By Elnur Huseynov
When I was crafting this post I recalled Beatriz Iguita Quintero, a Colombian lady whom I planned to marry when I served my sentence as an expat working in Medellin, Colombia. The communication thing was always tremendously challenging, and despite my Spanish was and is tremendamente bueno (look up in Oxford Spanish Dictionary), even I, had challenges explaining what I felt when it came to rhetoric, figurative language and particularly Azeri thing being translated into autochthonous castellano (look up in the same dictionary).
There are many people today who study languages with an arsenal of learning strategies, but sadly, not all of them succeed as there are of course difficulties involved since the mastery requires the development of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. There is no shortcut in learning a language and the true path is packed with constant growing body of linguistics and semantic information.
It was, I believe, 1995 or 1996 or may be 1997 if I am not mistaken, well, but do you really care when it actually was? Seriously? Anyways, it was a long time ago. So, long time ago I started to discover English and then embarked on Spanish and French in the course of my life, hence enriched my soul by understanding more and more people around me. So, today, I write and you read, as you don't have any other choice, about the benefits and challenges of learning a language.
The first reason why you should open those books and get on a new language is to deepen your culture and expand horizons, as well as to facilitate your travel and explore the world around you a bit more. When you talk to that person in a language he understands, that goes to his head, but if you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. What a remarkable sentence, isn't it? Not mine. Mandela's. The locals who see an expat trying to articulate a sentence in local language, do feel excitement, surprise and boundless pride. It kind of gives a sort of cultural mirror to illustrate your own society via different lenses.
Commercially and professionally wise, speaking a foreign language is a substantial asset to put in your CV or resume. There are some people who are fluent in a number of languages like English, British, American, Canadian or even Australian and they all have jobs. If you don't speak one of this languages, you may feel difficulty finding a job, but though English is important, not to mention, that I am writing in it now, not all people have to study it, as highly recommendable as it can be. We all need to look for a chance to try a different foreign linguistic odyssey once in a life time and no matter what career you opt for, if you've learned a second language, you'll have a genuine advantage.
The other thing you don't want to miss is developing your mind and train your brain to act faster, memorize and do simple mental exercises. A recent study, but don't ask which one, actually proved that people who speak two or more languages have lesser chance to catch Alzheimer. That is certainly one less thing to worry about, isn't it?
It may be difficult thing, as with all these grammar rules you can run into a wall, literally and figuratively. Some rules may include bizarre stuff such as not to end the word with preposition, but from now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. And you must not begin a sentence with a conjunction as this is exactly what I did now, or, likewise, you may know all those words in a sentence, but it still does not make any sense. To conclude, learning a language is not just learning grammar and words. It is learning new sounds, expressions, and ways of seeing things; it is learning how to function in another culture, how to know a new community from the inside out and outside in.
To conclude my conclusion which I previously concluded, language requires perseverance more than anything else. It is not a difficult but certainly a time-consuming task. There is no quick one-size-fits-all solution. It is like getting to know a person. You have to invest a lot of time to produce long-term results.
Thank you for stopping by and if you enjoyed reading this, please do send an e-mail to [email protected], do that even if you didn't, I would still like to know how much you didn't.
Your old new friend,