18 Apr Why You Should Speak More Than One Language
America has a foreign language deficit. Only 18% of Americans report speaking a language other than English, compared to 53% of Europeans. It’s therefore no coincidence that Americans are associated with some unfortunate stereotypes—that they are uneducated, monolingual, and uncultured. A big part of being educated and especially in being cultured lies in speaking more than one language.
Why learn another language?
Learning another language means learning another culture. You can never truly understand another country and its people until you learn at least the basics of its language It is simply impossible. Even if you have studied another country or culture through your career, yet you still don’t speak even small bits of the language, you inevitably remain shrouded in ignorance.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “language is the archive of history.” Learning another language opens up an entire world. You will have access to ten times more literature, food, poetry, films, TV programs, and music. You will have an instant connection with millions of new people, and a wonderful opportunity to make friends from entirely new backgrounds. In short, learning another language brings a treasure trove of information and knowledge with it.
“A different language is a different vision of life.” – Federico Fellini, Italian film director
You will add an entire dimension to your character. With another language, you become more cultured, more educated, and more respected. You can speak with more authority on world events and history. If your family spoke a particular language in the past, you might learn it and teach it to your children. It would also be useful in researching your family history. A language is a tradition you can pass on.
Boost your success.
Speaking a second language will help you in your personal life, your quest for success, and in your career. In fact, those entering the workforce in 2014 with second language fluency can expect an addition 10 to 15% increase in pay, according to a recent study.
As globalization becomes more widespread and methods of communication become more advanced, the world will become even closer together. We will become less American citizens and more global citizens. It will become even more urgent that we, as global citizens, are competent in other languages. Already, with increasing competition from workers from countries like China and India, jobs are hard to come by. Don’t let yourself get passed over in favor of someone who is multilingual. If you’re not careful, the fact that you are merely monolingual will become a hindrance. Yes, English is the language of the most use and most importance in today’s world, but it is not the only language of power and importance. America, moreover, will not be the world hegemony forever. The “golden years” of the ‘70s are gone, and other countries are stepping up to the plate when it comes to technological advancement, social liberty, world influence, and military prowess. To believe that America and English will remain the top of the top forever is ignorant, not to mention self-aggrandizing. Don’t get lost behind the curve.
What language to learn?
How do you determine which language to learn? Many people often warn that you should only learn a language that is “worth your time”.
This is totally the wrong way of thinking.
First of all, you need to pick a language that you’re interested in. If you like the film of one country, learn that language. Maybe you deeply enjoy Italian opera. Learning Italian would perfectly complement an interest you already have. Or maybe you simply like the way a language sounds? That’s a good enough reason, as well!
While a language like Mandarin might make more sense business-wise, in fact all languages are great for business. Once you know another language, you can schmooze and work your way into any field. You’ll make valuable contacts regardless of the language.
How to learn another language:
With the tool of the Internet, learning another language is easier than it ever was before. You don’t need money, or even a teacher, to do so. Online you can find everything from free courses to free audio books, movies, practice sheets and dictionaries to help you in your quest.
When you have a bit of money to dedicate to your pursuit, Amazon.com has a great selection of books to help you get started. Peruse reviews to see which books are best.
How-to-learn-any-language.com is a great resource to begin your journey. There you’ll find guides and tips on learning any language you can think of. You’ll soon realize that when it comes to learning languages, you are your own best teacher. You can find a language learning method that suits your style, time, and needs.