Deepening geographical understanding through language

Wrocław, Poland

Jenna was asking me to remind her the name of a city in Poland that she had been planning to go for a conference. After I helped her pronounce Wrocław correctly (and was surprised at myself that I remembered it so well) she said something very interesting:

“I think it should be part of geography to also learn some parts of languages.”

I realize that lonely planet and guides will get into pronunciations. But what this made me notice is that when I was specifically studying geography, so much of the context was just entirely lost when it wasn’t coupled with a slightly deeper / local understanding. Not sure how curriculum has kept up, maybe it’s more common now.

But culture and geography are so intertwined, and connections and isolation between people have so little to do with political boundaries, it took me a lot of years after school to finally feel like I have a better sense of the world. It made me sad to realize how little I knew despite thinking all along that I knew and understood a lot more.

A “flux” view of the world


It’s important to remember how the world changes and why. It is always changing and it continues to change. Borders, boundaries, peoples, rights, wrongs – a “flux” view is the only optimal way to understand it all.

This is what America was around 1500 AD (yes, that’s only 500 years ago!).

I am an immigrant here and I came less than 20 years ago.
Europeans are immigrants here, and they all came in the last 500 years.
Native Americans are also immigrants here, but they all came in the last 50,000 years (this part is still being actively researched).
We all are about a 300,000 years old species.
The earth is about 5 billion years old.

Who has the “right” to be where and why? Should we ask the glaciers and the mountains and the forests and the animals here if they want any of us here? 😇 What would they say if we could hear them?