Tuesday, 9 December 2014

A degree in Languages?

I've talked a lot about why  I love language -  Words. ImageryCommunication. Creativity. I've even talked a little bit about specific languages - the passion and emotion of Italian, the romance and delicateness of French, the eternal politeness of English.

But why study them?

Why turn up to University, probably nervous enough as it is what with entirely new surroundings, totally unfamiliar faces and of course a promise of the notorious Freshers Flu... having given yourself the added pressure of becoming fluent in a foreign language? (And in my case, the even more terrifying task of learning an entirely new language).

Becuase - and you're probably starting to see a pattern emerging here now - a language is so much more than just a langauge. Yes, technically, a language is a body of lexical items, combined systematically as a means of communicating with each other. But language is also identity, culture, personality, society, traditions, ART, love, history, literature and, well, everything really...

Studying Modern Languages at university allows me to delve into the most powerful tool that we, as humans, possess: communication. My degree lets me explore how different societies are shaped by the languages they use, how a language is as much a means of communication as it is an integral part of a country’s culture, traditions and identity.

This is why my subject is so compelling. Not only will I have the invaluable gift of fluency in two foreign languages, but also the chance to really dig deep into the culture, history and personality of these languages and their speakers. What I love about my degree, is its breadth; I never feel like I am studying one subject. As well as learning to communicate with French and Italian speakers, I discover how to exist in their culture, appreciate their literature and understand their politics.

Language, then, is understanding. Who was it who said that knowledge is power?Well for me, language is power. 

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