Why learning another language is more valuable than ever

Jane Basnett, Head of Modern Languages

9 September 2019

Why you should learn another language

English is one of the most widely-spoken languages and for many organisations – business or otherwise – English does seem to be the lingua franca.

Add to this the burgeoning success of apps and technological tools that can translate words and sentences for you one might ponder the point of language learning in this day and age. What is, then, the value of language learning?

Learn a language to learn a culture

For me, never has there been a more important time to learn a language.

To understand and be understood is of huge significance right now when awareness of other societies and of people within our own society seems to be lacking. Furthermore, knowledge of another language is also an awareness, a grasp and understanding of another culture and this is surely the best way to show respect for others.

Learning a language is a valuable process

Why learn a language? The importance of the process itself cannot be overlooked. Unlike learning to ride a bike, there is no eureka moment when the stabilisers are removed, and you can suddenly speak in another tongueLinguistic proficiency is not something that can be achieved overnight.

However, it is in studying languages that the greatest benefit is derived. I believe that linguistic proficiency in another language has immeasurable impact on your understanding of your own language, history and culture. As Geoffrey WillansEnglish author and journalist once said:

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.

Becoming proficient in a language is a process and it is one that never ends; there is always more to learn and discover. Our own language evolves and develops constantly and the same is true of other languages around the world. It is a process that takes time and effort; a huge investment in one’s own education but it is worth it! And, like riding a bike, once you have a foundation in place it is always there to rely on even if you do not get the chance to practise and use it regularly.

Final thoughts

There is a myriad of quotes made by great thinkers and writers through the ages that one can turn to illustrate the power of language learning, but I find it hard to pin point just one quote. They all express equally valid points.

Language learning leads to:

  • wisdom
  • great vision
  • deeper insight into other cultures
  • a better awareness of oneself

I could go on. However, I will finish with a point which I hope might strike a chord with the younger generation. When I consider youngsters today I know that, for manyhome is where the Wi-Fi is and I have a certain affinity with this.

However, really, for me, I feel most at home where I speak the language, where I can communicate with others. Language learning inspires me, and I hope that this blog post might inspire you to take up learning another language.

Bonne Chance!

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

Book your tickets | Academic Conference – Maximising Pupils’ Potential | Thursday 13 June 2024
Back to top