Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to be…monolingual

As many of you know I am in language school right now. The language school I attend is a school that offers German and a few other languages to people who need to learn a new language due to a job or a desire to learn a second language. There are no requirements to what languages you know, where you come from or why you are there. All that matters is you want to learn a new language (and you pay of course).

Here are some things I have noticed in class so far:

  • Out of the 19 students only 2 of us speak one language, the other 17 speak at least 2.
  • Breaks are really boring when few people speak English.

I have always been a proponent of people learning the common language in the country they are living in and I still believe that, which is one of the reasons why I am taking German now.

Taking this class, though, has made me think more about people becoming bilingual (at least). In school we all learned some other language and by learned I mean we sat through a class and passed a few tests. The problem is, we didn’t have a need to really learn the language because English is the predominant language used for business throughout the world. I am learning German so I can get around in Germany and communicate with Germans, but in the States I didn’t have to use German outside of class, so I never committed it to memory.

I want to look at some of the advantages to learning another language though and hopefully you will see why learning another language might be something of interest to you even if you do live in an area where people only speak your language.

The obvious advantages:

  • Learning a second language helps you solidify your knowledge of your first language.
  • Going to a foreign country is easier if you know more languages (obviously this is dependent on what language you know and what country you visit).
  • It’s cool to say you are bilingual and even cooler to say multilingual!

The not-so-obvious ones:

  • Job opportunities may be available to you that wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Showing interest in someone else’s language and culture can open doors that wouldn’t otherwise be open.
  • Talking to someone in their first language about God and their relationship with Christ can make them feel more at ease.

I’m not saying everyone should go out and learn multiple languages purely for the sake of learning languages, but what if you did learn another language? What if a learned Spanish and a job opened up in Spain through your company? What if someone new comes to your church or neighborhood and you can be the welcoming committee because you speak their language? What if you have a friend who speaks Spanish, German, Italien, etc? Wouldn’t it be awesome to sit down with them and invest in them by truly learning about their language and their culture? You just might be surprised at what that would mean to them.

Any of my readers speak multiple languages?

If you want to learn a language but don’t want to spend a lot of money I can possibly point you to a couple websites, just let me know!

Posted on May 22, 2013, in random and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Tashia Abdullah

    Timely post for me. I plan to return to Kenya this fall and am learning as much Swahili as I can grasp. Was thinking about purchasing Rosetta Stone. Do you have any other options? Thanks

    • This is not a plug, but I got a lot out of livemocha.com and its free! There is a pay version which is a lot better, but the free version works for a decent foundation.

  2. Good points Jacob. I have been learning Spanish through a really great FREE program through Southern Maryland regional libraries. It’s called Mango Languages. They also offer other languages and German is one of them. Here’s the link: http://cosmos.somd.lib.md.us/magazines All you need is a library card!

  3. Christine Deyuliis

    Great post! Would love to really know Spanish or sign language…hard when you are not immersed in the culture. Going to check out live mocha today!

    • Definitely check out livemocha and find someone who speaks Spanish or knows sign language and just hang out with them once or twice a week, get some coffee and learn some Spanish. I have tips for that too if you want them.

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