Wednesday, November 16, 2011

{ Did you know?? }

"Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about." - Benjamin Lee Whorf

"Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own." - Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

Language is important. To learn a language, it takes some intense brain-based learning. Foreign languages require a whole-brain approach - the use of the left and the right side of the brain. Everyone learns differently, too and one must consider their learning style prior to beginning a program or they will become easily frustrated by language and give up. But either way, don't get me wrong, learning a language is hard. But, ultimately, it makes you more intelligent and helps you to become a stronger individual. *read quotes above* Language opens our perspective to a whole new world of possibility - (just the same as traveling does :)) - you can begin to think about new topics, speak with different words, your mind can process more quickly, and you begin to better appreciate the diversity of people that surround our day-to-day lives. Language is beautiful - it improves our ability to communicate our wants, needs, and desires. It helps us to see the beauty behind a culture. 

So, bottom line. Language is important. I love language. My goal is to become multi-lingual (at least 4 languages). 

Do you know the top ten languages of the world? Well, there are many factors that make a language influential: number of primary and secondary speakers, number and population of countries using the language, number of major fields (like science, diplomacy, etc.) using the language internationally, the military power of countries using the language, the international socio-literary prestige of the language, etc. With that said, here are the... 

Top Ten Languages of the World!
  1. English
  2. French
  3. Spanish
  4. Russian
  5. Arabic
  6. Chinese
  7. German
  8. Japanese
  9. Portugese
  10. Hindi/Urdu
It is not superiority that places English, French, and Spanish where they are but rather the historical factors of their languages. 

I speak the top two languages of the world - English and French! I am slowly learning Spanish (it's quite simple considering my background with French) and I plan to work on Chinese and Arabic step at a time. "Slowly slowly," as the Indians would say. I do speak a *little* Hindi too - okay, it's merely a little Hinglish (Hindi & English) but I try! 

Many look at language and merely consider those that have the most primary speakers. So here is the list of top languages according to population:

  1. Chinese
  2. English
  3. Spanish
  4. Hindi/Urdu
  5. Arabic
  6. Portuguese
  7. Russian
  8. Japanese
  9. German French
This is one reason I need to learn Chinese. I need to have a better appreciation for their people and their culture - what a better way than to learn their language? Admittedly, I used to very much dislike (okay, maybe I was a little prejudice) Asians...but particularly the Chinese. This may have been because a sweet Chinese girl very much smashed me in a Local Sterling Scholar Contest in Utah. But please don't take this perspective has very much changed in the last couple of years as I've worked with some close Chinese friends on campus, traveled to Southern Asia, etc. I will only continue to appreciate and love their culture and people more as I get a little wiser (and realize, they've got the smarts! Sometimes, I feel I need to just stop trying...haha).

I have always loved language. I wish that I spoke more...and I wish I spoke them fluently. But I'm working on it. I'm so excited to live in Mali next Spring, to learn me some Bambara (tribal language spoken by many of the Malians) and to improve my French...I'm so close to considering myself fluent. 

Here's to Language! If you only speak one language, pick up a book, meet up with a bilingual friend, EXPLORE LANGUAGE! You will become a more competent, confident, appreciative, open-minded student of life.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this with us. I've quiet enjoyed the experience of reading your blog so far. Maybe some cliff notes at the bottom would be a useful addition to summarize the lessons...regardless i will be checking back here so keep up the delightful work,your readers appreciate it...

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