Super random post from me today, but oh well.
Today I’m going to talk about why I love languages. Not programming languages like Python or HTML (although those are pretty rad too) – but languages like the one I’m typing in now (INCEPTION omg).
I’m gonna ask you a question: have ever stopped to really think about how insane languages are? If you think long and hard about it (which – if you have a lot of time on your hands like me – is easy to do), isn’t it totally amazing that humans can communicate with each other and understand complex ideas and emotions using words that somebody made up? Like what I’m writing now. To someone who doesn’t speak English, it’s a load of nonsense. Yet to a certain group of people, my words convey a totally specific meaning (that was probably too deep for 5.23pm on a Wednesday but oh well).
Since I was a child, I’ve kinda been obsessed with languages. I don’t even know why to be honest – there was just something about being able to communicate with people all over the world in their own language that excited me. I actually did learn a little bit of French in primary school (although it was very, very basic) – and I remember always looking forward to the lessons (I believe I was also in some sort of French club at one point, although the details are v. hazy) so much. And then in Year 5/Year 6 (dates in my childhood are very hazy lol), I attempted to learn Spanish with one of those BBC teach-yourself holiday guides. When I actually started learning Spanish at school (Year 8, for sure), I realised that my pronunciation needed a bit of work (hint: Vs are actually Bs in disguise) – but I actually knew quite a lot of words (and everyone was like: ‘is she Spanish???’ lol).
Fast forward to now: I’m doing two languages at GCSE (french and spanish, my old friends) and I would legitimately do more if I could. Not to mention, I’m doing an online Italian course and I try to pick up some Yoruba here and there around the house (key word: try). I bet that I probably seem crazy to some people at this point (it’s a common occurrence tbh) – but I feel as if I’m literally in love with languages at this point (and France. I would marry France if I could). For all the reasons above, obviously, and also the fact that they just sound so cool. I feel like everyone’s had that experience where there’s a bilingual kid in your class, and everyone pesters them to say something in their language just for the thrill of hearing something other than English. That’s… kind of what I feel everyday. And for everyone who’s not obsessed with the auditory qualities, research shows that speaking two or more languages (i.e not just English) is a great way to increase your career prospects. For example, did you know that knowing a foreign language could add between 10% and 15% to your wage? Apart from that, it’s also one of the few things that can help to boost your IQ score.
However, I’ve got to be real with you guys. Learning a language is not easy. It’s not something that can be done in a couple of days, weeks or even months. It can’t be timetable into neat little 40-minute slots (although schools seem to think otherwise. After all, few people graduate secondary school actually being able to speak a foreign language, despite having studied it for 5+ years). I, personally, like to think of learning a language as a life experience. Yeah, I have the textbooks and lessons and stuff – but it’s more than that. You have to make an effort to immerse yourself in the language (which can admittedly be pretty hard if you’re not actually in the target country) – whether it be through books, movies, music (Spanish music is the BOMB) or just talking to someone who speaks that language.
And to finish, a cute little quote because I’m ineffably classy (and use words like ‘ineffably’)
That’s all for today!