What I wish people knew about modern languages

I really wish more people understood the magic of modern languages!

In today’s world, mentioning that you’re studying languages often leads to surprised reactions. People see it as a grand and somewhat under-appreciated pursuit. You might be thinking, “Languages, really?” But I urge you to hear me out, because there’s so much more to a modern languages degree than meets the eye.

Studying languages isn’t just about grappling with grammar and vocabulary. It’s about immersing yourself in entirely new and diverse cultures. Take my journey with Spanish, for instance – it’s not just a subject for me. It’s a window into the rich tapestry of the Iberian Peninsula, its people, and their stories. I’ve delved into literature that captivates me and I’m buzzing with excitement for my year abroad, where I’ll get to explore even more.

And speaking of the year abroad – it’s a highlight! Stepping out of the academic bubble and into the heart of a Spanish-speaking country is what I’m most eager for. It’s a chance to soak up every facet of the Spanish language, to hear its dialects and nuances firsthand. It’s a real adventure waiting to happen.

It’s crucial to realise that language is as fluid as the people who speak it. It morphs and adapts, borrowing from other tongues and evolving over time. Just think about how English has woven its way into so many languages. That’s what makes studying languages so fascinating – it’s like watching history in motion.

Then there’s the magic of truly mastering a foreign language – it’s something no translation app can match. In my current module, “Language Act World Making”, we explore how language shapes our world, our identities, and our perspectives. It’s about understanding language as a living, breathing entity that touches every part of our lives.

An urgent aspect of language studies is the preservation of minority languages. Each language, no matter how widely spoken, carries its own unique cultural and historical significance. It’s vital we band together to keep these languages alive.

But above all, learning a language is a personal journey, not a sprint. It’s about finding your rhythm, your passion within the language. It’s a path of continuous discovery and personal growth. So, here’s to the wonderful world of languages – an exciting, enriching, and endlessly rewarding field!

Written by Wafa Nasseredine, 2nd year Management & Modern Languages (French, German, Portuguese or Spanish) with a year abroad BA

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