Friday, October 24, 2014

Chinese: Mark Zuckerberg studies it. So should you!

Or any language. NU offers a handful: Spanish, French, ASL, and introductory Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Italian....

Why study a language, especially if you're not going to become radically fluent in it, and travel to a country where that's the primary language?
  • Studying a language in college can get your feet wet with the basic. Study now and you can pick up more later without as steep a learning curve.
  • Studying a language will help you learn other languages. Understanding how language works teaches you what you need to know.
  • Languages other than English help you understand English better. You'll understand what syntax, grammar, word order are and do. Your English will improve.
  • You'll pick up at least a few social niceties in your chosen language. They'll stick. If you find yourself in China, Mexico, etc., that "Xièxiè" or "Gracias" or whatever will roll off your tongue without your scrambling for your phrase-book or app.
  • Movies with sub-titles won't be quite as much as a mystery. Books with a phrase or two from your target language won't seem as opaque.
  • If you choose American Sign Language, you'll be able to talk with your mouth full, underwater, and at a distance in a crowded area with your friends who also know ASL.

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