Do you think learning a foreign language is important?

posted 1 year ago in The Lounge
Member
812 posts
Busy bee

I don’t think it’s absolutely neccessary but I do think it’s an important skill to have. I was so terrified of learning a second language that I put it off til my senior year of college and I wish I wouldn’t have because I really enjoy learning it (Spanish). I definitely think it should be part of elementary school curriculums because that’s when it’s easiest to learn a language, brain-functioning-wise. 

Member
219 posts
Helper bee

Yes and yes! Such a great skill to have! I wish I would have taken my foreign language classes in high school more seriously and continured it into college. I would love to be fluent in another language….I feel like I would be so much more of an ideal candidate for jobs.

Member
3324 posts
Sugar bee

yes I think it’s important lol. I can understand five languages, including English, and I find it’s quite helpful.

Member
2555 posts
Sugar bee

Sounds like this thread needs a poll. :)

 

My answer is YES! I think it’s vitally important!

Member
1584 posts
Bumble bee

I think its important; I grew up trilingual at home; then learned Spanish in school. Definitely helps when I travel!

Member
933 posts
Busy bee

I do think it’s nice to know a foreign language.  I also think it’s important to teach it young.  Young children seem to pick up languages faster than older children and adults.  My goddaughter grew up watching Diego and being around Latin American soccer players and knows way more Spanish than I do.  I took three years of German in high school and only remember the things that one would yell in a traffic.  I took two semesters of French in college and studied French for a trip to Paris, but find that I can only read and write (at a very low level).  I can’t speak or comprehend spoken French at all.  I blame this on learning it from a computer program and books. 

One problem I see is the choice of languages offered.  I went to a tiny H.S. that offered only Spanish and German.  The neighboring schools only offered Spanish.  While I think Spanish is a useful language (I just didn’t like the teacher), it would have been nice to have other choices.  And for that matter, which version of Spanish is being offered?  Latin American?  European?  I understand that the school I went to is now offering Japanese as a distance learning option, which, for me, would cause the same problem I have with understanding the spoken form of the language.

 

Member
1096 posts
Bumble bee

yes!  It is extremely important to learn at least 2 languages if not more.  I am currently getting my masters degree in spanish and I am working on my french and my arabic.

Member
3000 posts
Sugar bee

@MrsRuby:  Yes and Yes! Not only is it benefiical for traveling and communication purposes, but it is also highly marketable in the job market and it actually further develops the human brain (sorry, I was a nueroscience major). By learning a second language, it actual strengthens the language network nuerons and buffers against the effects of stroke.

In terms of optimal learning of second languages, the ideal time period is between 6-10 years old. It is a critical window for brain and language development. Yes, you can and should learn languages if you missed the critical period, but it is much easier during that time.

I speak English, Spanish, know sign language and I am learning French. My current position actually paid me $5,000 more at hiring because I spoke Spanish!

 

Member
6407 posts
Bee Keeper

Yes, unless you live under a government that will not allow you to travel.

It’s a whole planet out there we have been born into and I for one am going to make the most of it. Communicating with other people I meet is important to me, I don’t like to be the typical, ignorant tourist. I want to understand other views, learn new ways of thinking. I can’t do that all in English. I am working on learning several languages.

Member
222 posts
Helper bee

Yes yes yes! I got my bachelors in Spanish and I’m currently in grad school for secondary education to teach middle/high school Spanish.  It is so helpful in daily life, not to mention that learning a second langauge increases the ability to learn and remember other subjects.

Member
10365 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I think it should be mandatory. I also think foreign travel should be mandatory. So many of our issues in America could be solved with a better understanding of the world around us!

Member
8046 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@MrsRuby:  Depends on where you are. I always resented learning French in school (I’m in Canada) but it ended up being one of my better courses and helped me get into university. It would also help me get a job that requires you to be bilingual (pretty much any job w. the feds here), and it helped me when I went to Paris. I think the process of learning a new language can help you with grammar in your own language. It’s a good skill to have even if you don’t ever use it or become fluent.

ETA: I suppose though if you’re in a country where there’s only one main language, it’s not as necessary, but still good IMO.

 

Member
3456 posts
Sugar bee

I think it’s important even if you can’t remember how to speak it later because it teaches you how language shapes thought. I have learned both Spanish and American sign language, both of them have very different syntaxes from English. When people talk about things differently they also think about them differently. I sometimes wonder how countries that speak romance lanuages which gender everything are ever going to be able to move away from sexism because it is somewhat inherent in their language.

Member
2092 posts
Buzzing bee

Oh man, YES! I wish I had been required starting at a much younger age because kids pick up new languages so much faster and easier than adults. We weren’t required to take a foreign language until high school and even then, only 2 years. I ended up taking 3 years of Spanish and wish I had stuck with it.

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