The Importance of Learning a Second Language


     Learning a second language can be difficult: it takes much time, patience and practicing. Knowing a second language can create a better understanding of different cultures, open job opportunities; help with academic success, make traveling easier, and help people communicate throughout the world. A foreign language can take the learner out of the comfort zone and allow them to experience different cultures; also it has been reported that learning a second language gives the brain more stimulation (BBC News, 2004).  

     In the United States only 30 states have said that English is the official language (Wikipedia, 2007). In Miami, Florida residents who do not speak Spanish have difficulty interacting with the large population of Latin Americans; making conducting business harder for business owners. The Associated Press reported in 2008 that 58.5% of the population speaks Spanish as their primary language in Miami, Florida. If any one wanted to take a vacation to Miami it would be wise to have knowledge of the Spanish language. Learning any second language can help people travel better. Allowing the traveler to interact with the locals and enjoy their time, instead of becoming frustrated because they have no way to ask questions, ask for directions, and especially dining. Not only is learning a second language better for traveling, but also for the mind.

     BBC News (2004) reported that the University of London conducted a study in which 105 students, 80 of which was bilingual; the study reflects that the bilingual students had more of a “brain boost”. There was more evidence of advanced learning and stimulation of the brain. These scientists believe that language learning helps improve the brain power and creates advancements in learning. One study said that learning a second language can help delay dementia (Hyltenstam & Viberg, 1993).  . By learning a second language it is possible to keep the brain functioning better longer. A Second language can also provide the learner or speaker with many different job opportunities.

     All around the world there are jobs that need foreign language speakers. Interpreters for the Armed Forces and other government agencies are good professions that require speaking a second language. These jobs come with benefits, good pay, and the chance to travel around the world. A foreign language speaker has broader choices when it comes to career paths. Even if the speaker is looking for a job in Human Services, they will be very helpful in communities or countries where English is not the primary language. Speaking a foreign language will help expand peoples’ outlook on the world, and help disprove cultural misconceptions.



      Music in a second language is a form of art, knowing the language helps better appreciate the music. The academic study of foreign language is also considered an art. Learning a foreign language will allow students to participate in new studies, do good research, and will not limit the learner by only English language research. Foreign Language Studies start early now, in most high schools around the United States it is required that students participate in a Foreign Language class (this does not mean four years of foreign language). If all colleges and universities made a language study required it would not only benefit the student but also the university. Having diversity in studies makes the university more interesting and shows the university, promotes cultural awareness. One poll conducted by Scripps Howard News Service and the Ohio University said that 14% of the adult American population has taken four years of foreign language courses, and only 17% of people with a college degree did not take any foreign language studies. This poll shows a larger population of college graduates has taken a foreign language course (Hargrove, T., & G.H. Stempel III, 2007).

     Learning a foreign language may be difficult but with time and practice a student can become very efficient. Mastering the skill is the hardest part, using it is easy. Not too many Americans speak a foreign language fluently because they just do not have the time to learn. They fail to realize that they can truly benefit from speaking a second language. First it stimulates the brain; then can open up job opportunities, and help in academic success. Most importantly the learner becomes aware of the different cultures around us everyday. Our country is a melting pot; it is very important to be aware of the cultural differences around us.



Hargrove, T., & H. Stempel III, G. (2007, Summer). Americans wistful of foreign language in highschools. Scripps Howard News Services. Abstract retrieved October 21, 2008, from


Hyltenstam, K., & Viberg, A. (1993). Introduction. In K. Hyltenstam & A. Viberg, Progression and Regression in Languages (pp. 1-3). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from


In Miami, Spanish becoming Primary Language. (2008, May 29). The Associated Press. Abstract retrieved October 23, 2008, from


Languages of the United States. (2007). wikipedia. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from


Learning languages “boosts brain”. (2004). BBC News. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from



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9 Responses to The Importance of Learning a Second Language

  1. lil-babe-SST says:

    What is the importance of learning a second language?
    facts and figures

  2. Jumper says:

    It’s not important at all. You only need to know English.
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  3. sowhat says:

    very important because we keep letting them in
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  4. old know all says:

    It’s handy if you want to communicate with people who don’t speak your first language. It also earns you a lot of brownie points if you travel to a foreign country and don’t just shout at them in English.
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  5. MorPH says:

    Depends really. Most countries expect you to know their language. The law in Australia dictates that you MUST know English before you can live there.
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  6. Anthony M says:

    Never mind a second language, I wish I had learnt about seven, and followed my ambition to be an interpreter.
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  7. michael589377 says:

    Absolutely zero if you live in a small town , will never go to a non-English-speaking country and have no interest in associating with people of a different culture.

    On the other hand, if you work in a foreign country where English is not the language then you learn the language. I learnt German and worked in Germany for four years and 10 years later French and worked in France for 3 years.

    It was a little difficult at first but everyone was friendly and helpful and after a while it wasn’t a problem. I had a ball.
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  8. Queenie says:

    Learning a second language helps you learn more about your own. Languages aren’t just random syllables, they’re stories. Each word has a unique history and evolution. Since English has pretty much stolen every single one of its words from another language, it’s even more important for us to learn these things.

    I’ve learned more about English by taking Japanese than I ever have by taking English classes. Every time we learn a word or something new about their grammar, the class used to loudly exclaim how weird and strange it was. But then, our teacher showed us the link to English and how we do the exact same thing. Now, when such a new concept is introduced, a majority of us are silent as we consider how English does the same thing. For example, we watched Tonari no Totoro the other day and they kept repeating certain phrases twice. One of the students said that that was weird and sensei said that it’s only weird because they say things in even numbers and we say things in odd numbers. And he’s right. For example, someone calling a cat might say "here kitty kitty kitty" and someone cheering on their football team might jump up and yell "come on come on come on!". I just think that connections like these are interesting and important for us to know and realize.

    Then again, I’ve been raised by two teachers, one who is an English professor, so of course I’d find language interesting. XP
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  9. stephane m says:

    It’s very important t learn a second language because otherwise, how will you be about to learn your third language ?
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