Why Learn a Second Language?

Hide Footnotes


“Why Learn a Second Language?” Ensign, Sept. 2004, 73

Why Learn a Second Language?

Since the Church has more members living outside the United States than within, those who are multilingual and knowledgeable about other cultures can increasingly serve their brothers and sisters worldwide. In view, then, of the spiritual, educational, social, and professional advantages of familiarity with languages and cultures, what can we do to enhance our own abilities in these areas?

1. Learn any foreign languages that your parents or grandparents speak. Share the good and uplifting aspects of their cultural heritage so its strengths can be part of your life too.

2. Share your native culture if you grew up in another country. Of course you will want your family to be fully participating citizens of the country where you now live. But teach them the language and culture of your heritage, particularly those values that will strengthen them and their future families.

3. Encourage children to learn a second language. Though you can study a language at any time, language learning comes most easily and naturally to young children. Learning another language will likely help them to understand their own language better.

4. Practice any foreign language you learned on a mission or in school. For personal study, consider using foreign-language scriptures on occasion; you may also choose to offer personal prayers in your second language. A subscription to the Liahona, the Church’s international magazine, can also be helpful. Seek a variety of opportunities to practice.

5. Learn English as a second language. If English is not your native language, consider learning it also. In addition to increased job opportunities, you will be blessed to study modern scriptures in their original language and to understand English-speaking Church leaders who don’t speak the language of every country where the gospel has spread.

If learning another language seems daunting, remember that you can have the Holy Ghost to help you in fulfilling righteous desires to serve your brothers and sisters.

Bruce B. Clark, Cherry Hills Second Ward, Orem Utah Cherry Hills Stake