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The Value of Learning a Second Language

Updated on May 20, 2017
Bilingual Pamphlet
Bilingual Pamphlet | Source

Learning a second language can be difficult at times, but the struggle is well worth it in the end. The older you get the harder learning a second language will be. It's best to teach your children or take a language class in middle or high school while the brain is still developing, because it is easier for us to learn the second language of our choice. Having the ability to speak a second language is of great value on the job front, being fluent in that language even more so.

Why did I choose now to begin my quest of learning a second language? I've realized just how important it actually is to be able to not only speak, but write and read a second language for any job. I took French in high school but after three years I still could not speak the language due to the way the classes were structured. Now I'm investing what little free time I have in learning Spanish so I can communicate better with my employees.

I find it a joy to come home and relax while I practice and listen to Spanish with my puppy. My fiance is also taking Spanish in college to continue on his education from high school. It is my hope we will come to know enough Spanish that we can someday teach our children Spanish and the importance of learning a second language. I want them to love language and find joy in learning new languages, so it is my hope that we can teach our children to be fluently bilingual.

Japanese Flashcards
Japanese Flashcards | Source
Photo Flashcards
Photo Flashcards | Source

Tips for Easy Learning:

Flashcards-- Having a picture of the word you are trying to learn on one side and the answer on the back can be a useful way to learn simple phrases or words.

Memory--Personally my favorite way to memorize anything! It works great, I loved it and use this method for memorizing terms and definitions among other things for every college class. You can create memory cards with Spanish words and their English counter parts or you could match words to pictures. The options are endless, however you learn best is the best way to match the pairs.

Use labels--As a starting option you can label simple household objects for example the refrigerator, cabinets, table, or the door. These things are easily labeled without interfering in the every day use of these items.

Practice, practice, practice! Even for those natural learners who pick up things fast, practice is the key to becoming the best and mastering whatever it is you are trying to learn. With learning any language practice is key. Whether you practice alone, with someone who fluently speaks the language, or practicing with someone who is learning just like you, practice is your key to learning the language fast.

Tools for Learning a Second Language:

For those out of school and still interested in learning a second language iTunes has some great free podcasts and iTunesU offers free college courses for basically any subject.

There are language books for dummies along with other learning language books. Language books for dummies get mixed reviews depending on the language you are looking to learn and whether or not you want an audio dummy book. The language audio books for dummies are usually a star to star and a half lower than the regular books. Some of my very favorite books include the Practice Makes Perfect series. You can find books for every part of the language from speaking to writing. I love these work books because it allows you to teach yourself, by following along in the workbook. All the answers are in the back of the book so you can ensure you are getting the right answers. Below is one of my all time favorites in the Practice Makes Perfect series. This book not only comes with plenty of beginner exercies, but it also gives you access to some really great on-line resources.

There are many reliable sources online you can use as well. Spanishdict.com is a great source for those looking to learn Spanish. They offer lessons and will score you on how well you do for each lesson.

Your learning style will ultimately decide which tools and tricks you use, however most of these tips will work for any learning style. Whether choosing to learn by book or some online source learning a second language can be a snap if you are committed and practice.

It is never too late to learn a second language. The pros of learning a second language outweigh any cons you could possibly come up with. Being bilingual or even being able to speak a second language even a little will greatly increase your likelihood of being hired in today's job market. In some job markets you can get an increased pay if you are bilingual in the right language. Being offered a higher pay is a great incentive for most students to continue their second language studies through college.

However, these pay raises are not usually offered unless you are an immigrant that is fluent in English. There are not many incentives for Americans that speak a second language unless you pick the right field. For example the federal government is likely to pay you more if you have a second language in one of their most sought after foreign languages like Swahili.

Most popular foreign languages being studied in colleges by American students: German, French, and Spanish are dropping from the most popular languages being studied and are being replaced by Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Latin and Russian.

Learning a second language not only proves you to be a more qualified potential employee, but you get to learn about a new culture and new peoples. Whether you choose to learn a second language for a higher potential to be a better qualified employee, for fun, or to learn about your heritage, learning a second language can be fun and will ultimately prove to be one of the best decisions you've ever made.

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    • Shesabutterfly profile image
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      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks for the stopping by and the votes dmop!

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 5 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Thanks for writing this hub. I have been learning Japanese, very very slowly; yet learning still. Voted up and useful.

    • Shesabutterfly profile image
      Author

      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks for the comment nifwlseirff!

    • nifwlseirff profile image

      Kymberly Fergusson 5 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      I find that even just learning another language has many hidden benefits - improving communication, understanding different cultures, improving critical thinking skills, and much more.

      And I agree that it is never too old to start learning another language, although it does make it a bit more challenging to fit the time in around other necessary tasks!

    • Shesabutterfly profile image
      Author

      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks katedonavon, I hope you find something that you like and that works for you. I've been using spanishdict.com and it's been an interesting experience, but I have been learning quite a bit.

    • katedonavon profile image

      katedonavon 5 years ago

      Nice hub. I learned two languages as a child and have been very thankful for that. I also want to learn Spanish. I have studied it a bit before visiting South America, and I know some vocabulary but don't feel confident speaking it. I will have to check out some of the resources you mentioned. Thanks for the ideas.

    • Shesabutterfly profile image
      Author

      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks tammyswallow. I totally agree. In middle school we were required to take a foreign language class, but it only lasted half a semester and it only covered the bare basics of five or six different languages, it wasn't very helpful. Although I can still count in each of those languages.

      I'm definitely thankful I've decided to start now. Hopefully I will know enough that I can teach my children too :)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Shesabutterfly,

      This is a great article. I think everyone should learn a second language and it should be required in public schools. Citizens in other countries have such an advantage because they are skilled in so many languages. Great thoughts!