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Those of you who’ve learned a new language that is neither obscure (like hieroglyphs) nor strictly out of necessity (such as learning Japanese before moving there for work) to a conversational level of fluency- how much of an impact has it made on the way you think and perceive the world?

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I'm Indian and bilingual in English and Malayalam, but I've started to take up French seriously because I was infatuated with Albert Camus' literature and philosophical essays- and that infatuation with Absurdism steamrolled into an infatuation with French culture in general. Particularly bolstered by their incredible music which I'm bummed I didn't discover earlier.

Learning French will have no effect on my life (at least not in the environment I'm currently in) but as someone living in a country with 13 official languages and hundreds of regional variations of those languages, I know how much language affects the way people think and how many cultural doors open when you're able to hold a conversation in the mother tongue of the people from that culture. Which is why I'm picking new languages up- both Indian and Romance.

For those of you who speak at least 2 languages fluently, how much of an impact has it made on the way you think and perceive the world?

Ed ecco le risposte:

Great impact if you ask me… I feel like each language has its own vibe of a mindset behind it. I tend to feel like certain emotions can be better expressed through certain languages for instance. Or I change my attitude and my voice when I say a phrase in a different language. I can only guess why this happens, but I’ve heard others agree too and I find it even more intriguing and a motivation to learn more ?

Trilingual with a PhD in philosophy of language.

I can assure you learning languages can deeply change your perspective about the world, at the deepest level you can imagine, especially widely different languages like, says, French and Malayalam.

You might be interested to read about the controversial Sapir Whorf hypothesis:

Being able to speak various languages does trigger a subtle subconscious change in your personality. And I do feel that this happens quite often with me. I’m Indian as well. My mother tongue is Marathi and Hindi. But i have reached at the same level to that of a native speaker in Spanish and German. I feel I’m better at taking decisions, and a bit more humorous in Marathi and Spanish. While I’m quite serious when I switch to English, German and Hindi. Sometimes I also find it a bit odd to not br able to express yourself in one language but only being able to do so in another. In terms of perspective, it helps you understand a greater part of the world, since language is also about learning culture IMHO.

I learnt English as my second language. It wasn’t really a necessity just liked watching cartoons when I was little and we had cartoon network channel which was all in English. Then I started finding movies and such online and there were loads more of them in English than dubbed.

I also liked reading and books took years to be translated and released. For example, the first Harry potter book took 3 years after it was released in UK. And the last book took a year.

So really, I learnt it out of convenience. As I grew older, I started realising that I actually prefer English over my first language. It just felt more comfortable.

I did study it at school, but I was significantly advanced so it only really helped me learn the grammar and spelling better.

Then I moved to UK when I was 17 and never looked back. I’m much more comfortable with the language and the culture here that my parents joke I was born in the wrong country.

Slightly adjacent to your question, but still something I think is important, as an interpreter I can tell you that no matter what anyone tells you, if something can be said in one language, it can be said in another.