How many do you speak?
Duncan Charter from the Department of Languages and Culture said that most Principians have been exposed to another language or more, but the 80% of students with a background in the United States need to take at least one course at the first-year level to meet their GE2L second-language requirement. The international students that accumulates 20% of Principia usually speak more than one language.
Learning a new language is challenging. The grammar, sound, and symbols may seem too complicated, and hard to get your head around at first. Senior Kristin Manker stated that watching shows that is in the language you’re trying to learn is a big help to be more familiar with the language and its pronunciation.
Language is gendered differently around the world, forcing the speaker to adapt, which obliges the speaker to reveal some information that is not shown in another language.
“Even though I know English… [and] even though [Americans] also speak English, it feels like a different language. I think it’s the way they explain things it’s different in how it’s explained in our country,” says junior Adelainee Biang from the Philippines who knows three languages, “even though they say the same words, the same letters it feels like it still unknown.”
The struggle to express oneself accurately is one of the drawbacks in knowing many languages. The more languages you know, sometimes leads to trickier translation. Manker shared her experience when she was in the abroad Japan,“I couldn’t think of what I want to say in Japanese but I could think of what I want to say in Spanish, and here now I’m in Spanish (higher level class) I couldn’t think of what I want to say in Spanish but I can think of what I want to say in Japanese and I’m like huh?” It’s funny kind of dynamic that I have right now between this two languages that I know very little about.”
Julie Okonya from Kenya who happens to know five languages shared her experience, she said “It’s sometimes problematic (speaking slowly) because I try to think about the other person I’m talking to, but in reality, they find me slow, because if I say it in the way we say it at home, this person won’t understand what I’m saying, so I’m looking for that word they use.
Languages are beautiful. They open your mind to multiple ways of looking at the world. Languages can express thought, connect and engage with others. “I think we should be open to learn other languages and that creates a more globally diverse community…I think it creates a much deeper relationship if you try to learn their language and if you try to meet them where they are”. She added, “you kind of understand the struggle of what they (language learners) went through trying to learn another language”
Okonya states, “I want to learn more languages I feel like when you learn more languages, you kind of understand people. The background of knowing these languages and the difficulties and the effort one put in learning languages …I do appreciate.”
Duncan Charter stated, “I believe those who know more than one language normally have an appreciation of the unique beauty of each language we know. The deeper we get into the language, the more we appreciate its unique forms of expression”.
Principia is filled with different languages from around the world like Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, French, Ilokano, Vietnamese, Kinyarwanda,Indonesian, Tagalog, German and much more. Have you heard anyone speaking these languages in Prin? If not , explore, and you will hear!