Why you should (really) learn a language

This is absolutely not a wanky article…


We were always told how important languages were at school. And did we listen?

Well, given that less that 20% of English adults claim to speak a foreign language to a good level – compared with the EU average of 63% – I’m going to answer ‘no’, and be embarrassed as I do so.

"Voulez-vous cruchez avec moi?" doesn't count

“Voulez-vous cruchez avec moi?” doesn’t count

As an MMLer, I’ve really begun to understand why languages are so useful.

Obviously, there are always pretty boring reasons like “it’ll improve your job prospects” and “people will respect you more”.

But come on, blah blah blah, who actually cares about those things?

Instead, I thought I’d outline some key reasons of my own why you should branch out from our limited Anglo-Saxon tongue:

1) Sometimes you get an extra potato in the buttery if you ask Ana nicely in Spanish. You might even get two if you whack in the subjunctive…

National Pride right there

National Pride right there

2) You can give lost tourists directions around town and feel like you’ve done your good deed for the day.

Alternatively, if you see that they’re wandering aimlessly in the middle of the road and making all the cyclists late for lectures you can give them wrong directions, and feel like you’re not a goody-two-shoes.

Yes, this is definitely Pembroke...

Yes, this is definitely Pembroke…

3) You can watch all the druglord scenes in Breaking Bad without the subtitles. Equally you can translate what Bumblebee Man is actually saying in The Simpsons.

4) You can understand tourists bitching about the people around you/the weather over here/how overpriced the fudge shop is/you and embarrass them by agreeing with them (unless they’re real dicks, in which case they don’t really give a shit).

Basically, we're talking about Whose University

“Sorry, how much do I have to pay to hear you bitch about Queens?”

5) You can properly pronounce foreign words like ‘rendez-vous’, and ‘coq au vin’. Your friends will totally think you’re really classy and sophisticated, and show them that you’re definitely not a pretentious dick.

Looks way too much like chunder to warrant the name 'Coq au Vin'

Looks way too much like chunder to warrant the name ‘Coq au Vin’

6) (If you do MML) you get to spend a year lounging around in some foreign country while your friends in Cambridge stress about finals and begin to resent you.

This is literally all we do

This is literally all we do

7) On Varsity people suddenly don’t think you do a doss degree when their heating doesn’t work and the technician on the phone doesn’t speak English.

With so many great reasons why don’t you head down to the Language Centre today?

Besides, we’re all going to be speaking Chinese in twenty years anyway…