2014 Lycoming College Spring Magazine - page 20

According toLenCagle, Ph.D.,
assistant professor ofGerman at
LycomingCollege, thismay be the case.
“When a personbecomes fluent in a
second language, he or she has adopted
a new point of view, a new personality
even, one that expresses itselfwhenever
the person speaks, hears, reads orwrites
the second language,”Cagle said. “A
language educator I know describes
this second personality as ‘me plus,’
which describes theway inwhich a new
language augments the personality of the
learner.”
Another popular notion about learning
a new language is that it increases brain
power: perhaps learning the vocabulary
boosts thememory and communicating in
the language helps one’s attention span.
But it’s lesser known that itmight even
help tofight a seemingly indomitable
disease,Alzheimer’s.
“One study showed that among
Alzheimer’s patients, thosewhowere
bilingual delayed the onset of the disease
by an average of four years,”Cagle said.
“It seems clear that learning a second
language benefits brain health in a number
ofways.”
For college students, amore immediate
concern is finding a job, andmodern
language learning certainly canhelp
with that, too. Beingfluent in a second
language and having experience abroad
can provide students a leg-up in the
job hunt and also can expand their
opportunities overseas.
For all these reasons andmore,many
students have immersed themselves into
the college’sModernLanguageStudies
Program, which offers opportunities to
learn at official international study affiliate
sites.Meet three such studentswho are
dedicated to the study of French, German
andSpanish, respectively.
SarahAgostinelli ’14
SinceFrench is an official language
of theUnitedNations, it is a useful
language to know for students such as
Agostinelli, aFrench and international
studiesmajor, who’s planning to embark
on an international career. She hopes to
earn a certificate forTeachingEnglish as
aForeignLanguage and then apply for
aFulbright EnglishTeachingAssistant
Scholarship to spend a year teaching
English inTurkmenistan.
WhenAgostinelli chose to study
French instead of Spanish inmiddle
school, she quickly realized she had a
knack for it andwas convinced shewould
major inFrench in college.At Lycoming,
she fulfilled this promise to herself.
“Thefirst four semesters that I took
French, I had prettymuch the same seven
or eight people inmy classwithme,”
she said. “Itwas a goodway to build up
the confidence to speak and interactwith
the others inFrench, since speaking a
foreign language in front of others can be
daunting at times.”
She spent the 2012 fall semester at
CentreUniversitaire d’Études Françaises
inGrenoble, which is in southeastern
France near theFrenchAlps, where she
studiedFrench history, art history and
Learningasecond
languagehas
itsbenefits
BY MATT PARRISH ’06
Thebenefitsof learninga second languagearenumerous, but some
arebetter known thanothers. It’s commonknowledge thatwhen
one learnsa language, one learns its cultureaswell. But howmany
peopleknow that takingonanew languagealsomightmeana
personalityadjustment for the learner?
SarahAgostinelli ’14
NathanBahn ’15
LauraMiller ’14
20
LYCOMINGCOLLEGE 2014SPRINGMAGAZINE
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