The Beacon

Should everyone learn another language?

Savannah Pinnock, Staff Writer

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Language can be defined as an intangible yet cohesive element responsible for vibrations of oneness present throughout society.

It is the inconspicuous cause that results in strongly unifying and collective effects. The gravity behind language is immeasurable as it is central to virtually every phenomenon seen throughout society.

On an individual level, one can quickly ascertain the extent through which linguistic illiteracy can affect members of society. If one seeks to travel the world, or make connections with individuals from another walk of life, it is nearly impossible to accomplish if one is not fluent or familiar with the language of the other person.

Language is a well known concept, yet its significance is often taken for granted. With this being said, it begs the question, is it necessary for everyone to learn another language? The answer to this is a resounding yes, although the extent of exposure may be affected by one’s culture.

According to Leonardo De Valoes, an adjunct faculty member writing for Trinity Washington University, on an international level “being unable to communicate in a country is akin to living with a serious impairment; it is very difficult and near impossible, to adapt and get along with new people if there is no way to communicate with one another.”

This situation is prevalent around the world within individuals who are unilingual or lack fluency in other languages they be be exposed to. This phenomenon is known as a language barrier and it emphasizes the need for fluency in other languages.

Such a situation is manifested in different ways dependent on which hemisphere one calls home. Within the Western world, the vast majority of individuals subconsciously subscribe to a philosophy of rugged individualism.

Guiding principles such as the American Dream and an individualistic pursuit of happiness have shaped the Western World. Alongside this air of individualism is a strong desire for autonomy and affiliation with individuals who are similar to you.

Often, this is seen in cases in which an individual knows the language of their parents as well as that of their peers, cohort, and remote society. Often individuals find themselves with the ability to speak one or two languages, however as it pertains to intercultural relations, the individualistic person may find that they are lacking on an linguistic level.

On the other hand, the vast majority of the Eastern world are subconsciously influenced by a collectivist worldview. Notions of a group consciousness and interconnectedness are stressed in a harmonious way. The result of this is often a desire to learn the language with which one encounters.

This desire is fueled by a collectivist love for community and interconnectedness. In other words, the collectivist may possess a natural inclination to learn other languages. If one follows through with this cultural predisposition, the collectivist may soon attain the status of being a polyglot.

Subsequently, one needs to evaluate their personal philosophy; if you find that you lack the desire to learn about other cultures, it is essential that you learn another language as your comfort zone lies within your individuality.

On the other hand, if you are a collectivistic person, you may already possess an inclination to be familiar and connected with other cultures, especially the language of those cultures. With that being said, it is imperative that the collectivist follows through with this proclivity as it is essential on a universal level.

So, when pondering whether everyone should learn another language, rest assured that the answer is a resounding “yes,” as language is central to virtually everything one may encounter.

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Should everyone learn another language?