Languages represent the needs and desires of a group of people. Those needs and desires cannot always be translated perfectly from one language to another. For example, the Yupik and Inuktitut languages, spoken by the Eskimos, include many more words for variations of snow than the English language does. This is because their environment requires snow to be described in greater detail than in other environments where snowfall is less abundant and/or important.
Learning a language is the key to unlocking the hearts and minds of those who speak it. It is a path that leads to true understanding. An understanding of people's most important needs. An understanding of people's deepest desires. With this understanding comes a deeper connection and a more fulfilling relationship. One of harmony and respect.
Learning a new language allows us to understand people and cultures on a more profound level. By doing so, we reduce ignorance, hatred, and violence, ultimately making this planet a more peaceful place for all!
I studied Spanish in middle school, high school, and majored in it during university. I spent a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina practicing the language with my host family and other porteños (what people from Buenos Aires refer to themselves as). I have continued honing my skills by practicing with locals and fellow travelers on trips to locations where Spanish is the primary language spoken. I also speak it with friends, family, and others I meet, so long as I sense they are comfortable communicating in Spanish. By learning a new language, I have created and maintained rich and fulfilling relationships. And I want the same for you.
Have you learned another language? If so, how did you do it and what advice would you offer?