Opinion

Why Languages Keep Us Connected

Yasmin Ayture discusses why learning a new language opens up opportunities in a globalised world.

By Yasmin Ayture 

Today, our lives are connected to each other…

Some people say “our world is getting smaller”, and the reason for this being said is that technology and the internet exist so people living in all different countries can easily speak with those who are foreign to them. For example, whilst going on holiday in another country or whilst doing an educational programme abroad, it’s possible to meet and become friends with people, even after you leave.

In past times, it was much more difficult to continue speaking with the people who we had recently met because there was no social media. Nowadays, we are much more fortunate, and when we meet new people, if we want to, we can save their telephone numbers straight away.

However, in my opinion a big problem still remains. If we meet another person, it is possible that we may speak different languages. To overcome this problem, the other individual must at least know our native language. If not, it will be difficult communicating. From my personal experiences, I cannot actually say that ‘language’ is the most important thing for the development of relationships because laughing, hugging, and smiling are all too a language. Yet, generally, if our friends have come from different countries, they must know your native language, or maybe you must know their native language, in order to communicate. Therefore, we know that they strove to learn a language, or we know that we ourselves have worked hard to learn a language. It shows that we must have put in effort.

I suppose that learning another language hasn’t caught some people’s attention, and this is not a problem – everyone is different and not every person will learn a foreign language. Yet, some people are not putting in this required effort simply because they believe that learning another language will be far too difficult and they are sincerely afraid of this. If I can say just one thing, I would say ‘do not be afraid of learning foreign languages’. When you begin to learn, you really will make the most embarrassing and worst mistakes, and sometimes you will feel like you have hit a wall. You will not want to continue, but if you do continue, it will slowly become easier and you will get the benefits.

In my opinion, whilst speaking someone’s native language, you can connect with them in a deeper and more real way. Unfortunately though, this works in both ways, and you probably cannot express your deepest thoughts or secrets in your learnt foreign language. To solve this, we must find a balance.

So, the best result is for each person to know at least two languages. To learn another language is not always easy, but the most important thing is definitely to not give up. Also, on the internet there is a lot of advice and you can take recommendations from people who are learning a language or who have learnt another language already. To learn is not the difficulty, to actually open one’s mind is the biggest difficulty. In your free time, if you want to improve your second, third, fourth, or even first language, finding the motivation needed  will be one of the best things you ever did. You will gain confidence, the learning process will be fun, it will be interesting, and in short you will become a more open-minded person.

In life, very few things are actually impossible. If you are still not learning that language which you have always wanted to learn, if you remember that it is not impossible, that it isn’t scary, then it will suddenly open up a world of excitement.

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