This Article is About
personal growth
mental diseases
communication barriers
newness
new language
eye opener
great friends
language skills
native language
personal experience
health benefits
horizons
glue
A Path To Personal Growth: Learn A Second Language
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Speaking form personal experience, I can say that there are few things that expand a person’s horizons like learning about other cultures. One of the great joys in life for me is the newness of trying new foods, listening to the sounds of new music, and learning about different lifestyles. Our wide-eyed inner child craves that exploration, that newness, that feeling of discovery. As someone who has traveled extensively, I can’t get enough of that feeling. I’ll also say that language is so often the glue that binds everything together, and that learning a new language opens doors and opportunities like nothing else.

Certainly, the greatest benefit can be gained from traveling to foreign places and speaking the native language. While traveling alone is always a thrill and a huge eye-opener, speaking the language at even a very basic level will earn one respect among the locals. The fact that you’ve put forward the effort to learn the language shows your interest is the culture is genuine, and in turn, your experience with the people will be more genuine.

In addition to an enhanced personal experience, learning a new language will give you new avenues to meet new contacts and make new friends. Lets face it, two people who might have everything it takes to be great friends simply aren’t going to connect if they can’t communicate. We often talk of the ‘communication barriers’ that exist in society. Being multi-lingual is a sure way to start breaking these barriers down.

There are even proven health benefits to expanding your language skills. People who speak more than one language often remain more mentally acute as they age. There are even studies showing that they tend to develop mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s later than those who speak only one language.

Once I was speaking in Spanish with a friend of mine, and I commented on how I had to go through a different approach to language in Spanish than I did in English. I found his reply to be rater profound. “Hablar en otro idioma, es pensar en una manera diferente.” or “To speak in another language is to think in a different way.” This has a lot of truth in it, for example: Spanish has several different ways to express what we in English call ‘love.’ Or to say that you like something, you typically use the words “me gusta” which is basically saying that it pleases you. In Spanish, the thing that you like is what performs the action.

Speaking a new language will get you seeing things in different ways, keep you mentally sharp, make you new friends, and enrich your experiences. Having a good set of language tools will help you get started, but the most important part is to dedicate yourself to pushing past that language barrier. It will no doubt be a challenging path, but the rewards are many. Go for it!


Street Talk

I am going for it :) English is my third language and I can easily see myself learning French or some other language later in life

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

So wonderful to hear! If you speak three languages already, than I think your well on your way, and I'm sure you're seeing many of the benefits :) With each language you learn, your life becomes that much richer. The only problem is choosing which one!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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