Hello everyone, Elizabeth here, and I'm incredibly excited and honored to be doing a guest post on Hannah's lovely blog!
Almost two years ago I started taking French at my local community college. I thought it would be cool to be able to communicate in a different language, and I was right. But it's been so much more. It's surprisingly helped me in other areas of life. True, I'm still a beginner, but even my limited knowledge of French has been very useful to me; so here are 5 reasons why you should learn a second language too.
It sounds crazy, right? But it's true. According to an article in the The New York Times, speaking two languages helps you develop cognitively, and not only linguistically. People who speak two languages tend to have an easier times solving puzzles and problems. They tend to do better on tests! So yeah, speaking two languages actually makes you smarter. Besides that, it's supposed to slow down cognitive aging.
2. People will like you better if you speak their language.
I work at my family's bakery, and occasionally someone will come in who speaks only Spanish. Let me tell you, it's probably one of the most stressful things ever. What if you get their order wrong? What if they misunderstand you? How are you going to get them to understand the difference between a latte and a cappuccino when you don't speak a word of Spanish and they don't speak a word of English? Now, take this situation and switch it around. You're the person ordering something at a French or Italian cafe, the waiter is really flustered, and so are you. It's getting really awkward. But what if you could speak a basic amount of their language? Tada, they instantly like you. The waiter is able to explain things better, and even takes the effort to strike up a conversation with you so you can practice your language skills. Really, even if you don't speak much of a language or very well, people who do speak that language will appreciate your effort and be as helpful as possible.
3. It helps you understand your own language better.
The more I learn of a different language, the more I understand my own. Every language is different, so when you learn a new one, you automatically want to know how it translates into your own language. You often have to learn entirely new grammatical structures, which makes you compare it with the grammatical structure of your own language. I never really gave a thought to why English is the way it is before I started learning French. Why do we say 'The blue shoes are in the corner' instead of 'The shoes blue are in the corner' like they say in French? How come we say 'hair' when speaking of multiple hairs instead of just 'hairs'? I've always thought that I spoke pretty well, but I've started to recognize more grammatical errors in my speech that I'd never recognized as errors before.
|I'll admit, I haven't read this|
in English, much less French!
True it takes time and practice, but it's kind of awesome. I can't say I have a lot of experience with this, but I've learned enough French to read the TinTin books with the help of my French/English dictionary and Google translate. There are quite a few things in the originals that are different from the English comics. The punchlines are different, but still hilarious, and even some of the names are different for humor's sake. It makes me want to read every book in its original language.
5. And last but not least...
Your family and friends probably won't understand a word you're saying. There are some cons to this, like, you can never have a conversation with them in that language, but there are pros to it as well. You can say literally ANYTHING you want and everyone thinks you're saying something really smart or poetic. Believe me, this can be really funny...
Are you learning a second language? What do you love about it?