Ten Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language
This blog will be of great help learning languages for English speakers.
While learning a foreign language requires a great deal of time and effort, it can also be a fulfilling accomplishment that expands your horizons and exposes you to new opportunities and cultures. Unfortunately, the difficulties associated with learning a new language often cause people to give up prematurely, rationalizing their decision to quit with thoughts like - "English is a global, so it's the only language I need to know."
Although you could probably survive the rest of your life only knowing English, consider the following 10 reasons to learn a foreign language:
1. Create New Job Opportunities/Experiences
After learning a foreign language you'll be eligible for more job positions, and you'll have a higher chance of being hired because there will be fewer applicants that can meet the requirement of knowing a specific language. With the increasing globalization of every industry, many companies have a high demand for bilingual employees, particularly native English speakers that are able to speak Spanish, French, German and other popular languages.
Statistics show that employers pay bilingual employees approximately 5 to 20% more per hour than the base rate of the position. For example, a regular customer service representative may earn $12 per hour, while a bilingual service representative earns $14 per hour. If you can become extremely fluent at your new language you could even become a well-paid freelance translator (an average ATA-certified translator in the U.S. earns a minimum of $6000 per month).
Even if you're happy with your current occupation, learning a new language can create new experiences at the workplace with coworkers, and give you the opportunity to move up to higher paying, bilingual positions within the company.
2. Improve Overall Verbal Acuity
Research indicates that learning a foreign language not only introduces you to a new dialect, it also improves your verbal acuity in your native language by exposing you to different uses of prepositions and tenses. The process of learning a new language exercises the part of the brain responsible for your vocabulary, so many people notice that after learning a foreign language they have less trouble recalling specific words. All foreign languages have some words/phrases that have no exact counterpart in English, so you're also exposed to new ways of describing objects and activities.
When you learn a foreign language, you have to associate each of the new words you're learning with words that are already in your English vocabulary. By doing this you're indirectly increasing the percentage of your brain that becomes active during speech, as every word spoken has a mental association with another word in a foreign language. You may notice it becomes easier to structure more complex sentences spontaneously, as your newfound second language introduces you to creative ways of expressing yourself. In fact, some of the greatest poets, authors, and songwriters of our time have mastered more than one language.
3. Double Your Dating Life
By learning a foreign language you instantly open the door to an entirely new culture, and with it comes twice as many opportunities to meet a beautiful partner that you previously could not have approached. Even if you're not after a "foreign lover," studies have shown that English-speaking people are more attracted to individuals that can speak a second language, as it suggests a personality that is sophisticated, intellectual, and multicultural. Now, this doesn't mean that learning a few foreign pickup lines is going to bring your “game” to the next level, but having the ability to confidently speak more than one language is sure to impress and create conversation.
4. Have More Fun Traveling
Traveling to foreign lands can be one of the most memorable experiences of your life, but typically costs a lot of money each trip. If you're going to spend thousands of dollars on your dream vacation, you might as well be able to speak to the locals and get the most out of your experience. By becoming familiar with the native language of your travel destination you'll meet more people, and as a result will be exposed to more events, locations, and activities. You'll also find that it is much easier to find your way around, as you can simply ask anyone for directions in the native dialect, rather than having to seek out someone that can understand you. You don't necessarily have to learn an entire language before your trip, as knowing just the basics can get you a long way.
5. Adapt to a New Culture
If you're planning on moving to another country any time soon, learning the native language beforehand would be highly recommend. Without the ability to communicate with people in your community it will be much more difficult to adapt to your surroundings, find a job, and make friends. If you want to go on living a relatively normal lifestyle, and you're about to move to a place where English is not the most common language, you may have no choice but to learn a foreign language. Even if you're going to a place where a lot of people speak English, learning the local language can only be beneficial.
6. Bridge the Gap Between Family Members
It is not uncommon for people that come from a multicultural background to have older family members that are not fluent in English. Unfortunately, communication with these relatives is severely hindered, and precious family moments and memories can be lost in translation. By learning the language of some of your elder family members you can learn more about your family's history and heritage. Also, if you can understand and communicate with all of your relatives, family reunions and functions will be much more fulfilling, and you won't feel left out when someone starts listening to foreign music or watching a foreign television show...
7. Unlock New Forms of Entertainment
If you've ever flipped past a foreign TV channel, and thought to yourself - “This looks absolutely hilarious, and highly intriguing... I just wish I knew what those people were laughing about,” you've missed at least one entertaining moment in your life, simply because you didn't know the language. By learning a foreign language you'll be able to enjoy new music and movies that you previously would never have been exposed to or understood. With thousands of foreign satellite television and radio stations available almost worldwide, knowing a foreign language can significantly expand your entertainment options.
8. Get More Outreach/Advertising Exposure
Having the ability to utilize a foreign language will give you the opportunity to reach out to a larger audience. If you're an Internet entrepreneur, building a website that contains Spanish content, for example, can attract a large number of additional visitors that you would not have been able to communicate with otherwise. If you're an activist with a message or have religious beliefs that you're trying to share, knowing more than one language will certainly help your cause. Regardless of whether you're trying to increase visitors to your blog, or evangelize spiritual beliefs, being able to bridge the language gap will inevitably give you access to more people.
9. Gain a Better Understanding of Cultural Psychology
Since languages are simply the mediums we use to express ourselves, learning another language can reveal interesting facts about how human beings form thought processes and communicate. In fact, many research institutions have shown interest in studying the psychology of language, and how it relates to cognitive processes. Intercultural communication lets you understand every aspect of a culture from a point of view that could not be possible without knowing the native language.
After a few months of speaking with people in a newly learned foreign language you'll begin to notice unique aspects of their culture and the way they behave, and how these subtleties relate to their speech habits and mannerisms. If you're interested in psychology and want to learn about the attributes that make different races and cultures unique, learning a foreign language is an excellent way to do so.
10. Access a Different Perspective On Life
Because of the cultural experiences that usually come with learning a foreign language, it is not uncommon for a newly bilingual person to feel as though they see the world from two different perspectives at once. For many people this creates a new sense of identity, as they're able to feel at home in a new place and engage in activities that they were not familiar with before. Whether you're having a midlife crisis or simply looking for a change, learning a foreign language is one of the best ways to see life from a new perspective.
Published: 1/2012. Author: Joaquin. Updated: A long time ago.