In responding to comments on my foreign language study group post, I was unable to articulate the psychic benefit of learning a second language. I slept on it, was awakened to a skype call from Ukraine, spoke to my in-laws and their friends over there, and I realized what it was.
Speaking a second language gives you a second identity. Americans react to you in a certain, expected way, and you have learned to cultivate this reaction in them. You’ve never questioned it; you’ve never even known that something different was possible.
You get to be the foreigner with the cute accent, and it’s actually very good to be an American because this is the dominant global culture. You speak with the accent of all the celebrities they watch. They all watch American movies, and you have the accent of their favorite actors and actresses.
When someone is speaking a second language, they have to speak intellectually, rather than colloquially. The brain has to work much harder, and that’s a good thing. You don’t say “um um um, yeah, ya know, like, um um um.” You don’t speak in culturally pre-programmed responses or colloquialisms. It makes you more articulate in your native language as well.
Think of a foreigner speaking English, and saying something complex. You can hear him or her thinking hard how to formulate it, and they don’t get it colloquially perfect, but they figure out how to get the point across. Think of when Putin has insulted Bush, snarling Slavicly, “We don’t want the American style democracy, like they are doing in Iraq.” Think of Dracula, or any other hundreds of “foreign accented” villains and heroes of movies. A lot of the time, the accent gets short shrift. the actors don’t pull them off well, like Sean Connery in the Hunt for Red October. You get to be that “foreign accented” hero or villain, and your accent is most certainly not faked.
Also, you can go to Russia and paint verbal pictures of TNB and the consequences of Jewish influence, and call it “Amerikanizatsiya.” You can say, “Amerikanizatsiya, eto chuma, eto degradatsiya byelovo naroda.” Americanization is a plague, it is the degradation of White people. You can throw in embedded hypnotic commands to “imagine this” or “visualize that,” and your accent already has a hypnotic effect. Neurolinguistic programming, aka conversational hypnosis, is amplified when the speaker has an accent, and speaks intellectually rather than colloquially.
You get to be a new person, to every Russian you meet. It’s not just a second identity, but infinitely new identities, because speaking a 2nd language gives you an extra fresh start with every person you meet. You don’t have a lifetime of mutually programmed responses with the people who speak a language not native to your own.