You never realize how much you rely upon language for life until you lack the words to convey that life. This particular struggle is captured perfectly in Chants of Sennaar, where learning unknown languages is the only way to progress. If you cannot understand the word monster, how can you be warned of a threat to come? How could you warn others? Some languages in the game contain this word, but some of them don’t.
While translating the words of the Alchemists into those of the Devotees, I had to find a word for formulas, which existed in the Alchemist language but not the Devotees. Their closest equivalent was potion. If you understand both terms, you know they can be far from the same, but the translation was functional in spite of its imperfections. What about all those that never translate? How would you get a foreign party to understand a concept for which they have no language? The Bards, for instance, have the only language lacking a word for death. What kind of culture might that produce? Perhaps they have a word for death, but it has a different meaning to us, such as music or monster. Maybe they have no word for it and either never experience such a phenomenon, or they live in quiet terror of the thing they cannot name.
The language we use shapes our view of the world and our experiences in it. Bridging the gaps in our communication requires willingness to connect. I hope to become like the main character of Chants of Sennaar and keep discovering more words, so that I can understand myself and help those around me understand each other.