23 Nov 2015

Learning Languages!

YES! Uni is officially over for the year and I'm back from finals hell! I was definitely away for longer than I wanted to be, so I'm gonna ease myself back into it with a post that is incredibly relevant to both my recent finals experience and my life in general.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a Japanese major at university and have been studying it since I started high school. It's been almost eight whole years since then, so I think I know a thing or two about studying foreign languages, especially considering Japanese is one of the most difficult for native English speakers to learn. On top of this I've also started teaching myself Korean and have dabbled a little in French. I only know the alphabet and some basic words, but everyone needs to start from somewhere.

Language learning has slowly become something that I'm very passionate about and I believe that everyone should give learning a second language a shot. Here's why:

You learn more about other cultures!
One of the things you are bound to learn in your studies is that language and culture are interdependent. They both have a very strong influence over each other, so much so that you can't fully understand one without the other. This can stretch from simple words for things and concepts that you've not experienced before to entirely different forms of speech for specific contexts. Learning about cultures other than your own is never a bad thing, and I think that in a global society like ours it's becoming more and more important.

You learn more about your own language!
Learning a second language means your constantly comparing and contrasting it to your first. Learning Japanese has made me really aware of the rules of English that come so naturally to me, such as the subject-verb-object structure. You can become even more aware of the little things you never considered without even realising, which is bound to be helpful in some way!

You learn not to take things for granted!
You'll quite quickly come to understand that fluency is something that's extremely difficult to obtain. Knowing that understanding another language, let alone expressing your own ideas in one, is so hard allows you to be sympathetic to people who are also learning other languages. I know I've seen way too many people ridiculed for not being fluent in English when it's not their mother tongue, and I think everyone should make an effort to understand that not being fluent in a specific language is not an indication of intelligence or ability. It's easier to become more understanding when you've had first hand experience.

You can communicate with more people and understand more things!
This goes without saying and has obvious benefits, but it's also really rewarding! Every time I watch or read something in Japanese and understand it I feel proud of my efforts and it definitely feels worth it. For this reason, I'd recommend choosing the language of a culture that you're interested in, because then it becomes a lot easier to continue putting in hard work and reaping the rewards.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope you'll consider taking a prod at another language if you haven't already! 

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time.


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