The Limits of my Language

Die Grenzen meiner Sprache

The Limits of my Language

Die Grenzen meiner Sprache/
The Limits of my Language

by Jules Leaño

2019, Germany.
runtime: 30:40

Commissioned by
OWRI as part of the Cross Language Dynamics project

"Ich... ich brauche ein Freund für sprechen für mich...
I don't know the word for frustrating which is frustrating"

Moving cities can be overwhelming - finding somewhere to live, building up a social life, finding a job, it can be both an exciting and stressful process - even more so when you can't speak the local language.

The Limits of my Language follows three newcomers to Leipzig as they navigate life, friendships and German bureaucracy. Filmed over a series of 18 months, we see the journeys of 3 people as they learn German, and the impact it has on their lives. The project began simply with a set of interviews - all conducted in German.

However, it grew into a collaboration that resulted in three shorter films utilising Omar, Katie, and Wes's own creative language to communicate their experiences.

The Limits of my Language was commissioned by the Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community project. As a piece of research, it investigates the lived experience that a lack of language creates - what coping strategies to people use? How do they communicate? How does your language proficiency limit possibilities? Are there privileges that make those experiences easier?.