After living abroad for a while, the whole idea of a ‘nationality’ or belonging become confusing when one leaves ‘home.’ Providing answers to seemingly simple questions such as “where are you from” need elaborating and the idea we had about ourselves becomes just one of many. Yet, in the mountain of confusing new situations, there may be something that will always tie us to our heritage – the language.
Ever tried to talk with someone that doesn’t speak your language? Although there are ways to make your point clear – I remember successfully ordering a baguette in France after pointing at the long piece of bread – but there certainly is a gap in the communication. This gap, however, is not a semantic one. There is a dissimilarity in the data (namely different languages), which is of a lower level than a semantic gap. When you think about the cries of babies, one could argue the same. Although most parents see their newborn as a real conversation partner, the only response they can expect after their extensive story is a cry. Yet, new research has given us findings that narrow this low-level gap in the data. Babies, as discovered by Mampe and colleagues (2009), cry in the language of their mother.