The Internet has made distances shorter and the world smaller. However, the great divider that stands in the way of a truly global society is fact that there are many different languages spoken in our planet Earth. How can we overcome this situation? Either we must have a universal language or else we must an interest to learn some foreign languages.
Why learn new language? Learning another language opens up new opportunities and gives you perspectives that you might never have encountered otherwise. Personal, professional, social, and economic considerations all point to the advantages of learning foreign languages. Still not convinced? Here are 8 very good reasons why you should be learning a foreign language:
1. To increase global understanding: A person competent in other languages can bridge the gap between cultures, contribute to international diplomacy, promote national security and world peace, and successfully engage in international trade.
2. To improve employment potential: Business is not the only area of employment where language competencies are needed. Multiple government agencies, the travel industry, engineering, communications, the field of education, international law, economics, public policy, publishing, advertising, entertainment, scientific research, and a broad array of service sectors all have need for people with foreign language skills. Chances are that knowing languages will open up employment opportunities that you would not have had otherwise. And you will be able to command a greater salary in the workplace.
3. To increase native language ability: Research shows that knowledge of other languages boosts students’ understanding of languages in general and enables students to use their native language more effectively.
4. To sharpen cognitive and life skills: Because learning a language involves a variety of learning skills, studying a foreign language can enhance one’s ability to learn and function in several other areas. People who have learned foreign languages show greater cognitive development in areas such as mental flexibility, creativity, and higher order thinking skills, such as problem-solving, conceptualizing, and reasoning.
5. To study abroad options: For those planning to continue on to graduate study abroad in any field, knowledge of a second and sometimes even a third language is often a prerequisite for admission. In some programs, graduate students are required to gain a reading knowledge of other languages as a degree requirement, especially in doctoral programs. This is because important research is often published in non-English language books and professional journals.
6. To appreciate international literature, music, and film: Most of the world’s literary and artistic works have been written in languages other than English. A translation of a text can never be fully true to the intent, beauty, style, and uniqueness of its original. A translation is always to a large degree subject to the interpretation of the translator, not least because some elements of languages simply don’t have translations in other languages. To be able to fully appreciate literature, theater, music, and film in other languages, one must be able to access them in their original form.
7. To make travel more feasible and enjoyable: It’s true that in tourist areas English may be spoken. If you intend to stray from the tourist centers and explore the real country and really get to know it, you must know the language. Your language ability will allow you to see and do things that many visitors cannot.
8. To make lifelong friends: Knowing other languages effectively increases the number of people on the globe with whom you can communicate. Your ability to speak other languages and your interest in other cultures can connect you deeply with people around the globe.
By now you must be convinced as to why you should learn a foreign language. In my next blog you will learn, how easily and how fast and where you can learn languages.