Skip to main content

Knowledge of a Second Language Is Stylish!

Not only does former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speak French fluently, he can make his way in several other languages besides English.


So often, when we discuss men's personal style, or the lack thereof, we have tangible things in mind like sports jackets, suits, neckties, and quality leather shoes versus ratty t-shirts, wife-beaters, cargo shorts, and the ubiquitous backwards baseball cap.  Further afield, but no less important, we might talk about things like table etiquette, decent manners in general, or making and maintaining a solid first impression at work and in one's personal life through appearance and habit.  But there is yet another way we can work to kick up our personal style several notches.

What, pray tell, is that?  Acquire working knowledge of a second language besides English!

Indeed, in the 21st century, monolingualism, and the attitudes that sometimes go with it, just won't cut it any longer.  A recent bipartisan Congressional report here in the United States has called for the country, “to value language education as a persistent national need similar to education in math or English, and to ensure that a useful level of proficiency is within every student’s reach.”

You can read more by clicking here.  Yes, it is a blog advertorial, of sorts, but the idea behind it is what's important to keep in mind.  While the economic, political, and cultural benefits of knowing a second language reasonably well are the most obvious, I would also argue that the level of personal satisfaction and enrichment that comes from being able to converse with "the locals," whoever that might be, is beyond measure.  Imagine being able to chat about current events, the weather, popular culture, or even more serious subject matter in another language.  

Of course, you might make a few mistakes depending on the language and how difficult the grammar and vocabulary are, but the smiles and eager help you'll get those to whom you are speaking are the things of which memories are made. Those exchanges and interactions will stay with you long after the more typical vacation knickknacks have been relegated to a box in the attic.

Now, you might say, "Well, I'm too old to learn another language.  it's too hard"  Au contraire mon ami!  

Thanks to things like the internet, access is easy to foreign newspapers, TV, radio, advertisements, and all kinds of other realia as well as online grammars and dictionaries.  Consistency is the biggest stumbling block.  Consistent study, practice, and review are vital.  Try setting aside 30-60 minutes a day at first.  Who knows?  You might even be able to find an online penfriend, a tutor, or even an online course to assist in your linguistic endeavors.  And yes, you'll make mistakes.  We all do.  But you've got to skin you knees and wobble a few times before you keep the linguistic bike upright and then zoom down the road and back again. 

The point is, it is easier now than ever before to begin learning another language.  With time and practice, you'll develop some real ability in it beyond asking where the bathroom is and ordering a beer, as vital as those two things are from time to time.  Now, what are you waiting for?


-- Heinz-Ulrich

Comments

Popular Posts

Four Little Words. . .

  R egardless of the cut of one's sports jacket, odd pants, suit, or shirt collar, four key words spring to mind when it comes to being intentional about our attire, personal habits, daily interactions and so much else.  Here they are: Polish -- Good manners and ease with people. Sophistication --  Refinement, good taste, and subtlety in not only a social context but also the cultural and intellectual senses . Finesse --  Sensibility, grace, and social competence. Awareness -- Perspective, empathy, and emotional intelligence    And my point?  We should strive to cultivate these qualities in ourselves with (more) conscious intent.  More of the four within and from everyone would make the world in 2024 a far more pleasant place in which to live and operate.  Best of all, these four things cost nothing, making them accessible to everyone regardless of education level or income bracket. -- Heinz-Ulrich

Friday Breakfast Style. . .

  N ow and again, the Grand Duchess and I manage to find the time for an adults' breakfast out on Friday mornings once the Young Master has climbed aboard the school bus.  Today was the first such outing in quite some time, and we visited our favorite quick and greasy about 10 minute up the road.   Since I've got a couple of Zoom meetings midday and in the early afternoon, I opted for a sports jacket over an OCBD shirt rather than the more typical Rugby top or flannel shirt.  Hey, it's still quite chilly here in the mornings. -- Heinz-Ulrich

The Problem of "Business Casual" Attire. . .

This is how it's done.  Business Casual the RIGHT way, ladies and gentlemen.  Even during the summer months.  A photograph (taken by Studio B Portraits ) which appeared in 425 Business Magazine in May 2017.   T his post on the problem of business casual dress began as a quick postscript to a previous blog entry last week but quickly grew and grew as additional thoughts occurred, were developed in more detail, and revisions made.  So much so, that it seemed, eventually, like a better idea to make the initial P.S. afterthought into its own entry .  Are ya ready, Freddy?  Then, here we go. . .  ------------ U nless you actually plan to sell beach snacks and trinkets on Cozumel, become a serial barista, or greet customers at a fancy nightclub after taking out huge student loans to attend university somewhere for four or five years, plus an MBA afterward, it's really a better idea to err on the side of (somewhat) more formal work attire any time you head into the