Learning a new language isn’t easy but it’s full of rewards – not only can you talk to an entirely different culture of people, but you’ll learn interesting facts along the way. Like that the scientific and academic word used to describe ‘fish’ in Korea translates to ‘water meat’.
Thanks to the Facebook group Monolinguals are the worst, people are sharing the funniest literal translations they’ve heard of.
So, if you don’t feel like investing the time to learn an entirely new language just scroll through this post instead to get your fix.
The definition of ‘monolingual’ is a person, or an entire society, who only speaks one language.
Monolinguals might be the “worst,” but the US is largely made up of monolingual people. In fact, a mere fifteen to twenty percent of Americans consider themselves bilingual.
In comparison, a 2006 survey of Europeans conducted by the European Commission found that 56 percent of Europeans consider themselves bilingual.
Remembering a few words that you learned in your 11th grade Spanish class certainly doesn’t make you bilingual.
It might be time for Americans to start dedicating more time to learning new languages.
After all, according to Arabic professor Mahmoud Al-Batal, Americans who cannot speak a foreign language will struggle to compete globally on a linguistic and cultural level.
Professor Al-Batal isn’t the only one to critique the inability to speak foreign languages. Other experts cite issues in university-level language courses that result in students failing to achieve higher levels of proficiency in a foreign language.
Many countries teach English as a second language in school, so most citizens with an education are bilingual.
Languages tend to borrow from one another. In fact, old English derived from a set of North Sea Germanic dialects originally spoken along the coasts of Frisia, Lower Saxony, Jutland, and Southern Sweden by Germanic tribes known as the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes.
How long does it take for language to change and evolve?
Let’s say two groups of people who speak the same language break away from one another, it would take an estimated 500 to 1,000 years for the resulting dialects to be considered new languages.
Just think about how much the English language has changed in the last 100 years. New words are added to our vocabulary every year, while other words tend to fall away.
Fifty years ago, no one knew what a bridezilla or bromance was, but today we know exactly what these words mean.
Other new words that have come about in recent years include cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cougar (not the animal), cloud computing, and crowdfunding.
Many words arise out of necessity because of cultural changes – for instance, there was no such thing as a butt-dial until we all got compact smartphones that fit into our back pockets.
In general, there are more bilingual people living in Europe than in America. Although, Britain is the most monolingual country in Europe.
Only one in five American students take a foreign language class before entering college.
Yet, people who speak more than one language tend to score higher on tests and think more creatively.
In addition, it’s important for Americans to be fluent in other languages to help support national security and diplomacy.
Scary fact: the U.S. Government Accountability Office has reported one in four Foreign Service officers do not meet necessary language proficiency requirements that they should to do their jobs.
h/t: Bored Panda