International Mother Language Day

Tuxhorn explains the importance of learning a foreign language.

Briana Del Rio, staff writer

International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.

A little background information about International Mother Language Day is the day first was announced on November 19,1999 by UNESCO, since then it has been celebrated every year.

The reason they chose the 21st of February is because back in 1952 on February 21st four students were killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh because of the controversy between Bengali and Urdu’s languages.

There are many languages spoken at Ben Davis like Spanish, Hindi, Arbic,  English and many more. Ben Davis promotes being multilingual by offering four different language classes.

You can take French, Spanish, German and Latin.

When asked about language development and how students can learn a new language Spanish teacher Matthew Tuxhorn replied “People learn differently but I would say the best way to learn a new language is to make sure that you are having daily exposure to the language.

“If you aren’t practicing it daily then you lose pieces of it.  Watching television shows, listening to music, watching movies, reading, writing, and speaking in the target language are all effective mechanisms in learning the language.”

Tuxhorn admits it is easier to learn at younger ages.

“Younger people learn languages easier than adult learners, but it is not impossible for an adult learner to learn a foreign language,” he said. “Adults need to make the time everyday to learn it and practice it.”

There are community groups that meet to practice speaking the language.  If people have time and want to learn a new language, they should seek out groups like that.  There should also be personal interaction with a native speaker or someone who knows the language well so that the person learning the language can be given feedback when they make errors.

“We learn the most through the mistakes that we make,” Tuxhorn said.

Speaking more than one language comes with many positive things.

“Learning Spanish has changed my life because it has given me an opportunity to meet and interact with a lot of people who I would not have gotten to know if I did not know Spanish,” Tuxhorn said. “Knowing Spanish has given me a cultural and educational awakening. I am able to read different philosophies and experience different perspectives and time periods through literature.

“ Learning Spanish has changed my life because while learning it in Salamanca, Spain, I decided to change my major and teach it, which is why you see me at Ben Davis. I never wanted to be a teacher when I started college at 18. In fact, it was the last career I thought about pursuing. I was pursuing a degree in Biology when I got the ‘call’ to teach.  It has always felt right and I love what I do. I wouldn’t change anything.”

When asked if he would recommend learning a new language Tuxhorn said, “I would recommend students to learn a new language because knowing a foreign language opens up new doors of opportunity.  It opens up the mind to the world around us.

“There is a world outside of the United States, and many people haven’t experienced this world. It is life changing.  Knowing a different language gives people an opportunity to meet and interact with different people from different cultures. It helps people appreciate different cultures and lifestyles. Knowing a different language makes you more marketable in a competitive global economy. There is also research that has been conducted stating that people who are bilingual and speak it daily increase their cognitive-reserve and can protect the effects against Alzheimer’s disease.”