5 Reasons You Should Learn a Second Language

03 August 2015

   Hello everyone, Elizabeth here, and I'm incredibly excited and honored to be doing a guest post on Hannah's lovely blog!
   Almost two years ago I started taking French at my local community college.  I thought it would be cool to be able to communicate in a different language, and I was right.  But it's been so much more.  It's surprisingly helped me in other areas of life.  True, I'm still a beginner, but even my limited knowledge of French has been very useful to me; so here are 5 reasons why you should learn a second language too.

1.  It's proven to make you smarter.
It sounds crazy, right? But it's true.  According to an article in the The New York Times, speaking two languages helps you develop cognitively, and not only linguistically.  People who speak two languages tend to have an easier times solving puzzles and problems.  They tend to do better on tests! So yeah, speaking two languages actually makes you smarter. Besides that, it's supposed to slow down cognitive aging.

2.  People will like you better if you speak their language.
I work at my family's bakery, and occasionally someone will come in who speaks only Spanish. Let me tell you, it's probably one of the most stressful things ever. What if you get their order wrong? What if they misunderstand you? How are you going to get them to understand the difference between a latte and a cappuccino when you don't speak a word of Spanish and they don't speak a word of English?  Now, take this situation and switch it around.  You're the person ordering something at a French or Italian cafe, the waiter is really flustered, and so are you.  It's getting really awkward.  But what if you could speak a basic amount of their language? Tada, they instantly like you.  The waiter is able to explain things better, and even takes the effort to strike up a conversation with you so you can practice your language skills. Really, even if you don't speak much of a language or very well, people who do speak that language will appreciate your effort and be as helpful as possible.

3.  It helps you understand your own language better.
The more I learn of a different language, the more I understand my own.  Every language is different, so when you learn a new one, you automatically want to know how it translates into your own language.  You often have to learn entirely new grammatical structures, which makes you compare it with the grammatical structure of your own language.  I never really gave a thought to why English is the way it is before I started learning French.  Why do we say 'The blue shoes are in the corner' instead of 'The shoes blue are in the corner' like they say in French?  How come we say 'hair' when speaking of multiple hairs instead of just 'hairs'?  I've always thought that I spoke pretty well, but I've started to recognize more grammatical errors in my speech that I'd never recognized as errors before.

I'll admit, I haven't read this
in English, much less French!
4.  You can read books in their original languages.
True it takes time and practice, but it's kind of awesome.  I can't say I have a lot of experience with this, but I've learned enough French to read the TinTin books with the help of my French/English dictionary and Google translate.  There are quite a few things in the originals that are different from the English comics.  The punchlines are different, but still hilarious, and even some of the names are different for humor's sake.  It makes me want to read every book in its original language.

5. And last but not least...
Your family and friends probably won't understand a word you're saying.  There are some cons to this, like, you can never have a conversation with them in that language, but there are pros to it as well.  You can say literally ANYTHING you want and everyone thinks you're saying something really smart or poetic.  Believe me, this can be really funny...

Are you learning a second language? What do you love about it?



  1. Yes! One of my dreams is to read "The Little Prince" in it's original language.(french:D)

    1. Me too! It's on my TBR list for this year, and I really hope I can get through it. And good luck to you too!

  2. Haha this is a great list :D It makes you smarter, you say? That's great!
    I love how awed my siblings are when I speak in Spanish.... It's so out of the ordinary for them and they think I know everything! ^_^ let's let them keep believing that for a little while longer, shall we?

    1. Isn't it great though?! Yes, and I think it's perfectly okay to keep people a little foggy on how much we ACTUALLY know. XD

  3. Dear Elizabeth,

    I LOVE this post. What fabulous reasons, too! Oh my goodness. I started taking French a little while ago because I've always been intrigued and my Mom is French so I like to think I have a Frenchie tongue...sort of. This has been a good kick in the pants for me to get back into learning the language, though -- so thank you! One day I intend to visit France and when I do, I want to be able to speak their language. <3 Also reading books in their original language sounds awesome. Great guest post, girl!!


    1. Abbie, thank you so much for your sweet comment! Tu parles francais aussi? C'est super! And that's awesome that you're mom is French. I'm sure that makes learning the language easier. (-: And good luck!

  4. Great post, Elizabeth! You totally nailed some of the cool pros to being bilingual. My mom's side of the family is all French, so I grew up with quite a bit of the culture peppered into my life. I'm still learning the language, but I adore the process. It's so much fun, and it's also a wonderful feeling to know I am speaking the same language that my grandparents and great grandparents spoke. It's pretty cool!

    1. Thanks Katie! That's amazing that half of your family is French. It must be soooo cool to learn all about the culture behind the language. And isn't it so fun and amazing to speak an other language? Bon courage!

  5. All these points are sooo true. I'm currently taking Spanish, and it really does help you understand your own language so much better. Hopefully I'll be good enough in a year or two to speak it fluently...in another country hopefully!

    1. I'm glad! And isn't it sooo cool how much you can learn about your own language from an other? Good luck with Spanish, Lauren I'm sure you'll do amazingly.