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Lorne Gillies, Journalist

photo of Lorne GilliesMy name is Lorne and I am an award-winning journalist working with an independent publishing house based in Glasgow. Here at DC Publishing we work on six industry leading magazines that cover everything from disability, lifestyle, to celebrity interviews. No one day is the same, which is very exciting.

What languages have you learned?

I was born in France (albeit to Scottish parents) so my first language was actually French, and I went on to learn English. By the time I was four or five I was comfortably speaking both French and English. It was at the age of six we moved to Munich where I started learning German. Since moving back to Scotland – and spending some time living and working in Barcelona – I have been actively learning Spanish.

How have any language skills helped you in your work?

As a journalist having additional languages has advanced my understanding, and appreciation, of English. The use of modern languages in my career has benefits when writing, valuing the writing of other authors/journalists and has provided a platform to further my own skills in writing.

What benefits do you think language skills bring?

Languages open up a world of new skills and opportunities. Even carrying basic understanding of another language to a new country will see you in good stead as you will be able to: use a dictionary properly, feel more confident trying to speak a new language, and appreciate different cultures. Similarly, it will help further understanding of your native tongue.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering learning a language?

Spanish for me was quite challenging: especially the writing side of things. Let me tell you, as a journalist this was a pretty big barrier. Comparing myself to others in my Spanish course, or my peers who picked the language up naturally, was very disheartening. My advice would be to go at your own pace and don’t feel defeated if you’re not picking it up as well as your peers – keep practicing and use the language as often as you can.

Any tipimage showing different language learning methodss on how best to approach communicating in a language you have little knowledge of?

Communicating with a language you know little of can be daunting but the best thing to do is try. For those learning English for the first time, they might have felt apprehensive communicating in a different tongue. But the best way to learn is to try. You will make mistakes and you will learn from them: why did this not make sense? How can I restructure this sentence to improve my grammar or pronunciation? The more you practice and incorporate language into your daily life the quicker you will reap the rewards.

In your experience, would you say cultural awareness is important?

Cultural awareness is very important, especially in the climate we find ourselves in. The world is image depicting global co-operation and understandingcurrently going through a big transition in positive and negative ways. Learning about different cultures will not only broaden your own perspectives, it will make the world a more tolerant and accepting place.

Language is just one way to connect with someone from the other side of the world to hear their tales and experiences. There is a whole world of differences out there waiting to be explored and adding various languages to your arsenal will help make the adventure even more vibrant.

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