Reasons to learn a new language

There are many reasons to learn a new language, especially in today’s global society.

Being mono-lingual, just speaking one language, is the equivalent to having an old fashioned landline telephone.

Being bi-lingual upgrades you to a cell phone, which lets you receive and make calls, and even send text messages from wherever you are – good enough for most people, wouldn’t you agree?

But, by becoming tri-lingual or even a polyglot, you have a smartphone with all of the apps and unlimited bandwidth. You are able to communicate wherever you go.

 

Benefits of learning a new language:

  1. It opens up a World of Job Opportunities
  2. Gives your brain a boost and enhances your cognitive and analytical abilities
  3. It helps you to establish deeper connections and cross-cultural friendships
  4. Understand an ‘Outsider’s Perspective’ about your own culture
  5. You can become more interesting and meet more interesting people
  6. You are able to stay smart in tourist areas and blend in
  7. Learning a new language helps you to think logically
  8. You can enjoy books in their original language
  9. No more getting ripped off when travelling overseas

 

The earlier the better

The education of children should always include, at the very least the rudimentary basics of at least one foreign language. This is only in our humble opinion so please allow us to provide a few reasons before you make judgement.

The problem with learning new languages is that you need to put in so much work at the beginning and the pay back is limited. Nearly all teaching systems start the same way:

Learn the alphabet, the number 1 to 100, say hello, please, thank you. Etc.

Very few systems teach you how to have a conversation and completely ignore the boring – but important – verbs endings. As young children we learn through listening, repeating and touching. The minute a new language is introduced you have to open a book and learn stuff the old fashioned way.

Learning a new language should be fun – at least initially – you need to capture the attention of the students. Give them something to giggle about. Make it interesting and they will remember. If they remember then they are more likely to try harder as their first experiences were fun.

 

The benefits are huge for your children.

 

  • It will open up their minds to speak, sing, listen and read in a foreign language.
  • They become more employable in the future
  • It allows them to embrace other cultures
  • Their brains will generate more neural connections

 

Learning a second language to a conversational level is as, if not more, important as learning the grammar. You can voice your opinion and understand what is being said when walking down a the street, either at home or overseas, without thinking you are about to be robbed or shot. The likelihood is, that these people are probably discussing their kids, their work or the weather. The same way you do when chatting with friends.

 

Starting Early

It has been long been acknowledged that children’s brains can be hardwired to recognise tones (tonalities) and guttural sounds which are particular to a language.

We are hoping to provide a series of nursery rhymes and simple national songs which can be played to new born children and toddlers. Although children may not see an immediate benefit, they should find learning new languages in the future far easier.

There is never going to be anything remotely, detrimental about being able to speak a second or third language. If you know it but don’t use it, then that is your choice.

It should be mandatory that kids are spoken to in foreign languages from their first days at kindergarten. This could be 15-30 minutes a day reading them a story. Children become attuned to new sounds and words far quicker than adults. so it make absolute sense to. at the very least, give them the opportunity. They should ideally be conversationally proficient at the most basic level in at least one language other than English by the time they are 10.

The grammar can come later if they desire to learn it. That said the majority of these new speakers will naturally learn the basic elements of grammar without sitting through hours of boring repetition in a classroom.

 

 

Reasons to learn a new language

 

 

Do not let fear of the unknown get in the way!

One item which is virtually always overlooked is fear. The fear of not understanding what it being said and how that can affect your actions. Imagine being in an elevator or on a train with a group of people talking a foreign language. You look at how they are dressed, how they behave and conclude that they are up to no good. Your viewpoint is skewed because you cannot understand them. The likelihood, however is that they are just talking about everyday things like the weather, their kids or their job.

Learning one new language makes learning another one easier, especially if they are the same type of language. Take Spanish which is a romance language. With Spanish under your belt, you can probably be able to understand written Portuguese and Italian. If you speak Dutch, then you will probably pick up German quite quickly. Likewise Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are all closely linked. Many Arabic and Asian languages are also similar for the most part.

