Available Balance
English Only? Why Not Learning a Language Can Hurt You.
January 30, 2017


It’s time to learn a language.

It's time to learn a language.

No, this is not a political article so do not bother to debate me on this. I find that this expression is a strong point for why learning another language can be to your advantage. I was born in the USA in the city of New York. I came from Hispanic Descent. My parents are from Puerto Rico and had settled in the United States for 20 years.  In our house, we spoke two languages–Spanish and English. I butchered the Spanish language, mixing it with English. I, later, found out that I was not the only one. Many like me spoke Spanglish (A mixture of English and Spanish).

My parents, later, adapted to English only so that I would not get confused. After living in the States for 13 years, my father moved the family to Puerto Rico to get me out of the streets of New York City. Puerto Rico, even though, is a commonwealth of the United States, is a place where Spanish is the more predominant of the languages. (English is the second official language)   Bearing this in mind, my father took me aside and told me to forget English for a while. The priority was learning to read, write and comprehend the Spanish language.

My mother, bless her heart, gave me a crash course in the Spanish language. Now, I had an advantage—I understood it but I could not read nor write it. After many hours for about two weeks, I was reading and writing in Spanish. Spanish is not a difficult language to learn. The words are simple and if you are in an atmosphere where Spanish is spoken, you can pick it up in a very short time. So, I adjusted to learning how to speak two languages—English and Spanish. After 8 years of living in Puerto Rico, I joined the US Navy, moved to the States and served for 4 years. During that time, I got married, finished my tour of duty and settled in Virginia.


The Advantage of Learning Another Language.


Learning how to speak another language has benefited me. Working in a few different companies, I would handle the Spanish customers concerns. Doing that made me feel good about myself. Recently, the US government has adopted English only. While I can understand the concept of English being the official language, as a one who comes from Hispanic descent, I have mixed feelings.  Businesses, in order to make a profit, realize that the Hispanic Market is a profitable one. Why alienate them because of English only?  They have money and they want to take advantage of the free market. Also, as a minister, when I was working in a Spanish church, that has helped me in the sense that we gave them a helping hand. I have to admit, I would encourage my former Hispanic church members to learn English and gave them some classes in my free time.


You Can Learn Another Language.


Why is it important to learn another language? Scientific research have found that learning a language can benefit the brain. Another reason is that it opens doors in the social and economic areas. The global economy is a huge market in the business world and learning two or three languages can help bring clients to any business. My cousins moved to Montreal, Canada and they had to learn French. They, already, knew Spanish and English but when their father moved to that area, they had to make a few adjustments. Learning a third language was easy because they were children. Years later, when they applied to the workplace, their pay was better because they knew three languages. Many would say that learning a language is difficult but it does not have to be.

Others would reason that it costs a lot of money but I got good news, you can learn another language for free. In this blessed age of technology, there is an app called Duolingo. When you download it, you can learn a language and have fun doing it. I am, presently, taking French lessons. I do not take too much time on learning it but the app will work with you. Just 5 to 10 minutes daily with simple exercises and you would be amazed at how you can pick up some words. It is entertaining and can be addictive. So, do yourself a favor, download that app. Have some fun and learn a language. It might open doors for you in the future.