Languages are amazing if you think about it – they allow us to get our thoughts and views and thoughts and feelings heard and understood. Without them, know one would know what each other was saying – imagine a world where no one can communicate with eachother. Imagine how lonely and isolating that would feel…
I think it’s so important to be able to speak multiple languages, even if it’s just a tiny bit of another language. I think a lot of British people are under the impression that they will never need to leanr another language because the majority of the rest of the world also learns and speaks English. Especially young people, I find. Like, I’d say about 80% of my French class at some point has moaned about how boring and hard and pointless it is to learn another language. Learning a language, however, is the complete opposite of that. How can gaining an insight into another countries culture and identity be boring? How can it be pointless to equip yourself with a valuable skill that can open so many new doors for? Learning a language, however, is hard. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on it! I find learning languages really rewarding as as you gradually go along, you find yourself understanding more and more of that language without even having to think about it! The more you practice a language, the more effort you put in to learning, the easier it gets.
Personally, I have studied French at school for seven years now but only in the last year or so have I actually appreciated the value and importance of learning a foreign language. I really enjoy learning French but, as I said earlier, it seems that most of my classmates do not. They all complain about having to learn vocab each week and having to do writing and speaking assessments and what not. They are not able to see the value of learning another language, of gaining and developing a new skill. This makes me sad.
Especially in today’s society, a language is a valuable skill to have and could be the difference between you getting a job or not. Even if after studying French I slowly start to forget parts of the language because I will be out of practice, the fact that I will have GCSE (and hopefully A-Level) French on my CV will prove that I am capable of learning new skill.
I really, really hope French sticks with me for a long time though. I mean, at the moment I am definitely not fluent in speaking French. I can write better then I can speak it but still not as well as I can read/hear French and understand it. The thing is, pretty much all of my friends who take French dislike it so I never have anyone to peactice speaking it with. I know speaking it moee often would help me understand more and possibly help with my listening exams as I wpuld be able to understand the sometimes difficult pronounciation more, but talking French to yourself is not much fun and feels kind of weird to be honest!
According to Duolingo (the language-learning website I use to revise for French – I highly recommend it to learn any language to be honest) I am currently 46% fluent in French. As the website only tests my reading, listening and writing skills though, I know I am definitely not that fluent in speaking it! I think you can get it to test you on speaking too if you want but you have to download the app on to your phone/tablet and my phone doesn’t have enough space.
Anyway, back to my point (whatever it was – it’s really annoying when I ramble amd get off track sometimes), even though I can’t speak fluent French, I’d like to think that I could understand quite a bit of French if I actually went to French (hopefully or else the past 7 years have been a waste!). I also started learning German on Duolingo last summer and got to about 35% fluent but when I started revising for my GCSE French exams in February, I had to give up German as I didn’t have time to do both but someday I will pick up German again because I have always wanted to learn it (probably due to my obsession/love of Germany and everything German).
But what I’m really trying to say here is that learning languages is good and important and interesting. I think people should really start to value languages more and, especially in my school, show respect towards their foreign language teachers and actually put effort into learning a new language.
Even with my small amount of German, when I went to Berlin last year, I did manage to speak a little bit of German like ‘hello’ and ‘thanks’ and ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘goodbye’ and whatnot. I even managed to order food in German which I was surprised at. So you see, languages make going to foreign countries a whole lot more interesting and fun because it’s so rewarding to make yourself understood in another language.
So, if you have the opportunity to learn a new language, I’d say embrace it! Languages are such a magnificant thing and laguages really are freedom, after all. 🙂
Hope your all having a good Easter weekend, whatever religion you belong to!
P.S. I couldn’t find a related feature image sooo…yeah I kinda just chose one from Berlin! 🙂