what are the most important rewards of learning another language?
LingQ Writing Contest submission by SanneT
When I talk to others about the rewarding aspects of learning another language, they often say it helped them at work and enabled them to make friends more easily when travelling. For me, the rewards changed gradually over the years. Living and learning English in the UK liberated me from the stigma of having been unable to get it into my head at school. Being able to talk freely and fluently was so amazing. First it enabled me to communicate with my daughter’s nursery, then with her little friends and in turn with their parents. Gradually my social network grew. I went out to work, I was able to study and to teach. Learning English opened up its literature, its culture. Being able to write well was one of the greatest pleasures.
When trying to learn other languages later, I curiously enough deprived myself for a long time of all the rewards English learning had given to me. I didn’t believe that I was capable and so wasn’t making much progress with whatever language I tackled. I was plenty interested, but not committed!
I was lucky that I came across a website that seemed written for me. It happened to be the first language learning site I ever visited. I had found LingQ.com: the pure joy of the learning process came back slowly, but surely. I re-learnt how to learn a language in a way that suited me. My listening skills improved enormously and this extended into other areas of my life! I can interpret the most mumbled of conversations now. The fact that I also came across lots of interesting people and topics was an added bonus.
I now just love writing in all sorts of languages. The thought of being able to read favourite books in the original brings a smile to my face and when I travel, I open my mind and my ears to the local language. I’m not a great tv addict, but friends swear that they get a great deal out of being able to watch and understand foreign telly, films and music!
If I were to summarise the most important points of learning a language for me, I’d say “increased confidence, increased ability, increased opportunities”. I’d also be inclined to mention the friends I feel I have made along the way.