Growing up, I always thought that English was a superior language and if you do not know how to speak it, you must be living under the rocks somewhere. I was proud and content with just knowing how to read, write and communicate in English. That was probably naïve of me and if there is one thing travel has taught me, it is that one language is not enough.
Business school didn’t make it any easier. Schooling with people who had over two languages under their belt was very eye opening and I’d admit, made me feel uncomfortable knowing just English.
Is one language really enough? The world has become so global and there are so many opportunities and people to miss out on due to being monolingual. Valuable relationships, job opportunities, business contracts, a whole new level of insight, enhanced creativity, etc. Someone once said, the limits of your language means the limits of your world. Sad, but true. A lot of people do not see the need, and that’s very understandable because, they have probably not being put in a situation that makes this inadequacy very glaring. (For lack of a better word.) Sometimes, it’s hard to know what you’re missing.
I remember meeting an old man in Belgium who, lucky me, could speak English. He gifted me this book that was written in French. Google translate says it means, “My little memory. Alzheimer seen from the inside.” Being a book lover, not being able to read that book was very regrettable. I have not only missed out on the opportunity of a possible good read, I have also missed out on one to discover the mind and story of this French writer. Not cool.
But the question is, why are we so comfortable being monolingual? Why isn’t it a life goal? Everyday we hear “couple goals”, “travel goals” “body goals” Why is learning a new language not a popular thing to aspire to?
Fortunately, my time in Peru was a step in the right direction as I now know a little over basic Spanish and can hold a decent conversation with at least a 7 year old. Yes to taking baby steps, but no to stopping there.
For the month of August, I am starting a one-month French pickup via Duolingo. This is a totally spontaneous month goal but I figured, why not? I’d usually read a new book every month but decided to switch it up a little bit. One month is probably not enough to master a new language, but, again, baby steps. Of course, you can join me in this journey as we pick up new languages and further expand our vocabulary and our world. One language sets you in a corridor for life, two languages open every door along the way.
(We all know learning a new language can be quite tasking, but I read this article last week that you might find helpful. Read it here.)
So, new life goal alert?
On that note, wishing you a very, very awesome week ahead.
Till next time,