by Daniel Manders, International Studies
Reasons to learn another language
Learning any language will put you ahead of your competitors when searching for a job. Nearly all businesses have to deal with multiple languages and being able to speak in a foreign tongue will make you a hot commodity for any employer.
More Fun When Abroad
It’s highly likely that sometime in your life you will want to travel to another country, but when that time comes how will you go about planning it? Most likely you will use a tourist package that will get you a base feel for a new country but nothing more. But if you know how to speak the language you can do some exploring of your own make your own adventure.
Look and Be Smarter
There have been a few studies out that have discussed how learning a new language will improve cognitive abilities, so learning a new language can make you literally smarter. A new language also helps you appear smarter to your friends, since it's believed that learning a language is a hard thing to do (even though it's not).
A New Culture
Learning a language involves much more than just figuring out how to say something in a different way. You will pick up the culture of language as well, since it has a large effect on the language and it would be boring to learn a language and not know the people behind it.
If you decide to speak only English for the rest of your life you will have trouble speaking with the remaining 5,672,000,000 people in the world. Learning another language lets you interact with a lot more people and gives you a lot more opportunities in life.
Picking a Language to Study
Language is an important part of life for every human being to come into existence. It allows us to communicate ideas to one another and without it modern life could not exist. The only snag is that people came up with several thousand languages over the years and this prevents effective communication with others who do not speak your native tongue. Thankfully people can learn several languages, but to the beginning language student it can be a dilemma and which language to learn, so here are some tips on picking a language to study:
Pick a language that sounds cool.
If a language you're listening to makes you reach for some earplugs, then don't learn.
Pick one with a culture that you find interesting.
Learning a language is not simply knowing how to speak it but knowing who it is that speaks it. It is pointless to learn French if you do not learn anything of France or its people. If you have no interest in the culture where a language came from it can be pretty hard later on to have any motivation to learn it. Picking a language based on its culture will help keep you motivated to learn the language, and will help you pick it up faster (since language develops to reflect the culture it came from).
Do not pick it out of necessity alone
A lot of people pick a language, such as Spanish, to learn solely because they think it will be useful. This is not necessarily the best move to make. If you do not enjoy learning a language or the culture it came from, it will be harder to learn, and just make you miserable if you force yourself to. You should take any language that you want to learn, whether it be Spanish or French.
General Do’s and Don’ts
If you follow these tips you should do fine in any language class
Study a language you’re interested in
A bit obvious, but many language students often pick languages they think will be useful or to simply fulfill a University requirement. If you care about the language it will be easier to learn.
Think in the language
This will help with you acquire the language and will help you speak more fluently.
Practice a little every day
Use it or lose it.
Be a zombie
This can happen in a lot of classes, especially language classes. Students go to class, speak the least amount they can, and in general don’t care. Doing this only hurts your drive to master the language and will be a major barrier to passing the class
If you had to follow one tip from this list, follow this one. If you worry about how well you are doing or about how much you have to learn you will be discouraged and be more likely to give up. Just stay in the present and try and have fun learning.
Common sense says you should keep up with your work, but this is something that could make or break you. If you do not keep up with your work not only will your grade drop on your assignments and exams, you will also be behind in your language skills.
In LeaRN’s student publication “Your Road to Academic Success: A Guide for Students” you will find advice that you can use in not only this class but in all your classes.