Quisiera Hablar Español
Dec 14, 2016
I may be a bit outside of the ordinary because I love language learning. I chose French in high school because my father’s family speaks it and Serbo-Croatian in college because there was a large Bosnian refugee population in my hometown.
I enjoy the mental challenge and linguistic gymnastics. I love being able to open doors to new experiences with words. When I found out that December is “Learn a Foreign Language Month,” I decided it was time to try a language I’d often considered but never learned- español.
I started where I always start when I want to learn something new: the Columbia County Library, specifically GCHRL.org. GCHRL offers two online language-learning services, Transparent Language Systems and Mango Languages. Both offer dozens of languages (over 100 languages for Transparent, and over 70 for Mango), and both are available as apps for learning on the go. Try both and see which suits your learning style better.
I’ve been studying for two weeks now. I spend a few minutes at lunch and a few minutes each evening, so it’s not overwhelming. I’ve already learned to say personally relevant things like “quiero comer la cena ahora, pero el quiere comer mas tarde” (I want to eat dinner now, but he wants to eat later) and the title of this post, which translates to “I would like to speak Spanish.”
I feel my mind working to formulate my message in this new medium, and that cerebral workout makes me feel smarter all day. I’m not alone in feeling that way. Research has shown that learning a second (or third, fourth, etc) language boosts your ability to complete problem-solving tasks.
That’s just one of the many reasons to learn another language. Switching between language systems also improves your ability to multi-task, helps your memory, can even help protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
I plan to continue my Spanish studies into the New Year. On top of all the personal cognitive benefits, I would like to communicate with a greater variety of people both in my role at the library, and when I travel.
If you’ve never taken a foreign language, or if you haven’t studied since high school or college, give it a try this month. It’s free with your library card.