Muse on Monday – May 8, 2023

I have always loved learning languages, partially for the challenge of it, but also to get to learn about other cultures and people. It’s because of this that language barriers show up in my writing quite a bit.

The advantage to having a language barrier in a story, either total or partial, is that not only does it provide conflict, but it withholds information from the characters and the reader. This can make the story more engaging. It also introduces the possibility of misunderstandings and mistranslations. Of course, this won’t work in every story, but it works well in stories about the meeting of different cultures.

Story Prompt: May 8, 2023

Write a story with a language barrier in it, either complete in that the characters don’t speak each other’s languages, or partial, in that one character doesn’t speak the other’s language fluently.

This can be written in any style, from dramatic to comedic. It can be a matter of alien races meeting with absolutely no comprehension of each other, or just a difference of dialects.

If you want to share your story, you can either email me at or submit it at the link here. I’d love to publish your story as well. I’ll try to write a story myself about this prompt and post it in the next while.

One Comment Add yours

  1. I love this premise. I remember years ago being in Italy with a guy who was so cute who spoke no English while, with the exception of ordering an Espresso and a panini, knew no Italian trying to flirt with a language barrier. So glad I was in my 20s and up to the task. I’m smiling from ear to ear. Thanks for taking me back to such an innocent time. 🙂


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