The Universal Language: Laughter

Surely we have all, at least once in our life, been in a room where everyone was speaking a language different from our own. You do not have to travel to a foreign country for this to happen. I experience it whenever I splurge and get my nails done. The industrious young women, immigrants from Laos or Vietnam, attend to their jobs while carrying on conversations with one another. The language is complicated. The language rings not one familiar note, yet it is lyrical. And, there is one piece which I understand, their laughter.

As I have been making my way from England to Belgium and now to France, I have heard many languages spoken—although I am not wise enough to always discern the difference, I have heard Cornish, German, Flemish, and of course plenty of French. I would love to know what their discourse is offering but more often than not, I just smile and listen. I catch a familiar word or two and decide for myself what they may be discussing.

Yesterday I sat on the banks of the Seine, thinking how amazing it is that we have so many languages in this world and thinking how in awe I am of those who can speak more than one…let alone several. It is without a doubt a talent I admire greatly and a talent that at current, I do not possess.

However, as I sat and listened to the passing strangers share stories, express themselves vibrantly, I noticed that no matter what language they were speaking, they all sounded similar when they laughed. There is such simple joy and pleasure to hear laughter from any lips–kind, generous, and honest laughter.

I often have heard that music is the universal language. It does not matter if you can not understand the words to the song, it is the melody and harmony which allows you to appreciate the notes.

Our laughter is music. When we find joy—no matter the language—we share the same expression. In this way, I hope we are reminded that not only is it important for us to laugh every day and feel the lightness in our heart, but we should also laugh every day to bring us closer to one another—a closeness that connects us no matter the language barrier.


  1. Carlos Moreno says:

    ¡Bien hecho! Gracias mi amor.

  2. Jean Moxley says:

    This piece is so poetic. Love your writing!

    1. Ann says:

      Thank you Jean! So lovely to hear from you.

  3. Karen Liebman says:

    I so enjoy reading your writings about your adventure, Ann.
    We really miss you in gentle yoga. Stay safe.

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