 

 

Reasons to learn a new language

 

Monolingualism is a dying trait.

 

Learning a foreign language is a win-win for everyone. In places like the U.S.A or the UK, there are very few things that have bi-partisan support and it is time that one more was added.

 

There is a necessity for people (children and adults) to learn at least one foreign language and be able to speak it at a conversational level.

 

As the world continues to get more accessible, the ability and desire to travel has increased immeasurably. In recent years Brazilians have discovered Florida, the Chinese have discovered everywhere and even Americans are becoming a nation of passport holders.

At the turn of the century only about 10% of Americans had a passport. Fast forward to now and that number is close to 50%. Owning a passport, however, does not mean that it is used on a regular basis. In 2016 only about 8% of Americans travelled overseas with almost 40% of them visiting Mexico.

Uncertainty about destination safety and lack of language skills are the two primary reasons that Americans are still reluctant to travel overseas.

 

USA Outbound Travellers 2023

  • Mexico,- (33.5 million), i
  • Canada – (9.1 million), increased 334% from 2021, but had only achieved 61% of its 2019 level.
  • United Kingdom – (3.7 million)
  • France – (3.1 million),
  • Dominican Republic – (2.7 million)
  • Italy – (2.6 million)
  • Germany/Spain – (both 2.0 million).

You can get all of the figures here … https://www.trade.gov/feature-article/2022-annual-and-2023-year-date-outbound-results

 

Global Traveller numbers in 2023

  • 100 million were to France…
  • 85.17 million were to Spain
  • 66.48 million were to USA

You can get all of the figures here ….   https://travel.trade.gov/tinews/archive/tinews2019/20190402.asp

 

So why does this matter?

“Most places around the world speak English.”

 

Actually, they don’t! Approximately 75% of the world’s population does not speak English.

 

Global business however, does use English as the primary language in many parts of the world, but …. and it’s a big but … more places don’t. This is especially true where trade is done between local and bordering countries. The reasons to learn a new language are endless.

 

 

Reasons to learn a new language

 

Let’s look at the Americas, south of California.

Every country in Latin and South America has Spanish as their primary language with the exception of Brazil. If you or your employees don’t speak Spanish, then your business might not fulfil its potential.

Globalising your business without Spanish speakers has potentially lost you close to 10% of the worlds population. 460 million of them! Not having Chinese speakers can lose you a further 20% of the world, take away Hindi and Arabic and you lose another 6% each. That is heading towards half of the ENTIRE population of the planet.

Most of the bilingual speakers in the U.S are predominantly descendants of immigrant families. Approximately 11.6 million Spanish speakers have Spanish as a second language and 41 million have Spanish as their first language. That is 13% of the U.S population.

 

For those of you who have travelled overseas and needed assistance.

You probably spoke a little louder than you should have done, on the premise that the louder you were the more the locals would understand you. It doesn’t tend to work that way. it tends to irritate people. Perhaps you got lucky and you found a friendly face who spoke a few words of English and a huge sigh of relief descended upon you. The realisation that someone could help you out of whatever situation you were in.

Now just imagine IF the shoe were on the other foot. You are in your hometown and a visitor is struggling to be understood. They are getting hot and bothered, anxious and frustrated. What if you could step in and translate for them? It doesn’t mean that you are going to turn into best buddies, or they will end up living with you, marrying one of your kids and turning you into the grandparent of a mixed-race child.

It simply is a nice, courteous thing to do, if you are able to. Even if you cannot speak their language, but you know someone who does, you can always make a phone call. Remember when you were the foreigner travelling overseas? Be nice!

 

 

Reasons to learn a new language

 

 

Speaking another language

 

If you only speak one language then you are part of a dying breed. The simple fact is that around the world more people are becoming bi-lingual than ever before. Resting on your laurels and telling everyone that English is the world’s language is a prehistoric mindset.

If you and your kids and grand-kids do not learn second and third languages, they could be destined for a life of low paid wages in mind-numbing jobs. Meanwhile the ‘immigrants kids” are flying high, earning the big money, living in big homes and driving swanky cars.

