It’s perfectly possible to not know a word of a language, but to seem as if you know the language and culture well if you know the symbolic utterances and music of a language…it’s rhythms, rising and falling.
If you know when to make sounds of sympathy and appreciation.
If you know when to exclaim in amazement or outrage.
You can love and protest and join in the communal conversation by floating on the subtext of the sound, the music of the language…the seeming nonsense sounds are the door to feeling…and becoming part of the heart dialogue.
Aka-ka! [followed by a tongue click and an incline of your head] will get you far in Botswana…even if you know nothing more of the Setswana language.
Try this approach wherever you happen to be–even at home–and see what happens. Tune out the meaning of the words and listen to the music of the language flowing around you.