Different cultures coexist in the same places. So naturally, speaking multiple languages is relevant. You might have noticed that multilingual people are common these days. What’s strange is that there still are many who know only one or two languages. And they have no idea what they’re missing! That’s why this post is dedicated to you, dear monolingual. Once you know a few benefits of speaking multiple languages, you might want to take up learning a new language on your own.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
The more languages we know, the more people we can communicate with. At the same time, we can easily navigate in more places around the world. Multilingual people, therefore, are more flexible and mobile than their monolingual counterparts. In this respect, the fewer languages we know, the more handicapped we are. We have fewer opportunities regarding education, career, contacts and, ultimately, access to information. Problems in foreign surroundings follow us, even if people out there are friendly towards us. We still have to understand them to be able to accept their welcome.
A PAIR OF GLASSES
If we know a language, we see its culture as if we were a part of it ourselves. If a language is foreign, its culture seems barbarian too. It’s like the difference between looking towards the ground from a plane on a sunny, cloudless day and when it’s overcast. If you know the language, you see the world through it, if you don’t, you are blind towards it. Of course, foreign people can tell something about themselves in English, but only by knowing their own language can we truly understand them.
Languages are like pairs of glasses. We see everything through them. So different languages offer different perspectives on the world, on ourselves and other people. Why would we need more than one pair of glasses, you might ask? Wouldn’t we get confused by all the angles different pairs of glasses reveal? On the contrary, we get to know the broader context in which we can evaluate ourselves on a much larger scale. So the more languages we are capable of speaking, the better we can understand humanity as a whole and its differences. Every language is a unique structure of thinking. For every language acquired we gain a separate identity of our own.
If we speak multiple languages we can compare them. Different languages use different structures of words, sentences, grammar and semantics. By knowing such differences we become aware of the structure of our own language. We can better understand what it is and how it works. Ultimately, we become better at using all the languages including our own. We can express ourselves more easily, we can think more constructively and even increase our cognitive abilities. On top of that, we can see how diverse the communication can be. And with this, we might understand how diverse the cultures are. That’s where tolerance towards different people comes from. We become less foreign to each other.
UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD
Language usage has a great impact towards the way we think because it’s mainly through the language that we do it. We can’t think about something without words in our mind, can we? They still come forth no matter how hard we try to ignore them. Therefore, multiple languages provide multiple modes of thinking. And multiple ways of thinking boost our perception of abstract ideas as well as material objects around us. That’s because we gain multiple filters through which we can interpret whatever we’re thinking or observing. For example, if we are travelling in New Zealand and come across a tree of Manoao (silver pine), we can identify it if we know English, Latin or Maori language. However, there are only a few other languages which have their own name for the tree. Manoao is nothing else but another foreign tree to them.
SPEAKING MULTIPLE LANGUAGES IS HEALTHY
Science has led to a conclusion that language learning increases grey matter in the brain. Not only that, it does it faster than any other cognitive activity. In case you were wondering, grey matter is responsible for pretty much everything. For example, grey matter is related to memory. That’s why language learning is beneficial for long-term memory. We use language a lot when we memorise the words and use them in the future. On the same note, speaking multiple languages repels cognitive diseases related to old age. Yep, we’re talking Alzheimer’s, dementia and other dreaded illnesses.
The benefits of multilingualism are undeniable. Learning a new language is neither quick nor easy, but our time and effort pay off in the long run. Along with other languages, we get more possibilities in our life. We gain a better understanding of the world, human brain and humanity as a whole. We stay healthy longer. So if you were considering whether you have enough time or motivation to study a foreign language, hesitate no more. We can help with motivation and there’s no need to study 5 hours per day or spend years to learn a new language. Just give it a try! If you succeed, your life will reach a whole new level of quality.