Learning new languages opens minds

Maya Kasprzak, Reporter

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With around 6,500 known languages spoken in the world today, 54 percent of people in Europe know more than one language fluently. In Indonesia, there are at least 200 million bilingual or multilingual people in a country of 265 million. However, in America, less than one percent of people speak more than one language fluently. Even at MHS, it is required to take only two years of a different language. It should no longer be the norm to only speak one language in America.

In the past few years, considering the recent political climate, it seems as if the fear or harassment towards people speaking a language other than English has only increased. The phrase, “This is America, speak English” has been thrown around a lot. We have seen this type of discrimination before – towards Japanese people after Pearl Harbor, Middle Eastern people after 9/11, and still now. Because of the normality of only speaking English in America, stereotypes are put on languages. If America is the melting pot of freedom, all people should feel safe and comfortable speaking their native language. The United States has no official language for this reason.

Many monolingual people also are afraid that they are being talked about if people next to them are speaking a different language. We may all be guilty of that, however, if we had a society that was more accepting of the variety of life in the world, that paranoia would most likely not be as prominent. Learning a new language can open minds to new cultures, experiences, and people. It is also beneficial for traveling and inclusivity.

There is no reason to not learn a new language; one can learn a language for legitimate reasons or just for fun. It will only benefit people in the long run.

 

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