November 29, 2016, by Emer
Why Learn A Language?
Without wanting to sound like a cringy phrase from a personal statement, I have a passion for languages. I study English and German and this year I’ve been taking evening classes in Spanish with the Language Centre. As you probably know, modern language learning in the UK is declining rapidly, with language departments dwindling in schools across the country. I find this quite sad, and a little bit scary to be honest, so here are my arguments in favour of learning a language.
- Travel/Work/Study Abroad
As our many international students, and anyone who has taken advantage of the Erasmus Study Abroad scheme, can testify, going abroad is a brilliant opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture. Travelling to another country, be it for work, education or fun, can really widen your horizons. This travel is going to be made exponentially easier by learning even a little of the language of your destination – the inability to communicate in a foreign country can be very scary and quite isolating.
- £££ – Job prospects!
Language skills are a massive bonus in pretty much any field of employment. Especially in the business and trade world, the ability to communicate with businesses in other countries is invaluable. (And let us put to bed the idea that ‘Everyone speaks English anyway’ – it is incorrect and quite culturally arrogant!) This article from the Telegraph lists the languages which supposedly lead to the best graduate job prospects.
- Better understanding of your native language
While studying the ins-and-outs of another language’s grammar may seem like a complete drag (and believe me, I’ve spent excruciating hours staring at tables of adjectival endings!), it can be a really useful experience. You start to really appreciate the way that small changes in word order and seemingly insignificant things can have a large impact on the meaning of a sentence. Also, for any students of English linguistics, language learning can be so helpful – no need to spend ages trying to work out what a modal verb or the dative case is, you already know!