embrace of the social democratic system. And now that it is becoming ever more clear to me, I try to look for a similar thread in my own language, too. I ask myself: What is the English point of view? What is the American English point of view? What are the things we believe in so deeply that they have snuck into the very words we articulate ourselves with?
To be honest, I haven’t quite figured it out yet and I’m not sure if I ever totally will. However, I have found some small things along the way. The word ambivalent is a good example . I always thought it just meant to “not care”, especially re: a situation or a choice between two things. “I am ambivalent about what we are having for dinner tonight.”
But actually it is so much more than that. Instead of “not caring”, to be ambivalent specifically relates to having mixed feelings or not being able to choose between two things. So we really do care, we just try to hide it with our indecision. Just a thought.