This I Believe

Jun - whitestone, New York
Entered on April 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Language, not just for talking anymore

I believe that language is a tool that yields a far greater importance than just communication. Language helps people understand a culture that is foreign from their own and also aids in create one’s personality which is constantly being modified.

Being only 16 years old, it hard to think about my core belief, let alone one that sounds remotely interesting. It’s a good thing that I have always had an interest in languages and that it is sort of my hobby. I have always thought that the more languages you can speak, the more you can find out about the culture that surrounds the language. I still find this true because you can ask a person that speaks that language “What is your culture like?” “What’s new about your society’s pop culture?” Hopefully the person won’t just stare at you and then start laughing at your strange accent because the things you learn from books are completely different from what a person from that culture knows.

All languages are unique and one of a kind to my eyes. This is because only one language can let you go inside the culture it comes from. Only one language can show us how the culture has and can change due to cultural diffusion. Only one language can show us how the people of that society live and even possibly how they think. This is why I think the all languages have a greater importance then just ways of chatting with one another. Languages are way to far our understanding of foreign things.

In addition to better understanding a culture, languages also help shape our personalities. By experiencing other culture as you speak the language, I believe that the language and the culture blends in with whom you are at the moment. When you learn a new language and you use it frequently, I feel that the language changes you because it draws you further into the culture.

I was born in South Korea and lived there for 7 years before moving to the U.S. and when I was learning English; I felt that the culture had become familiar like mine own. The cultures of the English language had mixed with my personality and I had changed slightly. And now in 2007, I can say the same for Japanese culture for I am taking Japanese as my foreign language class. I feel that I act different then I had in the past. The more I learn how to speak a certain language; I feel that its traditions affect the way I act and do certain things in a positive way.

Languages broaden the mental horizon and expand the learner’s appreciation towards other things. Learn a new language, learn a new language and reinvent your personality and pick up a new idiom or two from different countries. Then travel the world and hope your accent isn’t too obvious.