“Language is power, life and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and liberation.” -Angela Carter
A wise adage about language uttered by Ludwig Wittgenstein had once said that the limits of my language are the limits of my world. To further illustrate the importance of learning as many languages as we can, a French proverb sagely echoes this sentiment by saying that a man who knows two languages is worth two men. Apart from never needing any professional translation done in a core language you have learned (aside from your mother tongue), there are many other merits to learning a second language: Seamless social interactions with locals, travelling to foreign countries without getting lost, fully immersing yourself in a different culture and hey, even impressing a date. Indeed, being multilingual can only be a good thing (and at the very least, no one can speak ill of you in their mother tongue) and those are just a handful of reasons. Here are more reasons why being bilingual or multilingual can only work to your advantage:
1.) An edge in the job market
This one should be fairly obvious, but speaking one or more languages apart from English would give you some sort of edge over other job applicants. In fact, writing down that you are fluent in any other language such as Spanish, German, French, Chinese or Japanese in your resume would be an incredibly bonus. More and more employers are considering hiring bilingual or multilingual employees as they can potentially help with foreign transactions wherein a medium of communication might be advantageous. So, while you are still young and able consider taking up another language as a field of study as this would not only raise your employability in the near future, it would also give you a sense of adventure when you are learning a new language and culture.
2.) You earn more money
One of the most profitable jobs in the world is being a professional service translator. As such, these individuals are incredibly in demand in the job market which is why potential employers tend to offer competitive and sizable salaries to make sure a candidate signs with them. Apart from this, bilingual and multilingual individuals stand the chance of earning a fatter retirement fee as there are jobs that pay bilingualism five to twenty percent more per hour than regular employees which can add up over time.
3.) A better understanding of your mother tongue
Our mother tongue is something we use so effortlessly and comes to us so naturally that we often think of it as a negligible aspect of our lives. We do not give it so much as a passing thought until we learn a different language. Comparing your mother tongue to a new language learned gives you a fresh and better perspective about language itself. How there are ways of expressing yourself in a different language where you cannot do so in your native tongue, ways of structuring a sentence that is quite different from yours, expressing a tense and the like. Over time, your comparisons between your mother tongue and the new language will enable you to have a better understanding as to how your first language is organized and organized. In a sense, it might even give you a better appreciation for your mother tongue.
4.) You have more enjoyable and fulfilling experiences
Learning a new and different language allows you to have more fulfilling and enjoyable travel experiences as it allows you to mingle with locals without any communication barriers. In a way, it helps you immerse yourself in their culture better as it allows for more personal interactions. Learning a local’s language and speaking it to them makes them a lot keener to interacting to you. They see you as someone more than a tourist but someone they can possibly befriend. Who knows? On your next trip, you might potentially be talking to someone you can consider your lifelong friend.
5.) A global perspective
Learning a new language and mastering it comes with the understanding of another culture. As a result, you would learn how other people do things differently than you do–an awareness of countries and groups of people doing things differently. Learning a new language does not only entail learning a new vocabulary, but rather the application of learning to put that language in the context of a different culture. In a metaphorical sense, what breathes life into those words.