My language experiences consists of speaking Greek to my grandparents. I did not, however, speak Greek to my parents. While the language was not predominately used in my life, my experiences with the Greek language has shaped my language literacy and cultural learning. The following analyses the experiences I have had speaking Greek to my grandparents and how it has shaped different experiences and my outlook in my life.
Speaking Greek has shaped and increased my literacy development and abilities. One of the biggest benefits I have seen throughout knowing and understanding a different language is the impact it has on my knowledge of the English language. Since foreign language introduces a person to a whole new language structure, this structure helps an individual become more aware of their everyday language. Learning a foreign language requires an individual to be more conscious of grammar, conjugation, vocabulary, comprehension, and sentence structure. Learning these concepts helps an individual analyze their own native language. This is one of the biggest advantages I see in learning the structure of a different language. It has a positive impact on how an individual learns and understand their own native language.
I also feel like my language experience has shaped my academic abilities. In regards to education, learning different languages increases an individual’s tolerance for ambiguity. However, this is only one of the positive impacts on having knowledge of another language. Learning and understanding a foreign language increases brain activity. Due to the nature and complexity of foreign language, the distinct rules and etymology helps increase processes throughout the brain. As a result, an individual’s problem-solving, negotiating and reading skills are heightened. This is one way my language experiences has shaped me. By learning and understanding a complex language, it has effected and shaped other aspects of my life (Marvelous).
After some research, I found that being able to comprehend another language has a direct impact on an individual’s abilities in an academic setting. Language learning impacts an individual’s ability to multi-task as well as their overall academic performance. Due to the fact that the brain is created to operate differently, each individual has different cognitive skills. Studies have shown that one of the main benefits of learning a different language is higher scores in standardized academic scores, such as reading comprehension, math and vocabulary. In regards to multi-tasking, individuals who are able to speak and comprehend a different language are proficient at multi-tasking. In other words, different language experiences increase an individual’s overall learning abilities (Marvelous).
In regards to contextual and environmental variables, learning a different language has a direct impact on environmental and contextual variables. For me, these variables transition into culture learning. By understanding contextual and environmental variables, one is ultimately learning about a new or different culture. Culture and language are typically intertwined. In other words, one has a direct impact on the other. Cultural differences are responsible for how language is used pragmatically. Social norms also have an influence on how different languages are used. Learning about different social norms and how they differ is another way my learning experience has shaped me. By learning and understanding that social norms differ from culture to culture, I feel like I am more open minded to the social norms and other culture differences that exist amongst us.
In Greek, the language is directly impacted by the culture. In other words, one cannot learn the language without minimal understanding of the culture. Understanding culture differences is another benefit of learning and understanding a different language. This contributes to my own personal experiences because it tends to decrease the sense of egocentrism, which is a positive benefit in society. Understanding different language and cultural norms helps understand and appreciate the differences amongst all the individuals throughout this country. In America, this is a large benefit. With the diversity throughout this country, it is easier to adapt if one understands and accepts the cultural differences that are amongst us. Language differences represent the amount of cultural differences that exist throughout this country. Learning these different languages can help an individual understand how cultural differences shape all individuals differently. In other words, learning and understanding a different language can help an individual be more open minded about cultural differences and has helped me to become more respectful and accepting to the cultural differences that exist amongst us all.
The above applies to how my language experience is similar to others. Over time, I have come to realize several individuals have had the same experience with language as I have. Several individuals throughout this country learn a specified language due to their cultural upbringings. These individuals also have similar experiences and outlooks as I do. These individuals are open minded towards cultural differences. They also like to talk and teach about their cultural differences.
However, this also applies to how my language experience has been different from others as well. There are individuals throughout the country who have never had any type of experience speaking a foreign language in a native context. This creates a cultural difference. However, these individuals still have different experiences amongst themselves. While language has shaped my culture upbringing, their cultural upbringing has been shaped through different experiences. One of the biggest differences I have seen with people who do and do not have different language experiences is that people without language experiences typically have a harder time learning or understanding foreign language after adolescence. In other words, if an individual does not have language experiences prior to adulthood, it is more difficult for them to understand, comprehend, or even speak a foreign language.
I do not feel like these individuals are disadvantaged from the benefits mentioned above. I have meant individuals who have never spoke a foreign language, yet excelled in all of the areas mentioned above, such as academics and open mindedness. Why these individuals may not have had the same language or cultural experiences, I do not feel like these individuals are more egocentric than individual with language and cultural experiences.
On the other hand, there are people who speak a variety of languages throughout different environments. For example, I have known people to speak one language at work, a different language at home, while also having a different native language. I feel like all of the positive impacts that different learning experiences have do not dictate an individual’s level of egocentrism. This is due to the fact I have meant individuals who both do and do not speak a foreign language who exhibit high levels of egocentrism. While learning a different language has helped decrease egocentrism within myself, it does not dictate how open minded an individual is towards different cultures.
In conclusion, having different language experiences does shape an individual. For me, it has made me more open minded to the cultural and language differences that exist amongst use. Also, having knowledge of two different language structures has helped me understand the English language better. The biggest impact I have seen that my language experience has had on my life is my ability to be open minded towards cultural differences. I feel like this is currently an ongoing issue, people are not adequately educated on the cultural differences that exist amongst us. While my language experience has been shaped by all of the above information, the biggest impact I have seen is my ability to understand and respect cultural differences.
- Marvelous. “12 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language.” (2014). Retrieved on 1 Oct. 2016, from http://examinedexistence.com/12-benefits-of-learning-a-foreign-language-2/.