The Benefits of Learning a Second Language!
Second Language; Golden Tongue!
Being an Anglophone, I have to admit, I was arrogant about my language for the first 20 years of my life. I believed it was all I would need to succeed, and I was completely in love with the English language. I loved to learn new words and use them, almost haughtily, in my conversations. Touting little known expressions made me feel quite intelligent. And I foolishly believed that English would be spoken the world over, and for me, that made the need to learn a new language obsolete.
Now I know that that kind of stupidity and naiveté comes from youth. My brain was not rational, and very self-centered as almost all teenage brains are. But when I met my husband to be, 8 years ago, my ideals were shattered, and it was not easy to accept the reality I was faced with.
Before getting to the point, however, I need to give you an insight into the kind of person I was, and sometimes, still am.
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Never a subtle person, I was not afraid to voice my opinion. I could argue a topic with a passion, and very rarely gave up. Conceding defeat was very difficult for me and using my talent in the English language, I didn't concede very often. But I was also a little hotheaded and said things I shouldn't have without even thinking. I would also, instead of listening, talk over people and think no matter what, my view was the only view. Rude huh?
When I met my husband to be, we struggled a bit communicating because Christian was just learning English and I had a very limited knowledge of the French language. Arrogantly, I let Christian learn my language, almost expected it of him, and gave no thought to learning his. Even after 4 years of being together, my knowledge of the French language wasn't even functional. I blatantly disregarded the gift I was being offered to learn a new language, even while my daughter was speaking both languages, and I continued to speak only English.
The rest of that story is well known to most who know me. We moved to Quebec, I became a recluse, struggled to even answer the telephone, and all because I didn't speak French and no one here spoke English. It was a huge awakening for me. I realized that English is NOT spoken the world over and, even in my own country, I could feel like a foreigner.
Finally after getting over myself, I threw myself wholeheartedly into learning French during my second year here. I had lost a big part of my personality because I could no longer express myself in English, and I missed my confidence in that area of my life.
Understanding and Learning
But as I learned French, I also learned other things. I listened more often now. I no longer had the ability to listen with half an ear, because I had to really concentrate on what people were saying so that I would understand fully. I learned to think before I spoke as well, because I no longer had the ability to shoot off my mouth at random for fear of saying something wrong, or not having anyone understand what I was talking about. It was frustrating to say the least, but it taught me so much about myself that the importance of what I was learning was worth much more than my frustration.
Of course, I am still the same person. I still love a debate, and I still love my language. I still say things I shouldn't and I still want to be right, but these traits in my personality surface a little less frequently than before.
I explore my thoughts much more than I ever have and I think it helps me to make better decisions in what comes out of my mouth next. I think we should all give a little thought to learning a new language. It's not just the outright benefits of having a second language that will amaze you, its all the little things that you will learn about yourself and who you are that will give you a new perspective in life.
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