Why Learning Foreign Languages is a Good Idea and Top Tips to Boost Learning
English is currently a universal language that is applied in various formal procedures as well as in informal settings. However, English is not the only widely used language on the global stage since so many countries proudly flaunt their native tongue. Unsurprisingly, a plethora of these foreign languages are becoming a part of bilingualism that is sweeping the globe.
There must have been a point in time when you heard a foreign language and wished you could speak it too. If you’re thinking of expanding your horizons and learning the ways of other cultures instead, you’re on the right wavelength. Learning foreign languages is actually very beneficial in many aspects; here are some reasons why you should consider learning one.
Benefits of Learning Foreign Languages
1. Traveling abroad will be a breeze
If you’re traveling overseas, you’re sure to encounter some hurdles along the way; no trip is perfect, no matter how well you plan it. Now add the fact that you have a communication barrier with the locals. Putting this into perspective, it’s obvious how speaking the native language of the country you’re visiting will be a plus point.
For starters, you can easily communicate with people to ask for directions. Now, commuting around the city to get to tourist attractions won’t be so difficult after all. Even better, you could easily walk up to the locals and ask for insider tips. You’ll have a holiday experience like no other with all the hidden gems you discovered throughout your vacation. Here’s a little hint; speaking the local lingo might even get you cheaper options.
2. Endless job opportunities
It’s common knowledge that regardless of the professional industry you plan to venture into, having the edge of speaking one or two additional languages will set you apart from other job applicants. Moreover, multilingualism is becoming especially important in this day and age as more and more companies expand their business to international regions. Whether dealing with international clients or being open to the idea of working abroad, a second language will open doors in your career. According to Indeed, Mandarin is currently your best bet seeing that China’s economic growth is booming.
3. Stimulates brain activity
Research has shown that bilinguals generally have better cognitive qualities than monolinguals. The former demographic is said to consist of fast learners; not just in terms of languages but of anything under the sun. This may be due to the constant practice of switching between languages during conversation and everyday cognition. Consequently, this also means they are better at multitasking.
Apart from that, learning a second language has proven to increase problem-solving abilities, generate better creativity, and enhance memory retention. Fun fact, it promotes brain growth too. Size-wise, multilingual people actually have bigger brains.
4. Increases open-mindedness
We may have the tendency to be a tad bit ignorant when we become way too comfortable in our own little bubble. However, learning a second language can help to change this. In addition, language can act as a window to cultures that are foreign to us. For instance, making friends through various online communication platforms will be a walk in the park when you’re equipped with second language skills and a trusty HP laptop for Zoom calls.
On top of that, certain words or phrases can only have a unique meaning in their respective native tongue. So, whether it is emotions expressed exclusively in that particular culture or festivals that you’ve never heard of, you will get some exposure and insight into the foreign country’s history and cultural practices. In addition, you will be able to appreciate the art forms on a whole other level.
Top Tips to Make Learning a Language Easier
All the benefits of being bilingual sound enticing, don’t they? Now that we’ve caught your attention, it’s time to further spur you on to add an extra language to your arsenal. That being said, we have compiled some tips to help you kickstart your linguistic journey and enhance your fluency.
1. Use an online language tutoring platform
There are so many benefits that come with online learning and picking up a foreign language is no exception. If you feel like Google translate doesn’t really do the trick for you, it’s time to try the Toucan browser extension. Apart from that, there are plenty of resources online that can guide you through your exploration of a foreign language. Depending on what category you fall into, an auditory learner or a visual learner, you can utilize both media forms.
On a similar note, you’ll be glad to know that language tutoring apps like Duolingo and Italki are good stepping stones and maintenance practices. These apps offer a long list of languages you can learn. The best part is that it only takes a minute or two to download, and you’ll be good to go. Plus, having interactive language-based activities on your Android phone makes it so convenient to train your skills on the go.
2. Watch a foreign movie
Books, blogs, and tutoring apps aren’t the only methods to learn a second language. You can go the fun route and watch a foreign film instead. Movie night is a great way to get your kids involved as well. A quick tip is to plug in your Bluetooth speakers for crisp audio to ensure you hear the pronunciation correctly.
Having contextual examples of words and phrases might facilitate information association and thus memory retention of the language. Having subtitles on as a translation device will help you achieve a smooth transition into understanding the spoken language. Additionally, if you’re learning how to read and write in a foreign language, subtitles can also serve as a solid practice ground.
3. Converse with friends
Learning the theory aspect of a foreign language is one thing but having verbal practice takes your fluency to a whole new level. Moreover, consistent verbal interaction with people who speak the native tongue will pave the way for a much more fluent conversation in no time at all. This is because when you often speak in the language, real-life encounters are brought up, leading to applying the language in useful everyday situations.
If you find that you take a while to absorb another language, that’s alright. With these tips, you’ll be making consistent progress. Remember that language is also best learned when paced well. Bombarding your brain with new information all at once may not be the best course of action. Instead, take in chunks of information at a time, don’t be afraid to practice what you learned, and most importantly, be kind to yourself when you don’t get it right. Finally, have fun with your fruitful quest to expand your linguistic abilities.