With the relaxation of pandemic restrictions, many people are planning to resume international travel and visit faraway places. Many of these getaways will be to places where the locals speak a language different than the visiting tourist. The travelers may decide to invest some extra money preparing for a trip. It is a common practice to try to learn in advance some conversational phrases in the foreign land where you are visiting.

Today, there are several software products available to aid in learning how to speak in a foreign tongue. The most popular are Babbel and Rosetta Stone.

Babbel, operating out of Germany, is an online language learning platform. The company, founded in August 2007, now employs about 700 employees and freelancers. The word “babbel” means to chat in the Hessian dialect of German and Dutch. It is also a pun on the Biblical Tower of Babel, where God confounds the speech of all and scatters them to areas throughout the world.

Rosetta Stone, based in Arlington, Virginia, is also a developer of interactive language-learning software. About 1200 employees work for this company, which was started in 1992. The company is named after a black basalt stone found near the town of Rosetta in northern Egypt in 1799 that bears an inscription in hieroglyphics, demotic characters, and Greek. This stone helped decipher the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. 

There is debate regarding which product is better. We will leave that discussion to linguistic and computer software professionals. Instead, we will focus on another source that permitted people to hear and speak in other languages. That source is the Holy Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost, tongues of fire descended upon them, and each one understood the other while speaking in their native language. There were no software programs available and there were no fees. The Word of God was free for all and understood by all.

We will commemorate the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, this Sunday, May 23rd, at our 9:15 AM (indoor) or 10:30 AM (outdoor drive-in) liturgies. Please join us. And if you are one of those people who like to prepare in advance with knowledge of native languages, we suggest you consult with Babbel or Rosetta Stone regarding the Hebrew word “ruach” or Greek word “pneuma.” We guarantee you will be filled with the Spirit!