“Language is not a genetic gift, it is a social gift. Learning a new language is becoming a member of the club – the community of speakers of that language.” – Frank Smith
Why spend the time learning another language? Why should I? What will it do for me?
There are many reasons to learn another language. In this blog post I’ll break them down and give you practical reasons to start learning a new language today. Hopefully, by the end of this post I’ll have solidified your reasons to learn a new language or made you want to start learning straight away! (If you aren’t already)
Gain friends and have fun:
Connect with Locals
If you’re visiting another country, being able to speak at least some of the native language will help you not only be able to understand more of what is going on but connect with the locals. By being able to order coffee in Swedish to asking for recommendations at a restaurant in Spanish it’ll make your experience a hell of a lot more authentic and fun. (This also applies if you live somewhere with a community that speak another language, such as a Chinatown)
It shows an effort to the locals
Similar to the point above, by being able to even just say ‘hi’ or a few sentences in someone’s native language it shows that you’ve made an effort to connect with them on a deeper level. ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart‘ – Nelson Mandela
You can make new friends
Imagine you picked up learning Mandarin Chinese, you now have over 1 billion people that you can communicate with in that language. Meet enough people and you’re bound to make friends!
It’s a fun hobby
Learning a language is a difficult challenge but can be fun! It’s a rewarding experience that if you put the effort in can benefit you in so many ways and just being able to say things in another language is cool enough in itself.
Develop your Confidence
Learning another language past infancy is tricky. To learn another language you have to make mistakes. As adults (or young adults) we don’t like to make mistakes, it makes us uncomfortable. By learning another language you give yourself a lot of exposure to failure and to embarrassing yourself (and realising that people will help you and don’t care if you make mistakes) most of the struggle is just mental. You’ll get there and develop confidence along the way.
Developing a habit, building consistency and developing discipline
I might make this into it’s own post because it’s so all encompasssing. By learning a language, you have to work on it every day and even though it won’t look like you’re learning and retaining the knowledge always. You’ll get to a point where you once wrote down what ‘bunk beds’ was on a mindmap in French and you remember it 5 years later for some reason (At least I know what it is). By keeping going you build the habit, and become consistent and develop the discipline to work every single day even if it’s just learning one word.
Become a polyglot easier
By learning one language you make it easier to learn the next. Especially when languages such as Italian and Spanish are so close. And languages such as Dutch and German. It makes bridging the gap easier. This is one because your brain is used to learning new languages now, and you’ll have already worked out how to learn one – repeat it and you’ve learned another, and two because of cognates and similarities of word stems.
Because you can
In the modern age, if you’re reading this you’ve got the technology to learn anything. You basically have free education, you’ve just got to sift through what is useless and a waste of time and what is worthwhile and valuable. You are able to learn anything and you’re able to learn another language with websites, podcasts, YouTube videos, PDF’s of books and more!
Find a lover and being a family:
Stand out – ladies love languages
Being able to speak another language is impressive, but it can also be sexy. Need I say more?
If it’s your S.O’s first language
Even if it’s just another language they speak, by being able to speak more than one language together you’re able to filter out what people can understand by switching languages but also you’d be able to tell your S.O. that you love them in their language and make a real effort to be able to communicate with them in the language they grew up with (and maybe still think in)
Raise a child bilinguially
There are many cognitive benefits to raising a child bilingually. They tend to do better at school, they have a greater understanding of how language works and of cultures (because culture has a massive influence on language) and they would be able to grow up without an accent while speaking either language.
Learn about your heritage
If you know what your heritage is and you haven’t learnt any of the language from where you’re from then you’re missing out. Especially if you still have family members that speak the language. Explore your heritage, connect with your ancestors and understand where you came from.
Become smarter and stay that way:
Become Smarter (Cognitive benefits)
Learning another language makes you smarter! It strengthens the brain like working out builds muscles on your body. But don’t just trust me, read here for people who know their stuff to explain it better.
Prevent Alzheimer’s (Age-related Cognitive Disease)
By strengthening your brain you are able to prevent, or at least slow down, Age-related cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s from affecting you. This can also be achieved by doing activities such as reading, Sudoku and crosswords
Similar to the point above, learning a new language allows you to train your brain to have a better memory.
Get a raise and save some cash:
Get a cheaper degree
A lot of countries, especially in Europe, have much lower tutition fees for Univesity and some even pay you to go (depending on your nationality and heritage). By going to a Uni abroad, you can use your language and get a cheaper education
Companies like employees that can speak multiple languages. It means that if they need a translator, they can use you. But more importantly, if they’re doing business abroad then you’re able to go and speak their native language to seal the deal. Learning languages such as German, Mandarin, French and Spanish are best for if you want to learn a language for career development.
Never be unemployed
There is always a need for language teachers, translators and work for the police, special forces and security. By learning a new language, and especially if you get certificates for the level of language you speak then you will always be able to get another job.
Gives you a competitive edge
If you were hiring for a new position and two people had the same qualifications. Who would you pick, the person who speaks English, German and French or the person who made a small but noticeable typing error on their CV.
For travelling and culture:
Travel cheaper and easier
By being able to speak the native language you are much less likely to be overcharged for products and services. But also you’re able to communicate with everyone in that country and always have people you can ask for help from (if you needed it)
It might just save your life
By being able to read your chosen language, you will be able to see and understand signs which could tell you if you’re about to be in danger. But also, by being able to speak another language if you’re in a country where they speak that language you’ll be able to communicate with emergency services much easier and understand what is going on!
Each and every country has a deep and rich culture which you can only really explore by being able to understand their language. Language has such a massive role in culture and is greatly influenced by culture itself. From Norse Mythology (Icelandic) to La Dias de los Muertos (Spanish) by being able to understand the language you can understand the culture better.
Need proof? Look here for further reading
I link to these websites as a way for you to read more at your leisure, I am not affiliated with them or endorse their products or services but instead just wish to provide you with as much information as you could possibly read.