Why Learn a New Language?
There are a lot of reasons why you should learn a new language; in fact I think the right question is why not? The thing is, everyone has a personal reason for wanting to learn a language. I am just going to highlight some of the best reasons I have come across.
1. It helps to open up a world of opportunities
If you learn a new language, it helps to open you up to a ton of career opportunities. Apart from freelancing, there are a lot of ways in which speaking two or more languages can help increase your employability. The world is ever changing, more and more companies are doing business with in and with other countries around the world, they would need to hire at least one person who can speak a foreign language. Fun fact, this affords you to travel to other countries and you get to say things like “I’m travelling on business” all the time. Even when applying in local companies, the ability to speak a second language would definitely set you apart from other applicants.
2. Helps to give your brain a boost
Studies have shown that learning a new language can help increase your cognitive ability no matter how old you are ( Viorica Marian, Anthony Shook). Some of the known positive effects from speaking more than one language include; improvement in memory, a longer attention span, and a reduced risk of decline in age related cognitive ability.
3. Establishment of deep connections and cross cultural friendships
There’s a big chance that once in your life, you have encountered someone from another culture that made you regret not being able to speak the person’s language because you couldn’t hold what could have been a potentially amazing conversation with them. Or you go to your local market in your own city or another city and you hear employees discussing in their native language, then you order in English and feel a pang of guilt for disturbing their conversation. Then another customer comes in, and orders in the local language and the employee responds cheerfully and they go on to start talking about… something and the only thing you can do is just ‘feel’ the excitement in the air. Then the employee stops talking for a minute and hands you your order with a simple Thank you and you can’t help but feel disconnected. Maybe you can’t learn all the languages in the world to feel connected and have an intimate knowledge of every culture that exists. But if there’s even one culture that you would like to understand better or even one person in your life you would like to know and understand better, then you can consider learning to speak their language.
4. Find out an outsider’s view about your own culture
You can’t fully understand your culture and see the bigger picture without getting an outsider’s view. In the end language and culture are linked. When you find someone that has learned about your language, you get their views on it and may even start to understand some truths that you have taken for granted in your own culture.
5. Become more interesting and meet interesting people
If you make an effort to learn a language apart from your first language rather than expecting the world to accommodate you for being monolingual, then you become a rare breed and you are automatically more interesting. People will be inclined to want to talk to you, get to know you, want to find out what motivated you and made you decide to learn a new language. You would have more lively, interesting and engaging conversations about loads of topics than you would have had otherwise.
6. Stay smart even as a tourist
There’s this ‘small’ issue of tourists being obvious targets or getting intimidated by touts and this can ruin your experience and give you a bad impression of a place whose indigenes are actually very nice and friendly. Touts usually go for the ‘English speaking’ tourists as they seem like easy marks. Everything changes when you can speak the local language. There may even be some places that locals would not be open to letting tourists visit and knowing how to speak their language can help you to blend in. You appear confident and potential scammers would think twice before attempting to scam you.
7. Become a better learner
Every time you learn a new language, the next one becomes easier for you. This is because with every language you study, you find ways to learn better. You can easily identify common mistakes people make when learning a new language. You would be able to identify your mistakes and eliminate them. You would learn language hacks and be fluent in no time.
There are other reasons why you should learn a new language but as I mentioned earlier it may be person specific. Stop making excuses and giving yourself reasons why you shouldn’t learn and just do it. You can start speaking that language you have always wanted to learn in no time!