LATISM Conference Series: The Case For Multilingualism


This is the first installment of our LATISM Conference blogging series by LATISM members from around the Blogosphere, in which they delineate the reasons why they are looking forward to attend the upcoming LATISM ’11 National Conference in Chicago, November 9-11, 2011. This post originally appeared at the LATISM Charlotte Blog.

Guest Post by Brian Cockman (@bcockman) – LATISM Chapter Director, Charlotte NC (@Latism_CHA)

On September 1st, Latinos In Social Media (LATISM) asked numerous questions about being bilingual or multilingual and the benefits associated with both. First, if you’re not joining us for the LATISM Twitter parties every Thursday night at 9pm….muévete ya! Instructions on how to join follow this post. In any case, the overarching theme was that speaking at least one other language besides your native tongue gets those synapses firing…literally! Take a look at this article from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages if you don’t believe me.

From a personal standpoint and as an owner of a small business, anyone who shows an aptitude for another language usually is at the top of my list for new positions or internships. Being able to communicate / write effectively in your native tongue is a given, but if you can do so in multiple languages, think about how many more potential customers and business leads you’ll land.

LATISM Vice-Chair of Communications, Elianne Ramos (@ergeekgoddess) also asked the question last night if there was an advantage of being monolingual. The only one I could come up with is that if you’re being cussed out at least you only have to listen to it once. :) All jokes aside, however, it’s not enough to speak another language either. You must commit to understanding the culture in which it comes from to truly understand the nuances of a language. And let’s face it, the Caribbean, Central and South America (and even la madre patria) give you just about every kind of cultural experience you could ask for!

Speaking from personal experience, the trick to learning a new language is to pick a culture you gravitate towards and go for it. It’ll make learning a new language a lot easier and fun. Also, surround yourself with native speakers or take a continuing education class. You’d also be surprised how music can help open up your ear. My pronunciation in Spanish is in direct correlation with my love for musica Latina. Here’s to learning a new language and bridging cultural gaps!

To join the LATISM party, simply sign in to your Twitter account, go to a Twitter Chat platform (I use TweetChat) and enter in the hashtag LATISM at the top of the screen. It’s that easy!

Also, don’t miss the LATISM Conference in Chicago Nov. 9-11 for some dynamite presentations and a chance to bring your online conversations offline!


Brian Cockman is the Director of the local LATISM in Charlotte, NC (@Latism_CHA). He’s also the Principal at Rooster Communications (@RoosterComms) and the creator of @Gringos4Latinos. He defines himself as a world traveler and southern boy.

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