The choice of language is really up to you. Learning any language has many benefits:
- It opens new worlds of literature, art, poetry, film and human relationships.
- It improves academic progress in other subjects.
- It stimulates higher order, abstract, and creative thinking.
- It promotes cultural awareness and empathy.
- It enhances career opportunities (The Partnership for a New American Economy reported that between 2010 and 2015, the demand for bilingual workers in Massachusetts had more than doubled).
Which language is most useful?
This question is not as easy to answer as it may appear, and perhaps not even the most important question to ask. You might think in terms of the most widely spoken languages in the world or your region (Linguists estimate some 7,000 languages spoken on this planet), but there are lots of good reasons to study different languages.
Some choose a language because they find it beautiful—a very subjective idea, but perfectly valid.
Some choose a language based on family heritage or previous travel experience.
Others are already thinking of future careers.
Really, learning any second language is worth your time, regardless of your reasons for choosing it. It’s about widening your cultural perspectives and what you love.
There is no wrong answer. Our hope is that all of our students in Wellesley will graduate high school with proficiency in another language (and perhaps apply for the Seal of Biliteracy when they are seniors).
Why consider studying French?
- The French government website reminds us that French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. Check out the rest of their top 10 reasons to study French.
- The University of Virginia says French is the language of the future.
Why consider studying German?
- According to Boston University Department of World Languages and Literatures, Germany has over 92 Nobel Prize laureates and is a world leader in the field of engineering. Read more here.
- The Goethe Institute has a top 10 list of reasons to learn German.
WMS, WHS students and alums talk about why they love learning German:
Why consider studying Latin?
The ancient Romans spoke Latin every day. They also wrote many important and exciting things in Latin, so the influence of the language spread widely throughout Europe. It also crossed the Atlantic to America and still exerts its force in the world today.
Roman writers put their Latin stamp on much of Greek literature and produced works that stand on their own. You will be able to read about Hercules, Ulysses, and Aeneas in Latin, just as the Romans themselves did.
- The classics of Latin literature are models for European, English, and American authors. You have probably read stories and books that were influenced by Latin writers. You will be reading many more on your own, in school, and in college. Many of the heroic themes in the “Star Wars” saga and Harry Potter come from mythology (the “Iliad,” “The Odyssey,” “Oedipus Rex”).
Latin has given us more than half of our English words. Knowing Latin will help you figure out new words that you meet in all academic areas. It will also enable you to use words effectively in your writing.
Learning Latin sentence structure will help you understand how English sentences work. Control of grammar is essential to clear and logical expression in all languages.
Latin is the parent of French, Spanish, and Italian – known as Romance languages, as in “Roman.” Latin is cognate, or related to, Greek and German as well as English. Latin will give you a background and a foundation for studying these languages.
- Illinois Wesleyan University Greek and Roman studies department has a list of Ten Reasons Why You Should Study Latin.
WMS student talks about why he loves learning Latin.
Why consider studying Mandarin Chinese?
- Chinese is widely spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world.
- Learning Chinese opens a unique window into one of the world’s most ancient civilizations: you will learn Chinese history, cultural values, philosophical and religious beliefs, and aesthetic traditions.
- Knowledge of Chinese language and culture is a valuable asset for careers in government, international relations, finance, tourism, translation, teaching, and more.
- Read more at Boston University Department of World Language and Literatures, Wellesley College East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota.
WMS, WHS students and alum talk about why they love learning Chinese.
Why consider studying Spanish?
- There are over 400 million Spanish speakers in the world and over 33 million in the US.
- There are many career fields in the where speaking Spanish is an asset:such as the medical field, social work, teaching, sales.
- Read what the Huffington Post has to say about learning Spanish.