Updated: Oct 29, 2021
If you know a language other than your native tongue, you may find yourself becoming a global citizen. Speaking another language can open up a whole world of opportunities - far more than just getting the right short-black instead of a cappuccino. Whether spoken or written, language is used to verbally communicate and share how we feel, what we think, and what we need - and knowing more than one language enhances our possibilities of being able to share this.
Knowing more than one language Feeds Your Brain! It helps your brain to form new networks that are then primed for further learning, making it easier for you to find the patterns associated with any learning.
The cognitive benefits of learning a language have been well documented. Your brain is pushed to become familiar with new vocabulary and grammar rules and scientists believe this improves your brain health and function, and may delay the onset of dementia.
Those who speak more than one language have been shown to be better at problem solving, have enhanced concentration, better listening skills, and benefit from improved memory. Research has shown that people who speak more than one language display greater creativity, they can multitask better, and they have heightened critical-thinking skills.
Being proficient in a second language, or more, improves communication skills, and not surprising speaking another language increases your ability to add a whole library of words to your vocab bank in your primary language.
If you want to have an edge over your professional peers, learning another language is among the top skills required in many high paying professional jobs.
The demand for bilingual professionals has increased significantly in the past 10 years. Professionals chase job opportunities around the world, and in particular in Asia, Europe and the UK (hey, do you speak English?!). Knowing another language can give a job candidate a significant competitive edge, and can advance your career. Being bilingual may also mean a bigger pay-packet, and perhaps bonuses.
The most direct connection to another culture is through language - being able to communicate effectively shows that we have an appreciation for the culture and traditions associated with that language.
Studies have shown that people who are bilingual and multilingual express more positive attitudes towards the people and culture associated with the language spoken. This promotes acceptance, tolerance and often empathy with the people of that culture.
One of the most exciting things about speaking another language is that it opens up the world to you!
If you want to navigate outside the tourist bubble and interact with the locals, then knowing the language of the places you visit will give you more opportunities than just backpacking your way around the world (although from experience that is an awesome way to see the world!). Being bilingual or multilingual can give you the opportunity to work or study abroad.
The internet rules the world - shudder - and you can immerse yourself in entertaining media online in the languages you speak. Watching a foreign YouTube video and understanding what they are saying can be a thrill!
If you speak and understand French, watching a French movie in their native tongue is quite different to watching it with English subtitles. The subtle nuances, inflections and intonations of speech are lost with subtitles. And speaking of my native tongue . . .
There are 29 countries in the world who speak French as their official language. A French nation, or Native French speaking person is referred to as a Francophone, both in French and in English. The French language has an interesting and long history as an international language of scientific standards, and of literature. And I have just thought that the history of the French language deserves more than two paragraphs in a blog post. Stay tuned for another post in the not too distant future!
Many people who learn another language immerse themselves in the culture of that language, enhancing their perception of the world and of others.
For me, this last point is possibly the most important. My native tongue is French, but I also speak German (the language of my father) and I speak English, which is the language of my husband and my children. Knowing languages other than my primary language has enabled me to deepen my relationships with others who do not speak French, and to heighten my understanding of them more intimately.
There is so much to say about learning another language, but rather than read about it, go out and find a language teacher and expand your world!
Check out the comprehensive and fun French Language Courses Destination France offers.