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

Avoid Careless Chatter. . .

    E specially about the personal details of our lives.  There is a lot that OUGHT to be kept more private in 2022 than has become the accepted norm for many.  With the conscious and intentional cultivation of classic style in mind, however, we want to avoid oversharing and keep a bit more of ourselves to ourselves.  Exactly what personal information and how much of it to keep private seems to be a slippery concept though.  Here’s my take based on what I was told and observed as a child and young person at home.  Basically, one should keep oneself to oneself in all respects (finances, personal worth, accomplishments, politics, sex, dirty laundry, etc.).  As my late father used to advise when we were very small, and I am talking preschool and kindergarten, there were particular subjects that were not discussed outside the immediate family.  There is a time and place for sharing certain details of one’s life, but most of the time, those should be played very close to the chest,

I Might As Well Be Spring: The Attire for Monday. . .

    C old, blustery, and wet here in Mid-Michigan today although we might possibly have a couple of inches of wet snow at some point.  It just started actually.  Still some limited cross-country skiing up north at one of the Nordic ski centers we like, apparently, but I have not been able to get away for that. But it is springtime according to the calendar.  Attire-wise, I managed to stow the fall and winter stuff and bring out the spring-summer-early fall gear on Saturday.  Always fun to rediscover what you have not thought about in several months. Equally satisfying to discover items that have not ever seen the light of day.  Such is the case for today's shirt from J. Press (hanging in the closet for a year or more) and the necktie, which (hanging on the back of my tie rack, where I keep all of my repp stripe numbers) for 8-10 years.  Imagine that. -- Heinz Ulrich     P.S. Believe it, or not, someone actually just used word "please" (rather than the brusk "Can I ge

A Little Sisterly Advice. . .

    A s promised, my Washington, D.C.-based sister (she lives within walking distance of The National Cathedral) has sent some photographs of one recent combination of items that are pretty typical of her attire for both work and during her off hours.  Without further ado, let's turn things over to my sister for her particular philosophy on how to present oneself in a put-together way regardless of the situation or occasion: As a wardrobe minimalist, and one raised on Ivy Style, every item in my wardrobe has a purpose. Living in the city, and walking almost everywhere, my clothes need to function in an active capacity.  While I have a classic style, it is most often married with functional edgy pieces (boots, skinny jeans, etc.). In the past 15 years, I have gravitated to a neutral color palette for the clothing items in my closet and, at present, my wardrobe is comprised of 65% black items, 15% blue (including denim), 15% grey, with the balance most likely white (shirts, tees, p