Why Language Learning Could be More Important Than you Think
Daily life is busy and that’s before we even talk about work commitments and family errands. What’s more, you probably feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get all of your to-do list done, let alone add language learning to it. But learning another language could actually help you in more ways than one. Here, we reveal some of the biggest benefits of doing so.
Language helps you to connect
It goes without saying that if you can speak more than one language, you’ll be able to engage with more people – which is essential for building and maintaining relationships. Whether you find yourself in an international supermarket or hear someone in your own country asking for help in another language, being multilingual gives you a unique opportunity to engage and connect with even more people.
You don’t even need to be fluent in more than one language. With over 7,000 languages in the world, it would be quite difficult to know them all too. What can be useful however is learning one of the global languages which are used all over. Chinese, Spanish, English and even German lessons are sure to prove handy – as millions of people use these languages every single day.
Even though you might not be able to participate in fully-fledged conversations, knowing a few phrases and words here and there can bridge any gaps and help you to build connections with others, wherever you are.
It provides more job opportunities
While English may be one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, only 6% of people speak it as their first language. What’s more, 90% of employers say they rely on their employees having more than English regarding their language skills. The same study also found that most employers feel that the need for foreign-speaking skills will increase over the next few years.
It’s no surprise then that being multilingual can set you apart from the competition when it comes to finding a job. While it might not be the only deciding factor, being able to communicate in different languages can show potential employers that you’re able to engage seamlessly with a range of colleagues and customers.
The same report that revealed the above statistics also confirmed that as the demand for multilingual employees is so high, those that can speak more than two languages should also expect better pay and bonuses.
It broadens your horizons
Knowing another language doesn’t just open up the doors in your professional life but also in your personal life too. Being able to communicate in other languages confidently can make you more confident when travelling. Instead of sticking to the beaten path, you’ll be able to ask locals about the best places to go.
As you see more places, your understanding and connections to other cultures are only going to be boosted too. By exploring another language and culture, you’re gaining perspective of how another community lives, their tradition, arts, culture and history.
This greater understanding can help you be more accepting and tolerant of situations and others around you. One study even revealed that children who knew another language were typically more open and showed positive feelings towards the country and culture where that language originated from.
It enhances your brain
The brain is a muscle and, just like any other muscle in the body, the more we use, the better it gets. If you think about learning another language, you’re basically exercising and training your brain. This is why, once you know a couple of languages, learning another one can be easier.
There are lots of cognitive benefits to learning another language too. But one of the most common is that it can improve your memory. This is because your brain becomes used to memorizing language rules and vocabulary and begins to mimic this repetitive action for other pieces of information.
Experts also say that multilingual people are better at making decisions, solving problems and thinking critically. Not to mention better at multitasking. Again, this is because the art of language learning requires you to concentrate and then switch between native tongues quickly.
It makes failure more acceptable
Of course, we’re not saying that failure is unacceptable but, if we do get something wrong, it can be difficult for us to accept it as individuals. Saying the wrong thing and getting phrases mixed up is an essential part of the language learning process, though.
While in other areas of life, someone might take to a new hobby or pick up new skills immediately, that is rarely the case when it comes to languages. Working through your mistakes and trying to find the correct word is great for your improvisation skills and creative thinking too.
Plus, when you do get something wrong and, are then corrected, you’re more likely to not make the same mistake again. So, essentially, making mistakes is required if you want to be successful at speaking another language.
It provides a greater understanding
Finally, just like learning another language can open your mind up to new cultures, it can also broaden your understanding of your own language, culture and the body language of others. Think of it like reverse psychology. As you learn and focus on another language, you’ll actually become more aware of the way you speak – and whether it’s correct or incorrect.
As well as this, you’ll likely become conscious of your pronunciation, emphasis, grammar and any cultural customs. You may even begin to look into where certain words come from. And while this might be one of the most unexpected benefits associated with learning another language, it can also be one of the most interesting.
Learning a second language might take time and requires dedication and a willingness to succeed but it’s sure to help you in a few different ways. Not least because it will likely boost your confidence, help you to build new and meaningful relationships and open up opportunities all over the world.