Reasons to learn a new language

Posted by Audrey Dubois-Boutet on July 29, 2010

foreign languagesIt is logistically impossible to learn every language on the planet (there’s ~6,900 of them), but learning one or two more may help you in the long run. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that one’s native tongue affects the way he or she sees and interprets the world.

Because sentence structure and vocabulary of first languages shape attitudes toward the world, you’ll learn what people take offense to by acquiring a new language. And you will be able to converse with people without making enemies. It’s even been said that learning another language can improve your first language and writing skills!

Even if your new language skills are not developed enough for the business world, you’ll still find benefits to learning a new way to communicate. Onlinecollege.org compiled a list of 50 reasons to learn another language and here are our personal favorites:

8. Keep up with the rest of the world: If you want to stay abreast of the latest research or news in science, engineering, technology or business, you may have to read a Chinese newspaper or journal to get the info, not an English-language one.
14. Be a better advertiser: Whether you actually work in advertising or are just a freelancer, you can sell yourself and your services better if you have a solid understanding of your audience’s culture.
30. Keep your brain active and healthy: Slow down mental aging and keep cognitive decline at bay by challenging yourself with language learning.
47. Speak in code: You and your friend or partner can switch languages when you don’t want present company eavesdropping.

Be careful about #47 though! It was a lot easier to do a decade ago (judging from experience), but with more people entering the country daily, chances increase that someone will understand what you’re trying to keep secret. Solution: Learn a more obscure language, such as Sherpa or Samoan.

Tell us how your second, third or sixth language benefits you!

Topics: Language Learning