Learning another language is becoming more common these days. It is not just to stand out and be cool. Mastering a second or third language, especially in today’s multicultural community, has become a necessity. To further understand why it is important, consider the following reasons:
The World is Now a Global Community
Nearly every country has a wide mix of people from different backgrounds. The internet has allowed people to communicate with each other, even when they are oceans apart. Learning another language will aid in communicating with those one might come across.
According to the 2016 census, the United States has a population of 323,127,513 people and only 76.9 percent of that total identify as pure Caucasian. 17.8 percent identify as Latino, 5.7 percent identify as Asian and 2.6 percent identify as having two or more racial backgrounds.
A country, where English is the primary language, host multitudes of folks who speak another language. Hispanics and Latinos primarily speak Spanish and Portuguese. Asians speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Filipino, Japanese, Hindi, and Arabic.
Even some who identify as Caucasian or white do not primarily speak English. White also refers to Europeans within the United States who also speak French, German or Italian. Communicating in English with someone from France might be strenuous for both parties. If both can fluently speak in French, then this barrier is eliminated.
Learning Another Language is the Gateway to Understanding Culture
Learning another language is important. It allows you to communicate with people around the world. Not only that, it’ll also help you understand different cultures.
When studying a new language, you’ll learn the etymology of specific words and language construction. You’ll also discover how it relates to the people that speak it.
Cultures, like that of the Japanese or Filipino, are very deeply rooted in their language. While saying “yes” and “no” in English is plain as day, the manner of saying it in a different language can reflect things like cultural understanding and respect.
“Hai” is Japanese for “yes” but saying it as “wakarimashita” suddenly means the speaker is saying it with respect and that he or she strongly agrees.
Nelson Mandela also emphasized this when he said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Being Bilingual Increases Intelligence
According to a 2004 study conducted by psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee, posted by the New York Times, bilingual people are likely to be more intelligent. This is because studying and mastering more than one language improves the executive function of the brain.
This portion of the brain is responsible for the attention process utilized in planning, problem-solving and handling demanding mental tasks. One of the key reasons why bilinguals develop this heightened intelligence is because their brains are required to constantly adapt to a changing environment.
A child may have to keep track of many details while speaking to their parents in different languages, constantly shifting as the necessities of their conversations changes.
Knowing Several Languages Improves Chances of Landing a Job
There is no secret formula to land a job but one element that may help is to learn another language. A nurse who only speaks in English will be reliable for most situations. However, the nurse will not be able to help a patient who only speaks in Mandarin or Hindi. A nurse who can speak both in English and Mandarin would then become a more valuable employee.
Bilingual priorities are especially common in airline positions. Airline companies hire flight stewardesses who can speak multiple languages faster than those who can only speak one language. This is due to the number of people they encounter on each flight.