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Being bilingual provides students with an avenue of expression

Sophomore Sofia Nicot, junior Joan Downey and senior Fatima Hernandez express themselves through another language

Language is everywhere, surrounding each and every individual with a stream of words, an abundance of culture and a plethora of voices. While different parts of the world express their voices in different ways, it is through language that people can remain connected.

According to sophomore Sofia Nicot, who speaks French and English, learning other languages is an important part of society.

By Annika Lehan
While some spend years learning to become fluent in a second language, others begin learning during their childhood. On Thursday, Oct. 15th, senior Fatima Hernandez, who has spoken Spanish from a young age, smiles while at school.

“With the world we live in today, mainly everyone is stubborn with their language [and doesn’t]want to learn another,” Nicot said. “Being able to speak multiple languages opens many opportunities, [because you’re] able to speak with people from different countries. Also, [you get] more job opportunities and a better lifestyle.”

For students like Nicot and senior Fatima Hernandez, a second language has surrounded them since their childhood. While Nicot has been “speaking [French] and hearing it since [she] was a baby,” Hernandez grew up hearing Spanish from her parents, a part of her culture she still expresses today.

“I learned Spanish from my parents, so it was a big part of my life to speak Spanish and keep that culture alive,’” Hernandez said. “[My family and I] go to Spanish mass, and we try to speak Spanish at all times [at home] so we don’t lose that over time.”

Although some students were raised with a second language, other students, like junior Joan Downey, learned a second language through classes at school and continued with it.

By Annika Lehan
Many students enjoy learning a new language through their classes, and junior Joan Downey is no exception. Downey, who currently speaks Spanish, French and is now studying Farsi, smiles at school on Friday, Oct. 16.

“It started in middle school [when] I took a Spanish class and it made sense to me,” Downey said. “I like being able to communicate [in different languages]. I am currently studying French and Spanish and I am researching Farsi, though I’m not very fluent in it.”

While learning a language gets easier over time and with more practice, there are still many challenges that come with it, according to Hernandez.

“Pronunciation can be bad or sometimes I’m just randomly talking to someone [in English] and words come out in Spanish,” Hernandez said. “Spanish teaches you different words [that] you can [use] as alternatives when you don’t really know how to voice yourself in English, [so] sometimes I put a sentence together [in Spanish] and [then] try to translate that.”

According to Nicot, some of these challenges occur because learning another language changes the way people think.

By Gwyneth Hayes
Sophomore Sofia Nicot smiles for the camera on Monday, Nov. 19. “I’ve been able to meet a lot of fantastic people from France when I go for the summer. I might even study abroad for my senior year,” Nicot said. “Honestly, with being able to speak another language, lots of doors open. Your pay goes up, you have more opportunities, and you can travel abroad.”

“You have to really think outside the box when you learn another language because you can’t directly translate [phrases] and the structure is completely different, “Nicot said. “It really changes your brain structure.”

However, despite these challenges, Hernandez enjoys being able to speak another language.

“I make poems and notes to myself in Spanish. It’s like my little secret code sometimes,” Hernandez said. “I like speaking Spanish because it’s like a secret language for me. It’s just the way I am. It makes me, me.”

Similarly, Downey enjoys reading in other languages and believes learning other languages has impacted her future.

“I’m looking to study linguistics or classics in college, and I think that learning languages has really played into that,” Downey said. “It’s of utmost importance to be able to have good relationships with other parts of the world [and] knowing other people’s languages and understanding them in that way really helps.”

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