Expand our cultural horizons by learning a new language

Lisa Goudy
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Lisa Goudy

Learning another language isn’t an easy feat, but it would be worth your effort.

In my opinion, learning another language other than our primary tongue helps us learn more about other cultures and it keeps our brain working. When you find a language you love, it’s fun to learn and converse in. Having a friend or family member to learn a new language with makes it so much easier.

I believe we should try to learn more than one language, if not for the fun of it then to gain a sense of understanding for our cultural diversity. The world has a lot of different people in it who speak many languages. There are lots of different languages in Moose Jaw too.

I can speak a bit of French and German, but I’m not fluent in another language. However, becoming fluent can take a lot of work. I took French starting in elementary school (but not in French immersion) and all the way through high school.

In my pre-journalism courses at the University of Regina, I was required to take a few classes in a language other than English. I thought about doing French only briefly. I wanted to try something new.

I ended up taking three introductory German courses with my sister because it’s part of my heritage. I really enjoyed learning German. It was perfect timing, then, that during one summer a few years ago, my family and I visited Munich in Germany after spending a few weeks travelling all over Italy.

I’ll never forget this one night in Munich when we went out for dinner. We came across this quaint restaurant on one of the side streets where there wasn’t a lot of tourist traffic, but locals instead. Our server didn’t speak a word of English.

Fortunately, ordering food was one of the topics we learned in our German classes. While our parents pointed on the menu what they wanted, my sister and I ordered our meals in German, even engaging in a bit of light conversation with our server.

Words cannot describe how pleased we were when our food showed up and it was exactly what we ordered. Talk about a pat on the back.

Sadly, it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to speak a lot of German. My sister and I still use some of it here and there. For instance, I can count to well over 100 in German to this day. Instead of asking, “How are you?” we might use the informal phrase, “Wie geht’s?” Instead of asking, “What are you doing?” we might ask, “Was machst du?”

Even when I watch a movie with German in it, there are usually phrases where I don’t need to read the subtitles to understand what’s going on. A prime example of this is in X-Men: First Class.

That said, there’s likely a lot I need a refresher on when it comes to what I learned and mastered in university. We still have our workbooks and textbooks to refer to and hopefully one day I’ll revisit it again. Maybe one day I’ll even try to become fluent. Learning is healthy, no matter your age.

I would encourage everyone to at least try to learn another language. It can be from your ethnic background or it can be one of Canada’s official languages. It can be a language you’ve been fascinated with or a country you’re interested in visiting one day.

And I always like to end on a positive note. So, to that end, ich hoffe, dass du einen guten Tag hast!

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: University of Regina

Geographic location: Munich, Moose Jaw, Germany Italy Canada

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