How Learning A New Language Can Change Your World


COMMUNICATION  is “lit”, “dope”,”petmalu”, “fire”, or any other millennial slang word for cool. Being able to communicate and share information with people all over the world is the reason why the use of social media is so popular and why the internet itself was created in the first place.

Our planet is a “small world after all” and communicating with people from other countries has become  inevitable, with more and more people traveling overseas than ever before. This is especially true here in Palawan, where, as the World’s #1 island, we welcome a lot of tourists to our province.

Even in our own homes, we already follow international celebrities on social media, like J- and K-pop stars, European actors, British singers, Spanish rappers, and American personalities. But don’t you ever wish you could understand what tourists are talking about in front of us, or what is actually being said in the Spanish rap, Despacito, or in the Japanese anime movie, Kimi No Nawa?

By learning a new language, you will be able to immerse yourself in a different culture, meet and converse with new people, and understand what they have been saying on your favorite K-drama all these years. And you can do all of this without even having to put down your smartphone.

There are many apps that are available in the App Store and the Play Store that make learning a new language into a game, like Duolingo and Memrise.

Duolingo has courses in Spanish, Japanese, German, French, and many other languages. It has different levels:  you start from the basics and make your way up to more complicated words.  After that, you get to move on to phrases, like how to order a pizza or tell a joke in another language. They also have a funny green owl mascot that motivates you to keep playing. Earning gems can unlock exclusive lessons, like pick-up lines or different sayings in your chosen language.  You can also invite friends and compete for the most XP (experience points).

Memrise also has a variety of language courses. Their approach, however, is video game-based.  Here, you are a Rebel Space Pilot trying to fight a galactic war while learning how to greet someone in a different language. Every lesson you begin brings you closer to ending the war. There are also fun tools in the app called mems. They’re like modern day memes, where they use funny pictures to help you remember a new word.

I find Duolingo a much more fun and smoother app than Memrise, although Memrise is a good one too. Duolingo even has a feature where you can add your progress on your LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is sort of like an online resume where professionals can enumerate their skills and credentials.

Imagine how impressive your resume or college application will look if you put “can speak a foreign language fluently” on it, especially if you’re applying for a job overseas, or even here in Puerto Princesa City where we come across tourists from so many different countries. Applying for a job requires you to list your skills and talents and being multilingual is very attractive to many employers. Research shows that employees who can speak multiple languages are more valuable to companies, especially those that have branches in or have ties with other countries. Being able to speak more than one or two languages increases your chances of getting a good job with these big multinational companies.

It is even becoming more valuable for college applicants. College admissions officers have the responsibility of accepting a wide variety of students, and passing the college entrance exams or having a high academic average does not immediately mean that your application will stand out. By adding the fact that you are multilingual to the list, your application will become much more impressive. Plus, research shows that people who are multilingual have strong intellectual and mental development, qualities that are very important to college admissions officers.

But aside from getting a job or being accepted in a good school, learning a different language can be really fun. If you and your best friends learn a language together, you’ll get to speak in a somewhat secret language while impressing other people with your new skills. Watching your favorite anime or K-drama without subtitles is something to look forward to as well.

Use the technology in your hands for learning since that is what technology was made for in the first place. Facebook will not miss you if you spend 10 minutes a day learning a new language, though I can totally relate to the difficulty of getting yourself to commit some of your precious time away from your Instagram feed. But the time you spend will not be wasted, and it might even be the best decision you ever made.

So, in the language I am learning, “que la fuerza esté con usted.” Spanish for “May the Force be with you.”

 

Elise Suarez is a former Junior Inquirer Writer. She loves Netflix, her phone, her ukulele, and Snowpea- the family dog.  The writer wants to make a difference in the life of every person she met and in the society in general. 

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