Yo Soy Bilangue!


I am always jealous of people who are bilingual. Or trilingual. Or multilingual.

And you should be jealous of them, too. Here are the top five reasons why.

Number one, they are smarter than people who don’t speak a second language. Well, at least, they use more of their brains in a more synthesized manner than mere “monolinguals”.

Number two, they are actually in the MAJORITY worldwide. So anyone who doesn’t speak more than one language? Not keeping up with the rest of the world, I’m afraid, most of whom who can switch back and forth between languages without blinking an eye.

Number three, when they don’t want you to know what they are talking about, they just switch off to rapidly speaking in a different language and you are left without a clue. Are they saying things that are nice? Mean? Indifferent? Making fun of you because you have black ink smudged all over your face? Who can say?

Number four, they look much more cosmopolitan than you do when they break out a book written in another language while travelling by plane, train, or automobile.

Number five, they have a world of opportunities available to them, and some of these are pretty glamorous, like being translators or foreign diplomats. Or spies.

So. Bottom line. Declaring a major in French/Spanish (or any other language, for that matter, except maybe Latin – NO OFFENCE TO MY LATIN PROF, WHO ROCKED) is a very good decision because it is very useful to know another language.

If you want to declare a major in French or Spanish, you are in for more than just grammar and pronunciation classes. You may take classes in literature, film, culture and other topics related to the language you are learning. Perhaps you will take a French class in university on Women Writers from the French-Colonized Islands, or French Canadian Language, Literature, and Film. You might take a Spanish class like Contemporary Hispanic Cultures or Hispanic Cinema or even Spanish Literature and Culture from the 18th Century to the Spanish Civil War.

And don’t forget about classes that teach you how to do translations. Way beyond conjugating “faire” and “avoir” or “ser” and “estar”.

For more information on a French/Spanish major and how to get started on one at Red Deer College, visit www.rdc.ab.ca/humss or call (403) 342.3304 or email ba@rdc.ab.ca

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1 Comment

Filed under college, Where to go with a BA

One response to “Yo Soy Bilangue!

  1. This is an interesting article but the real bilingual problem occurs when formal education ends.

    I have taken Spanish in both high school and college and later on participated in a number of Spanish immersion courses and camps in Spain, Mexico and Columbia, but I have always had a problem maintaining and even advancing my fluency afterward.

    Now, being fairly fluent in Spanish I have found that classes and computer based instruction are usually below my mastery level. Movies and novels are OK, but are not as personal and memorable. They are easy to forget as they are sort of optional. What has worked well for me recently are online classes in which I can chat to someone to improve my conversational skills. I have been happy with http://personalspanish.net/ which offers classes from a variety of teachers that fit my schedule. I work long hours.

    Do you know of anyone with a similar problem and how have they managed?

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