Die Grenzen meiner Sprache: The Limits of my Language

A film by Jules Leaño

The Limits of my Language follows Omar, Katie and Wes, three newcomers to Leipzig as they navigate life, friendship and bureaucracy, all while learning German. Made over the course of a year, in collaboration with the contributors, this short film explores experiences of discrimination, isolation and frustration, as well as the kindness and humour experienced while integrating into their new country.

While speaking is essential to learning a language, it can be stressful – whether frustration from their ability to express themselves being curtailed by a lack of vocabulary, or fears from the judgement or othering that people face when they fail to speak a language “properly”.  By juxtaposing Omar’s images, Katie’s drawings and Wes’s words, with attempts to express themselves in German, we get a glimpse of what is missed when one only hears an accent or grammar errors, instead of the person speaking.