Wondering “why learn foreign languages?” Here’s with 10 Benefits of learning foreign languages that your just cannot ignore
Learning a foreign language is synonymous with exploring a foreign culture, it is opening doors to the study of the origins and roots of a foreign civilization. Learning a language can enrich you as a human being, since it also brings along knowledge of new traditions and customs and hence, a fresh perspective to life itself. Some reasons are practical, some aspirational, some intellectual and others sentimental, but whatever your reasons – having a clear idea of why you’re learning a language can help to motivate you in your studies.
When you move to a different country or region, learning the local language will help you to communicate and integrate with the local community. Even if many of the locals speak your language, for example if your L1 is English and you move to the Netherlands, it’s still worth your while learning the local language. Doing so will demonstrate your interest in and commitment to the new country.
2. Career or Business Benefits
If your work involves regular contact with speakers of foreign languages, being able to talk to them in their own languages will help you to communicate with them. It may also help you to make sales and to negotiate and secure contracts. Knowledge of foreign languages may also increase your chances of finding a new job, getting a promotion or a Transfer overseas, or of going on foreign business trips. Many English – speaking business people don’t bother to learn other languages because they believe that most of the people they do business with in foreign countries can speak English, and if they don’t speak English, interpreters can be used. The lack of foreign language knowledge puts the English speakers at a disadvantage. In meetings for example, the people on the other side can discuss things amongst themselves in their own language without the English speakers understanding, and using interpreters slows everything down. In any socializing after the meetings, the locals will probably feel more comfortable using their own language rather than English.
3. Study or research
You may find that information about subjects you’re interested in is published mainly in a foreign language. Thus learning foreign languages will give you access to the material and enable you to communicate with fellow students and researchers in the field.
Many English speakers seem to believe that wherever you go on holiday you can get by speaking English, so there’s no point in learning any other languages. If people don’t understand you all you have to do is speak slowly and turn up the volume. You can more or less get away with this, as long as you stick to popular tourist resorts and hotels where you can usually find someone who speaks English. However, if you want to venture beyond such places, to get to know the locals, to read signs, menus, etc, knowing the local language is necessary. A basic ability in a foreign language will help you to ‘get by’, i.e. to order food and drink, find your way around, buy tickets, etc. If you have a more advanced knowledge of the language, you can have real conversations with the people you meet, which can be very interesting and will add a new dimension to your holiday.
5. Studying abroad
If you plan to study at a foreign university, college or school, you”ll need an good knowledge of the local language, unless the course you want to study is taught through the medium of your L1. Your institution will probably provide preparatory courses to improve your language skills and continuing support throughout your main course.
6. Secret communication
If you and some of your relatives, friends or colleagues speak a language that few people understand, you can talk freely in public without fear of anyone eavesdropping, and/or you can keep any written material secret. Speakers of such Native American languages as Navajo, Choctaw and Cheyenne served as radio operators, know as Code Talkers, to keep communications secret during both World Wars. Welsh speakers played a similar role during the Bosnian War.
Maybe you’re interested in the literature, poetry, films, TV programs, music or some other aspect of the culture of people who speak a particular language and want to learn their language in order to gain a better understanding of their culture. Most people in the world are multilingual, and everybody could be; no one is rigorously excluded from another language community except through lack of time and effort. Different languages protect and nourish the growth of different cultures, where different pathways of human knowledge can be discovered. Perhaps you enjoy the food and/or drink of a particular country or region and make regular trips there, or the recipe books you want to use are only available in a foreign language
Missionaries and other religious types learn languages in order to spread their message. In fact, missionaries have played a major role in documenting and devising writing systems for many languages. Others learn the language(s) in which the scriptures/holy books of their religion were originally written to gain a better understanding of them. For example, Christians might learn Hebrew, Aramaic and Biblical Greek; Muslims might learn Classical Arabic, and Buddhists might learn Sanskrit.
9. Linguistic interest
Maybe you’re interested in linguistic aspects of a particular language and decide to learn it in order to understand them better.
10. To help understand what other people think
Language influences culture, so learning a language helps you to understand how other people think, and it also helps you to get a general understanding of our world and the many people and cultures that inhabit it.
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