Verbal diversity

Why one should learn a foreign language

By Lauren Lukens, Editor-In-Chief

Oftentimes in American culture, one will hear another say, “I speak English, so I don’t have to learn a foreign language.”

While it may seem like most of the world population speaks English, according to National Geographic News, the percentage of the global population that grew up speaking English as its first language is declining. In addition, an increasing number of people now speak more than one language.

As people age, learning a new language might not be all that easy, but the benefits outweigh the difficulties.

Learning a new language gives one a sense of culture and knowledge, as well as permits one to travel more and increase global understanding. Because learning another language gives the learner the ability to step inside the mind and context of another culture, a person competent in foreign languages can bridge the gap between cultures, contribute to international diplomacy, successfully engage in international trade and promote national security and world peace.

Not only will one be more open to a new culture, they will also be able to meet thousands of different people thanks to their extra language. While traveling, knowing a native’s first language, even if it is only a few words, makes a conversation more personable. In result, the native is much more likely to enjoy and respect the traveler’s company because the traveler does not come off as the typical tourist that cannot communicate.

Aside from being able to travel to different countries comfortably, one can also meet foreigners through social media and make casual conversation with people in a different language. This makes one more employable because government agencies, travel industries, engineering companies, communications, the field of education, international law, economics, public policy, publishing, advertising, entertainment, scientific research and a broad array of service sectors all have needs for people with fluency in foreign languages.

Before entering the work force, knowing a foreign language immediately puts one above others when applying for college or graduate school, which may increase the odds of obtaining a job after graduation.

Also, while learning a different language is fun, one develops their mind while doing it. Learning a language requires putting nouns and verbs together in different tenses, which should enhance one’s memorization and simple mental exercises. It is known that people who have learned foreign languages show greater cognitive development in areas such as mental flexibility, creativity, and higher order thinking skills, such as problem solving, conceptualizing and reasoning.

Whether just entering college, returning to school after taking time off or being a parent of a young one, keep in mind that learning a language is increasingly important in the world, and it is never too early or too late to learn.