Aaron Toland | Staff Writer
According to a 2017 Census Bureau American Community Survey, 21.6% of people nationwide spoke a language other than English at home. Several CG students are a part of this 21.6% and speak another language at home.
Sophomore Hemaksi Vats is fluent in two languages along with being familiar with several other languages.
“I speak Hindi and I can understand and read a couple of other languages from Asia,” Vats said.
Freshman Homero Matzenbacher, who is currently in Spanish 4, is fluent in three languages.
“I speak Spanish, Portuguese and English,” he said. “I’ve learned all of these languages by moving from one country to another.”
Matzenbacher has lived in China, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.
Vatz and Matzenbacher have differing opinions on how speaking more than one language affects them outside of their households. Vats does not feel that being bilingual has a meaningful impact on her life outside of her home.
“To be honest, it’s pretty neutral being bilingual because I just don’t have any use for those certain languages in the American education system,” Vats said. “I just don’t speak it outside of a respective community or my household.”
On the other hand, Matzenbacher feels that his views on life have been impacted by speaking more than one language. “Speaking more than one language is really interesting as you see many points of view and take a different approach to things,” Matzenbacher said.
Being fluent in both English and another language has been known to have several cognitive benefits. Children who are fluent in two or more languages have been found to have better problem-solving skills and creative thinking than children who only speak one language; furthermore, being fluent in more than one language has been found to improve one’s ability to focus and one’s ability to remember lists and sequences.
Both Vats and Matzenbacher agree that there is at least some cognitive benefit to knowing more than one language. “It just makes it easier for me to understand different concepts in different languages,” Vats said.
Although many students were not brought up speaking another language, it does not mean that it is too late for them to reap the benefits of knowing other languages.
Taking foreign language courses allows one to improve their cognitive abilities along with widening their point of view. While one might never become fluent in a language other than English, just having a background knowledge in another language can make one smarter and offer a different perspective on life.