“You live a new life for every new language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once.”
– Czech proverb.
The world is a big place, inhabited by over 7 billion people who use more than 6,000 languages to communicate. The more languages you can understand, the more people you can communicate with, and the further you can go. You limit yourself unnecessarily when you only speak one language. There’s an exciting world out there just waiting to be explored, full of people and cultures you’ve never even heard of – but they don’t come with English subtitles.
Language learning is much more than learning off vocab lists and verb conjugations in every tense under the sun. It’s an insight into another way of thinking. Every language has its own quirks; other languages have words for things or concepts which English doesn’t:
So I believe Ezra Pound hit the nail on the head when he said
‘”The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one
To learn more languages means to recognise that our way of doing things isn’t the only one out there; as the world becomes a smaller place, through ever-improving communications technology, it’s now more important than ever for us to be as educated, open-minded and accepting of other peoples and cultures. The way I see it, the first step in doing that is learning another language – and it’s really not as hard as we think. The internet is full of great resources – like Genki Japan for Japanese – you just have to look!