The Importance of Being a Polyglot

Hannah Escandon, Head Editor

At least once a week, Spanish music fills the first floor hallway, painting a vivid picture of Spanish culture through common verbs and adjectives. Students at Hollis Brookline High School have the opportunity to learn three languages throughout their high school career: French, Latin, or Spanish. Language classes language learning apps are allowing HBHS students to learn languages in a different way than before. Using websites like Duolingo , Wordreference   or online audio of a book allows students to grasp these languages in a much more progressive way, transforming the way students access education. But is being bilingual or even multilingual important in the ever expanding world? 


According to U.S. News “those who speak more than one language have a greater chance of succeeding in business.” On Top of that, fluency in a second language “can expect an additional 10 to 15 percent pay increase” according to language expert Ryan McMunn and CEO of  BRIC Language Learning. HB student Josh Hill ‘21 who decided to opt-out of AP Spanish his senior year has a different take on the importance of learning another language, especially here in the U.S. “ Learning other languages is like switching frozen waffle brands just for the sake of variety. I like eggo and if people want to try eggo they can, but I’m not going to switch,” said Hill. 


While there is no official language in the United States, the most common language is English with 239 million speakers and the second most common language is Spanish with only 35 million speakers, according to Business Insider. . With a gap this big in the country it seems that knowing another language is unnecessary unless going into a job that is abroad or dealing with foreign trade. 

On the other hand ambitious sophomore Lindsey Dattis ‘23, has her sights set on a quite eager goal: to learn all three love languages by the end of high school, french, italian and Spanish. “I feel like knowing other languages is important because it opens up so many doors to communicate with other people,” said Dattis as she mentioned in class. 


There are many other benefits to learning another language besides being able to communicate with more people around the world. Teaching your brain a new language pushes your brain to familiarize new grammar and vocabulary rules, as well as remember new words and make connections between them. Knowing two or more languages also enhances the ability to multitask. Having to switch between different languages allows the brain to be more comfortable with doing different tasks all at the same time. Lastly, learning other languages opens a view of different cultures and unlocks a whole new understanding of the world. 


The HBHS language departments are always trying their best to incorporate real life experiences into their classes. Whether it’s reading a book in French or listening to Spanish music once a week the language classrooms are changing for the better. Instead of teachers giving words to memorize, students are learning through technology and using language the way native speakers do. As the U.S. continues to diversify, the language department here at HBHS are sure to keep up with this newly important, lifelong skill.