If English is becoming a lingua franca with a billion speakers, why bother learning a foreign language? Isn’t it enough to speak English? Oh ye of the limited view.
This is why everyone should be learning a foreign language RIGHT NOW:
It makes you smarter. Learning a language involves mental flexibility, problem solving, conceptual thinking, reasoning and creativity. Studies show children studying a second language score higher in reading, language arts and math tests.
It keeps your mind strong. A study of proficient, elderly bilingual speakers found they were more resistant to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The greater the proficiency, the later the onset.
It makes you a mental ninja. Learning unfamiliar cultures and ideas equip you to handle new situations and adapt to a fast-changing world.
It’s friendly. In today’s increasingly globalized world, how can it not be practical to speak another language?
It helps you understand your own language. If you want to manipulate your own language with full command of its subtleties you need to understand its specific differences. How better than to learn the intelligent nuances of your own language than by learning another? Writers and speakers of English, this means you.
It opens minds and creates respect. Language grows from culture. If you know the language you intimately understand the culture. This richness lets you see the world from another’s point of view, fostering respect for other ethnic groups, customs and lifestyles.
It’s an ego boost. What fun is it to travel to Paris if you don’t speak French? Not to mention how proud you will be ordering your cafe au lait en Francais instead of broken English or frantic hand signals.
It makes you valuable. Not everyone speaks another language so why not stand out from the crowd? Here’s a short list of employers looking for people with foreign language skills: the government,(IRS, CIA, FBI, Department of State, DEA, Armed Services), business leaders, teachers, marketing/public relations firms, social services, healthcare facilities…
It’s music. Each language has its own alphabet and set of sounds. You hear the lilt and rhythm of a language before you understand its meaning. Don’t believe me? Rent an Italian film, close your eyes and listen. Tell me you don’t hear music.