Why a Language is Worth Learning

Why a Language is Worth Learning

Colleen McMenamin, Staff Writer

As a student at Mendham High School language classes have been heavily pushed to be not only taken as a course but to be taken advantage of for what they are and what they have to offer. At the beginning of high school, I never really understood the real importance of taking a language class. Along with the undisputable extremely helpful skill of actually being fluent- or even kind of, in another language, the true importance is buried a bit deeper. 

Through having four teachers (all of which I thoroughly enjoyed as my teachers) over the three years of Spanish I have taken at Mendham High School, each has taught me an entirely different approach. Due to the fact that Spanish is an extremely popular language, being the second most popular language with over 460 million speakers, there are a lot of countries with Spanish as their official language; twenty to be entirely exact. Each one of these countries is obviously united over the fact of having the same official language, however, each and every one of them is entirely individual to each other. Each one of these countries has their own culture, customs, and rich history behind themselves. And each one of my teachers made sure to stress the importance of noticing this and appreciating each culture while explaining their own along the way.

My favorite part about language classes at Mendham is the idea that when in the classroom the students must only speak in that language being taught. Yes, I did find this extremely annoying while taking the class because of the challenging nature of this but it did push me to pay attention more and pick up on words I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. 

Although I am currently not taking a language class (hopefully this practice has been put on pause and not ended) I still do use the skills I obtained in these classes. My aunt is of Columbian descent and taught my cousin Spanish before English, so primarily when I go to visit them this ability has been extremely helpful. Other than this super-specific circumstance I often find myself in situations where knowing maybe a couple of words of Spanish may be useful. Whether it’s not dramatic, like helping the kids I babysit with their own Spanish homework, or if I ever have that what-if scenario of getting lost in a Spanish-speaking country, I’ll probably be fine.

Overall taking these classes helped me learn something I was not even aware I was learning at the time. It helped deepen my understanding of other cultures than my own and the importance of being able to do this.