Should Students Learn a Second Language?

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Should Students Learn a Second Language?

Exposing students to the learning of a second language is essential due to the effects and implications derived from the act. Usually, people have always viewed languages as media platforms capable of traversing and producing information and knowledge regarding other cultural practices and processes. To a considerable extent, language affects the lives of all persons irrespective of creed, race, or location across the globe. It allows the expression of emotions, passions, challenges, and queries to the surrounding environments. However, certain perceptions regarding differences in language have managed to become pervasive despite the lack of evidence. Nonetheless, the ability of human beings to understand languages regardless of the disparities that exist within them illustrates the extent to which the learning of a second language is possible and instrumental in the long-term. In addition to this, language allows students to acclimatize to new cultural settings and approaches efficiently by avoiding barriers that are usually associated with communication such as misconstruction, filtration of information, and misunderstanding. After all, the ability to adapt and assimilate efficiently in other different cultural and linguistic backgrounds is dependent mainly on the dialects learned. In this sense, students should learn a second language because it can develop different thoughts for them and help them to know more about other cultures.

Learning a second language will help students become more adaptable by providing an opportunity for them to communicate and interact in different regions. The present setting essentially comprises a global community hence necessitating an understanding of different dialects. As students, the attainment of a second language is essential to the respective objective because it will allow the individual in question to be capable of interacting efficiently in different contexts. Additionally, Boroditsky adds that “speakers of different languages must attend to and encode strikingly different aspects of the world just so they can use their language properly.” (“How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?”). While language may necessitate various prerequisites for speakers, it enables them to acclimatize to new places and contexts by facilitating them with the ability to assess and implement the elements that they find different in their lives in an effort to live and communicate without difficulty and complications. Naturally, the possession of a second language provides the individual with the facilities needed to thrive in a foreign setting by enabling adaptability to things such as customs, practices, or lexicons applied by the native civilians within their linguistics.

Aside from the impact on adaptability, learning a second language enables the development of different thoughts by influencing diverse ideas and premises regarding common aspects that affect every individual. From the argument established by Boroditsky, it is clear that language poses a considerable effect in the shaping of people’s thoughts. The situation arises because languages tend to require or necessitate different conditions for their respective speakers hence establishing disparities that may be witnessed in the form of diverse cultural backgrounds, practices, or customs. In addition to this, languages pose an effect on the derivation of ideas essentially affecting the development of different thoughts. In an experiment aimed at testing whether this is true, Boroditsky discovered that while people from different linguistic settings tend to observe things in a similar manner to English-speaking persons, they also possessed different thoughts regarding routine elements and processes such as time. For instance, among the Kuuk Thaayorre – an aboriginal tribe living in Australia – foreign speakers are actually forced to think about the significance of space and orientation in interacting and communicating effectively with the members of the respective group (“How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?”). In this respect, the effect of language on the development of new ideas facilitates the creation of different thoughts.

Consequently, the impact of learning a second language on the thought process is illustrated by the effects it imposes on one’s understanding regarding different cultures. For persons that are only able to engage in a single language, the opportunities to comprehend disparate cultures is somewhat limited as opposed to bilingual students. For instance, an English-speaking student capable of talking in Portuguese may be more equipped to understand the Portuguese culture in a more enhanced manner when compared to an English-speaking student unable to converse or communicate in the respective language. The extent to which learning a second language affects the understanding of a different culture is further illustrated by its implications on the development of thoughts. As reiterated by Boroditsky, language essentially imposes an effect on the way people think (“How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?”). In fact, it is possible to argue that people who speak different languages may possess a disparate way of thinking that enables them to approach issues and subjects in a more effective way, especially in foreign contexts. In this respect, the bilingual learner readily understands a different cultural setting because of his multifaceted linguistic capabilities. As an outcome, the learner can obtain different yet novel thoughts concerning new cultures.

Students that learn a second language can know more about other cultures by having the ability to exist in alternate linguistic contexts or “universes.” In this sense, the notion of context simply involves the setting that the student inhabits on a routine basis. Hence, the learner capable of speaking in different languages can gain knowledge regarding different cultural settings because of his or her ability to exist in both realms. A good illustration of this involves the use of slang in American culture. Despite the negative images that slang possesses especially among standard English users, it constitutes an aspect that establishes cohesion among people regardless of their differences (Dalzell “The Power of Slang”). For example, a learner versed in the use of standard English and the communication of slang can co-exist within both linguistic contexts without suffering the consequences that usually arise from being an outcast. Additionally, since slang is a common linguistic device, the multifaceted learner can build relationships and learn more about other sub-cultures that utilize the medium in question as a standard trope of communication.

In retrospect, learning a second language is an essential process that supplants vital implications to students in the long-term. Foremost, students that learn a second language possess the ability to interact and communicate effectively in disparate locations. In essence, the extra linguistic capabilities allow the students to establish interactions with people that speak other dialects in other areas. Consequently, learning a second language encourages the development of different thoughts by enabling students to think about different ideas regarding things that affect them on a daily basis. It is also imperative to note that the effect of learning a second language is based on its impact on the comprehension of different cultural settings. Aside from providing students with the ability to adapt in such contexts, the possession of a second language generates more understanding regarding a culture’s customs, practices, and habits. Lastly, learning a second language ensures that the learner possesses the ability to co-exist in diverse linguistic contexts. Based on these aspects, students should learn a second language because it assists them in developing different thoughts and knowing more about other cultures.

Works Cited

Boroditsky, Lera. “How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?” Edge, 6 Nov. 2009. Accessed 17 May 2018.

Dalzell, Tom. “The Power of Slang.”, 2005. Accessed 17 May 2018.

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