5 Ways Foreign Languages Made Me a Better Writer


As a Journalism major, I spent a lot of time honing my craft. Years actually. (Truth is I’ve never stopped.)

Like many writers, I tried to refashion myself after the greats who came before me.

Of the many traits I noticed in their writing, there was one thing in particular that began to dominate my thinking: Multilingualism.

Whether it’s George Orwell, Aldous Huxley or Alex de Tocqueville, they all spoke and read multiple languages and had spent years abroad.

I knew, if I were to take my writing to the next level, I would need to do the same.

Here are the 5 ways Learning a Foreign Language Has Made Me a Better Writer:


1. Perspective:

Have you ever heard a college professor mention being in someone else’s shoes?

Learning a foreign language is this — and then some.

Imagine two writers, the first an armchair anthropologist reading books in his office; the second a traveler just as well-read and well-versed living in a foreign land communicating in another tongue.

Who do you think has a deeper understanding of our inner workings?


2. Noticing Nuance:

Learning another language, especially a European language, can serve as a lens to look at your own native language.

After learning Spanish, I realized English doesn’t always turn nouns into adjectives, for example, “education system,” and not “educational system.”

In contrast, in Spanish, they would modify the noun, making it an adjective: el sistema educativo (en Mexico, el sistema escolar).


3. Word of mouth:

There are countless ways to say it, but getting the scoop, the low-down, the goods, the dirt from someone else by word of mouth is invaluable.

Now take a step back and think about getting that in another language.

It worries me how few foreign correspondents speak a foreign language; it most certainly is keeping them from the scoop.


4. Reading in another language:

History has so much to tell us.

Reading in another language, allows us to tap into a rich vein of knowledge that would otherwise go unseen, and therefore, excluded.

Tuning into another language’s literature, history and folklore is like having two refrigerators, instead of one.

It’s literally food for thought.


5. Mental Effort:

Learning a foreign language exercises your brain.

As humans, language is one of our unique abilities that separate us from the rest of the Animal Kingdom.

Learning another tongue is a mental exercise that sharpens the mind, providing confidence at the same time.

Exercising your brain not only prevents mental degradation, it also improves your overall mental wellbeing.

If you would like to learn a foreign language, please download my free eBook, written to guide you through the process of learning a foreign language.

The Fischer Method for Language Learning


2 thoughts on “5 Ways Foreign Languages Made Me a Better Writer”

  1. Great and “to the point” post. Thanks! I particularly enjoyed the second point –noticing nuances– and the example you provided. Once again I’m surprised by your ability to spot that kind of things!

    1. Jose! What a pleasure seeing you here! Thanks for the thoughtful comment. We need to reconnect! My schedule is pretty flexible nowadays. Hope you are doing well man!

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