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The Benefits of Learning a Second Language

Learn a Second LanguageDo you remember this paragraph?

I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

This paragraph circulated in an email a few years ago. There was a study referenced concluding that as long as the first and last letters were unchanged and the other letters were just mixed up, that the human mind could read the words. Amazing.


Learning a Second Language

The other day, I started writing a post about learning a second language. Do you speak more than one language? Unfortunately, I do not. I have often wondered whether being a native English speaker is a good thing or not when it comes to learning a second language.

As I started writing this post, I came across this Ted Talk from John McWhorter. It pretty much sums up what I think about learning a second language.



The take-away is that by learning a second language, you can better relate to another culture. I believe that many of the challenges we are facing today stem from a failure to relate to other people. Whether the differences are racial, cultural, religious, or just having a different view of the world, the best way to alleviate conflict is to communicate.

This is an especially pressing topic considering tonight is the second presidential debate. I’ve said it before, this presidential election more resembles a reality television show than an event as important as electing the next leader of the United States.

Maybe if everyone started looking for common ground rather than reasons to disagree, we could have a debate that focused on issues that impact the country and the world.

I’m optimistic that we’ll see this tonight.


Readers, do you speak more than one language? Are you a native English speaker or did you learn English as a second language? Do you feel that speaking another language allows you to better relate to those who also speak that language?



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