Why? Because they offer businesses so much more! They will either jump to the top of the recruitment list or simply offered a better salary. Perhaps both. As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for!”

The bottom line is that these immigrant families – and especially the second and third generations – offer employers a unique skill-set and increased accessibility to market, which the ‘traditional’ person who only speaks English, does not.

Do you consider these reasons to learn a new language yet?
  1. To embrace multi-culturalism in the future and become part of it, you and your family will need to learn another language.
  2. To protect against multi-culturalism, you and your family will need to learn another language.

Any which way you want to look at it, learning a second language is a bi-partisan issue which should be agreed upon.

 

Reasons to learn a new language – Which language to learn?

The big question for many will be which language should you learn. A quick demographic search can help if you have a local business or intend to work locally. If you are looking to spread your wings a little further, then jumping into a language with a larger reach might be a better option.

The following are the approximate number of native language speakers.

  • Chinese + 1 billion
  • Spanish = 410 million
  • English = 360 million
  • Hindi =/- 300 million
  • Arabic = =/- 300 million
  • French = 280 million
  • Portuguese 215 million
  • Bengali = 200 million
  • Russian = 155 million
  • Japanese = 125 million
  • Punjabi = 100 million
  • German = 100 million
  • Javanese = 82 million

 

You may make your choice based upon where you live for commercial and cultural reasons. Or simply because you wish to have a conversation with neighbours or maybe because you wish to travel. Wherever you are in the world or business you can always find reasons to learn a new language if you want to.

 

 

Reasons to learn a new language

 

 

Learn from history – Reasons to learn a new language

 

Centuries ago when European explorers set out to conquer the world, most spoke their own language and possibly Latin. Over time they learnt French, Dutch and/ or Spanish depending on where they travelled. These were the most predominant explorers of the time. They had also been long term enemies and understanding the enemy was crucial.. Further afield they relied on captured enemies and people from neighbouring friendly countries to translate for them until they were able to learn the language.

Over 200 years ago explorers understood the benefits of being able to speak in the local language. Yet today’s explorers – businesses and entrepreneurs – often fail to grasp the significance of being able to speak directly with partners and competitors.

This is your chance to become an explorer or at least encourage your kids to be one in the future.

 

By trying to speak another language when overseas, it makes you much more approachable by the locals. In turn this will open up a whole new level of discovery for you. Even just knowing a few phrases will put you head and shoulders above other tourists in the eyes of the locals.

 

 

Reasons to learn a new language

Reasons to learn a new language – a great example

One example of this was when our family landed at Orlando airport. We went to collect our car rental and after getting the keys we couldn’t find the vehicle. I overheard two of the car cleaners chatting away in Spanish and asked in Spanish, where the car would be. They looked at us dumbfounded. What was a white, English tourist doing speaking Spanish? The change in attitude was immediate.

They helped to locate the car – which was in the wrong bay. They assisted with our luggage and gave us instructions on how to miss the worst of the traffic. Finally, as a parting gift they advised us on filling the tank well before returning the car, so we didn’t get stung with unnecessarily high gas prices near the airport.

These were Americans in America, whose first language was most probably Spanish and not English, even though they were perfectly adept at speaking English. We made the effort and were instantly awarded.

 

 

Reasons to learn a new language

 

 

You now understand some of the reasons to learn a new language

– now it is time to take the first step and get your kids to start learning.

Reasons to learn a new language with Gil the Travelling GeckoOur range of children’s books offer kids the opportunity to begin learning a few words and phrases in various languages. By using false cognates, we are able to introduce humour to the story lines which will hopefully be memorable to your kids.

Our ‘hero / protagonist’ Gil the Travelling Gecko, lives in an airport and travels to numerous countries where he discovers new languages, foods, cultures and meets new friends.

For more information visit www.gilsworld.com 

 

Thank you for reading and congratulations in hopefully taking the first step!

 

Reasons to learn a new language