The benefits of learning a new language

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The benefits of learning a new language

Max Brabham, Reporter

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While most electives are things that are optional, there is one exception. Language electives such as Spanish, French, and Latin, are a requirement for all students, as one needs at least two language electives in order to graduate, but why is it that learning a different language is so essential to the education system? While there are many different answers to the question, most of the answers will point to one or more of the multitude of benefits that come along with the knowledge of a new language, and while each language has it’s individual perks, there are a couple of benefits that are gained no matter what language you learned.

Communication:

Out of all the benefits that are received from learning a new language, the most obvious and in many cases most applicable one is the ability to better communicate and interact with a population that does not speak the same language, which on it’s own comes with a large variety of benefits, one of those being increased employment opportunities in the job market, “There are many jobs after college that are going to require you to be bilingual or if they don’t require it they will look at it as an advantage simply because it opens up the market” Spanish teacher Maria Moody said.

Another benefit that can be seen through communication is that the experience of traveling to a new country is highly enhanced, as the rich culture of the said country and the ability to communicate with other people are more open to a person. “I felt that one day I’d like to go to France and I’d like to be able to speak the language well,” Sophomore Anna Carrol said.

Culture:

Languages are old, some languages can be traced back thousands of years. Due to this long history, languages can have a vast cultural background, and by learning these languages those cultures are uncovered and explored. “in my opinion when you learn a second language, it’s not only to learn the grammar or the language and the vocabulary and expressions, it’s also to learn the cultural practices” Spanish teacher Nancy Correa stated.

An example of this rich culture and history is the Latin language, Latin can first be seen appearing in the year 75 B.C. and is used in many historical texts and epics such as The Odyssey and The Aeneid. Without the preservation of the Latin language hundreds if not thousands of years of rich history would be unattainable to humanity, and in this case takes priority over the ability to fluently speak the language, “There’s not as much conversational starters of sorts, because you’re more focused on the language and the stories that go along with the language rather than communicating with people on a daily basis” Sophomore Amber King stated.

Mental growth:

Through many scientific studies it has been proven that through learning a new language the mental growth of one’s brain is greatly increased, as the processes of memorization, application, and uses of grammar and context use parts of the brain that are somewhat less utilized, and this growth takes effort, “Most of us are not used to exercising that memory muscle, so it’s painful when you tell students that they have to memorize so much vocabulary or conjugation, they fight as hard as they can, their brain doesn’t want to do it, and yet it’s one of the major advantages of learning a language which is raising your memory power” Maria said.

Similarities and differences of each language:

Finally, each of the languages taught at RNE at least, which are Spanish French and Latin, each have their similar benefits while also having benefits that are specific to them. Here is a venn-diagram on these similarities and differences:

 

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