Yurij Mikhalevich
November 13, 2019

On Learning Languages

A continuation of my previous post, “Why do I write?”.

I’m excited about learning languages.

Learning new languages is an incredibly useful exercise for your brain that expands your horizons, familiarizes you with different cultures, with different ways of thinking. By studying how language evolved, you can explore how knowledge and thinking evolved. By studying the etymology of similar words from different languages, you may find how this word is perceived in different cultures, and surprise yourself a lot with how structurally similar are a lot of, at first sight, completely different words.

We use languages every day. And it is truly amazing how they affect us, how they almost imperceptibly shape the way we think, and how the way we think shapes them. I’m talking not only about languages. I’m also talking about dialects, subcultures’ slang, and professional jargon.

When thinking about languages and the thought process, one may argue that we are thinking in images, not in words. I tend to agree that it’s right in general, but how many images you can think of without naming or describing them? And learning languages is like discovering shortcuts to the new images, new ways of expressing them, working with them, and perceiving them. And an amazing thing happens when you start to combine shortcuts you’ve learned from different languages.

To sum it all up, I’ll say that, most importantly, learning foreign languages allows you to understand people better. Even when you speak in your native language.

Builds the future at Lightning AI, creator of the Move Fast and Break Things community of software engineers, DeepLearning.AI mentor, creator of rclip, writes about tech, software engineering, books, what to watch, and beyond, practices creative writing and captures moments through photography
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