‘Why would I need to learn foreign languages, everybody speaks English, right?’
Even if it’s easy to think you don’t have to learn any other language when your native language is English, you probably have never been so wrong.
Apart from the obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world; learning a language is acquiring a new way of seeing the world. A new tongue means a whole new world of opportunities, and a perspective on your own culture you might otherwise never have considered.
Social, economic, personal, professional; advantages of mastering a new language are numerous. Today, we will explore how learning a language will make you embrace a whole new world of opportunities!
More than a language, learn a new culture
Being a kiwi or not, there are very high chances that living in New Zealand made you interested at some point in the Māori culture and language. The reason behind this is the fact that when you learn just a few words of the Māori language you can enhance your understanding of New Zealand culture and history. For example, knowing what the famous All Black’s Haka means, opens up a world of new learning including other uses and types of haka!
(For those of you that’ll be interested in knowing more, there is a brilliant display on the song’s origins in the Te Papa in Wellington!)
Learning a new language will make you instantaneously interested in the related country’s traditions, celebrations, rites, and also… Food! For me, learning Mandarin Chinese awoke my fascination for Chinese tea and astrology!
Additionally, a new language will also make you uncover new art! Movies, books, songs… wouldn’t you like being able to enjoy them in their original language, without losing anything that made them famous for in the first place?
More than a new tongue, this is a whole new culture you’ll uncover. Take your chance to enjoy it!
Take the opportunity to understand your culture better
If learning a new language is the best way to discover a new culture, it is also a perfect occasion to get an outsider’s view of yours.
Your language and culture are part of you. You grew up in this particular environment and developed habits and way of thinking connected to that framework. Even if you didn’t always realize it. Becoming conscious of others’ habits and traditions and acknowledging their resemblances and dissimilarities with yours, will help you be more aware of your own culture.
We all have examples of international cultural habits that will seem funny or inappropriate in our country. Did you know that salting your meal in Egypt will dreadfully offend your host? Or that presenting a clock as a gift in China will be associated to a death wish?
Understand language differences (and have a good laugh!)
Learning a new language means learning new ideas, and also new ways of expressing yourself. It makes you think about concepts and notions you weren’t aware existed before. The reason behind this is that some words just can’t be translated.
That’s right; you won’t always get away with translation (sorry folk). Most of the time, translating in your mother tongue will make you lose nuances substantial to your understanding. This is the reason why some movie titles don’t get translated (try translating ‘Lost in translation’ in any other language than English!).
Each new language comes with its new sounds and expressions, idioms and colloquialisms. All of which is a new wealth for you to discover. Each of them is unique to the related language, and some could even give you a good laugh!
As a French traveler, I was astonished to realize our love for cats in our national idioms. While English speakers have a ‘frog in the throat’, we have a cat (how on earth did it make its way in here?). Also, when others have ‘better fishes to fry’, we prefer saying we have ‘other cats to whip’. How cruel.
Learn a language for better travel experiences
What could be a better motivation to any language learning than travel?!
Once again, it’s easy to think that English will always be here to save your life. And in a certain sense, you’re not wrong. English will help you in a lot of places, but not everywhere!
If you are part of those enthusiast travelers who learn a few common phrases before any trip; well done: you are on the right path! Your best way to visit a new country is to learn its language. The first reason being that it will save you to being seen as another closed-minded tourist.
Believe me; you do want to go the extra mile and try to communicate in the country’s language. You will be surprised how charming locals can be when you try to communicate in their mother tongue. Not really because they’ll understand you better, but because you’ll have made the effort of adaptability. By trying a few words in their language, you’ll show them that you care about their identity and culture. And that’s all the magic of it.
It is up to you to break the language barrier and make the first step. You’ll soon see that only positive outcomes can result of you being a little bit curious.
Preparing your next trip to South America? Why not enjoy a 1$ trial Spanish lesson and learn to order your first ‘Cerveza’ with Beatriz?
Learn a language and boost your CV!
There is a reason why most education systems across Europe make it compulsory to learn a second and even a third language at school. Like the majority of English-speaking countries, New Zealand is realising that foreign language learning has to become a priority.
The world is becoming more globalized by the minute. Large companies and startups alike rely on international markets to expand their business. Yet, we can’t do it without hiring a polyglot and international-minded work force. Even in local companies, mastering one or two other languages than English is a powerful asset.
More than economic and career benefits at home, learning a new language can also mean new job opportunities abroad. Learning languages has become a brilliant way to travel the world! Teach English in Vietnam or set up as a freelance translator everywhere in the world, what stops you?
Learn a language and enhance cognitive and life skills
Because learning a second language implies a variety of learning competencies, benefits of studying a foreign language radiate on a lot of other areas. If you still needed a reason to learn a new language, here you go: being bilingual will make you smarter.
More than new linguistic competencies under your belt, learning a new language will help you develop your memory and boost your creativity. Even more impressive, being polyglot can reduce your risks of age-related cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Because it fosters communication skills development, learning a new language can also help you in your relationships to others. By expanding your view of the world and confronting you with new cultural ideas, study of foreign languages will make you more open-minded and tolerant. Goodbye cultural stereotypes, hello cultural wealth!
More than enlarging your world, learning a new language will enrich you. New visions of the world, new opportunities, new travels and an occasion for new meaningful encounters. Seriously, what are you waiting for?
It’s always easy to find excuses: ‘I’m too old’, ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I already speak English’. What isn’t easy though, is to is to pluck up the courage to embrace this new world of opportunities.
No more excuses, start now and you’ll be amazed how your world can enlarge as you step feet out of your bubble.
Take today your chance to fast track your learning success and find the ideal language lesson to discover the language you’ve always wanted to learn!