10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Another Language Now
Learning another language sounds like fun! Or does it? If you need a little motivation to get started on your language learning journey, the list below can help you get started. Keep in mind that you do not need to be fluent in the foreign language to receive some of the benefits below.
So, why should you learn another language?
1) Traveling is easier. If you decide to travel to a non-English speaking country, you will find it much easier to speak with locals. Why would you need to talk to the locals? For one thing, you may get lost and need directions. Or, perhaps you have no idea what the correct procedure is to call for a taxi. Locals are familiar with local practices and where things are. Also, you may find yourself in a local market. By speaking the local language, you may be able to bargain for incredible items and get quite a deal. Speaking English at markets in other countries can mean that you will need to pay a tourist price (a price substantially higher than what locals would pay). Locals usually also appreciate visitors who have taken the time to learn a few words in their language. It’s okay to make mistakes—that’s part of the fun! Follow me on my own travels at my blog: Say "Yes" to Travel.
2) Stay in contact with friends abroad. On your travels, you will most likely meet many new people— you may even make some new friends. Let’s say your friend lives in Germany. Whenever you meet up with your friend—either in Germany or back at home—you could practice your German, while he or she practices English. If you are not able to travel so much, you could also practice your German by writing German e-mails to your friend.
3) Learn more about your family. Many people have family roots in different countries. By visiting these places, you have the opportunity to learn about where your ancestors lived and about their culture. And, maybe, you are lucky enough to have relatives living in a non-English speaking country so that you can practice speaking their language with them. And, you can share English or any other languages you know with them as well.
4) Can be a requirement for school/job. Some students are required to learn another language in school in order to graduate. Some university degree programs are now requiring credit in a second language in order to obtain a degree. Also, many jobs are now requiring employees to speak another language. Some companies are looking into expanding into more global markets, requiring staff to speak another language. Also, if a country has more than one official language, candidates will need to prove that they are proficient in two or more languages before they will be considered for a government position.
5) Impress your friends. Sprinkle some cool words and phrases into your sentences to give your speech more life. After all, some words are just more fun to say in another language. For example, instead of saying cockroach in English, why not try it in Spanish: “La Cucaracha.”
6) Online translators have their limits. For a simple phrase, online translators are fairly accurate. However, the more complex the sentence, the harder it is for an online translator program to communicate your intended message. Try this: Type a phrase in English, then let an online translator translate your text into a foreign language, and then back again into English. Does the message translated back into English still make sense? Does the text still convey the tone, vocabulary, impression of the original message?
Need some more motivation?
7) Gain a new perspective. Some foreign words cannot be translated into English. Learning another language is a great way to open your mind to a new perspective of living. While you are learning a language, pay attention to what words exist in the language and which do not. For example, what words are used to describe a home in the language? The vocabulary of a language provides clues as to what is considered important in the language. And, since languages are constantly changing, it is fun to see which words are added into the language.
8) Deepen your understanding of English. The more you learn about the grammatical structure of another language, you will become more aware of the way English sentences are put together. As a result, you will pick your English words with more care.
9) Expand your vocabulary. Some languages are similar to one another. For example, once you learn Spanish, French will be much easier to learn, because many of the words are similar. More and more words are also crossing language barriers. For instance, the word “cool” is now a part of German; the French phrase “déjà vu” is often used in English-speaking countries; etc.
10) It’s a challenge! Learning a language can be tough— especially when the language you are studying uses different letters or characters from the language you are used to, or even uses a drastically different grammatical structure. For example, learning Chinese or Russian can seem daunting to an English speaker. But, if you make your new language your goal; and, you stick with it, you’ll amaze yourself with how much you have learned. Try reading a newspaper or watching a newscast in the foreign language, you’ll be proud of yourself when you recognize words and phrases you have studied.
Of course, studying a new language can be hard-- few people would disagree. However, learning another language is a great way to learn more about yourself and the world. Prepare yourself mentally for the task ahead and dive right in. Who knows what opportunities await you with your new skills!
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