I’m late to the learning a new language game.
You see, I grew up in eastern North Carolina. And regardless of growing up and working surrounded by Spanish speaking Mexicans, I never learned more than a few words of Spanish.
Today, I look back on that missed opportunity with sadness, realizing the mistake I made. I could be fluent in Spanish now and yet; I’ve just beginning to learn it. And while I did take two years of high school French, I’ve lost most of it due to non-use.
Learning another language isn’t encouraged in the South. Instead, the red, white and blue idealism is “this is America, you must learn English.” And if we visit outside the US, everyone else should speak English. It’s an idea I’ve ever agreed with, but I also didn’t go out of my way to buck the system either.
Currently, I’m acquiring three new languages; Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian using the Duolingo app and the immersion technique.
English is the Universal Language so Why Should You Bother Learning a New One?
Learning another language is important. Not only because it makes it easier to associate with other people and cultures but because it’s healthy for our personal growth.
As Americans, we’re a lot lazy when it comes to learning another language. After all, English is both the US’s unofficial language and the World’s universal language. So it’s no wonder we don’t go out of our way to learn new languages and remain monolingual.
In fact, most of us aren’t even required to study another language in school. According to The National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report, only one in five students studies a foreign language. And the majority of Americans who do know another language, are immigrants or people raised in homes with a language besides English.
It’s time for that to change.
Here are 11 reasons why you should bother learning at least one new language or more.
1. Learning a new language allows you to integrate better and understand other cultures.
Whether you leave the US or stay home, learning a new language opens doors for understanding people from other cultures. This understanding helps you grow and opens your minds to new ideas and beliefs. It also helps you integrate and understand other people better when traveling, even within the US. After all, the US is a country of immigrates, giving us the opportunity to experience different cultures and languages right here within our boundaries.
2. English is not spoken everywhere, especially when you get off the beaten path.
Regardless of English being the universal language, you will find plenty of places in the world where it isn’t spoken. While it is a little scary traveling to a location that doesn’t use English, go anyway, even if you haven’t learned any new languages yet. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve heard people say they can’t visit somewhere because they don’t speak the language. Who cares? You can learn it as you go.
3. Because it’s a sign of respect for other people and their cultures.
Don’t be rude. Learning even a few essential words and phrases of another language is viewed as a sign of respect for the people you are visiting. Not everyone wants English forced down their throats. And while they don’t expect you to know and understand their full language, the fact that you try goes a long way to showing respect for others.
4. Learning new things, including languages, is healthy and allows you to function better in life.
Learning is always important for growth but beyond that, learning more than one language is very healthy for our brains. Several recent studies have shown that multi-language speakers recover faster from strokes and reduce the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. I don’t know about you, but an easy way for helping protect my brain sounds like an excellent idea.
5. It opens doors to new friendships.
Communication is the key to all relationships. Learning a new language increases your chances of making new friends because it gives you the opportunity to talk to people you might not have been able to before.
6. It’s both fun and frustrating but rewarding in the end.
Occasionally your tongue just refuses to make a particular sound when learning a new language which is both frustrating and funny. And the satisfaction you gain when conquering that sound is both rewarding and uplifting.
7. You will learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes.
Learning to laugh at yourself and your mistakes is one of the most valuable lessons you can learn in life. And there’s no more natural way to learn to laugh at yourself then when learning a new language because you are going to screw up and say things wrong. There’s no need to be embarrassed, after all, you’re trying which is better than not trying. Not to mention, laughing at yourself makes you more open for others to connect with you.
8. Learning a new language makes it easier to travel.
Travel becomes so much easier when you know the language of the region. Easier communication, navigation, and understanding of how other cultures work happen faster when you know the language.
9. Speaking more than one language means you multitask better.
Because your brain is accustomed to switching between languages, it also changes between tasks better than someone who only knows one language. Which means learning another language also means learning to multitask better.
10. It opens the doors to more career opportunities.
People who know more than one language have more job opportunities than those who don’t. International corporations are always looking for multilingual people as are communities, governments, and companies right here in the US or around the world.
11. Because it’s not as hard to do!
You used to have to go to in-person classes to learn a new language, but today, your learning options are endless. Apps, computer programs, live video connections, listen and learn, plus in-person classes are some of the possibilities for learning a new language. Only your imagination limits you from doing and learning a new language.
And that is the 11 reasons you should learn another language. I highly recommend that you get started now.
Stop making excuses. You’re never too old to learn. Lessons on the Duolingo app only take five minutes to complete so you can make the time and money is no longer an issue with so many free options available.
Pick one and get started learning today!
- 1 English is the Universal Language so Why Should You Bother Learning a New One?
- 2 Here are 11 reasons why you should bother learning at least one new language or more.
- 2.1 1. Learning a new language allows you to integrate better and understand other cultures.
- 2.2 2. English is not spoken everywhere, especially when you get off the beaten path.
- 2.3 3. Because it’s a sign of respect for other people and their cultures.
- 2.4 4. Learning new things, including languages, is healthy and allows you to function better in life.
- 2.5 5. It opens doors to new friendships.
- 2.6 6. It’s both fun and frustrating but rewarding in the end.
- 2.7 7. You will learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes.
- 2.8 8. Learning a new language makes it easier to travel.
- 2.9 9. Speaking more than one language means you multitask better.
- 2.10 10. It opens the doors to more career opportunities.
- 2.11 11. Because it’s not as hard to do!
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