Second Language Learning


Leaning a second language can be very difficult. Humans are not really wired to learn one or more languages easily when they are older. In fact, it is surprising that humans can learn language at all; there are only two specific genes we have to code for it. In any case, it is difficult. Yet, especially as we enter a more and more connected global marketplace and culture, it is vital to be able to speak another language to foster understanding and for business applications. Part of living in a global world is being part of other cultures, and part of that is learning a second language.

Learning a second language is easiest when we are children. The reason for this is that as children are brains are still developing, especially the parts that learn linguistic function. We are actually coded for a couple of different types of grammar physically, and this solidifies in our brains early. This is why learning as an adult is trickier- it is still possible, but much more difficult. When we are young, we are naturally supposed to be learning a language, so learning a second language is quite easy if we see it practiced by native or fluent speakers. Monkey see, monkey do.

Of course, in many cases adults must learn another language. In many American high schools and schools around the world, students are expected to learn a second language. It is not impossible, but it is more difficult in this situation. Unfortunately, because vocabularies are large and many languages have weird exceptions to rules, a lot of role memorization is required. This is not in and of itself bad, but it does cause many problems, in that many people do not have the discipline to fully learn a language, and their ability to speak the language fades over time- so it many cases students fail to learn it. With work and dedication, it is possible to overcome this.

Learning a second language has many benefits, both obvious and subtle, especially in the modern world. The first, obvious thing is that you get to communicate in this language. This allows you to have more friends, visit that country, and various other benefits. There are also the abilities to appreciate that culture's art and literature in the native language. There are in addition benefits to the brain to being bilingual – it increases processing abilities, lets you consider problems from multiple angles, and help build neuron connections.

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