Why You Should Learn Multiple Languages

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Imagine that you could speak every single language on Earth.

Really imagine that for a moment!

I hope that no one would disagree that being able to speak all languages would be a pretty incredible talent to have… Barriers would dissolve and you could get to know every human being that you met across the globe!
True ease of travel could be accomplished. Assistance could be given faster to those who need it. Different cultures could be more deeply understood. Thousands of histories and stories could be shared.

  • You could get into a taxi in Thailand and have a better chance of not being ripped off.
  • You could listen to a local tell you why that particular statue is more sacred than the others next to it.
  • You could help that lost tourist find the landmark in your city that they have been looking for for hours.
  • You could build infinitely more friendships with diverse and interesting people from around the world.
  • You could travel into the midst of nowhere with the confidence of communication and understanding.
  • You could have an absolutely indestructible skill on your resume that employers would scramble to hire you for.

The world would instantly be a more open and accessible place full of possibilities and potential adventures – (Even more than before!)

What sparked this thought-stream, I hear you ask?  Actually, it has all come from a couple of social media videos that I have stumbled on that look at the importance of practising multiple languages.

Diply Technology shared this video about an iLi Handheld Translator …..

The user speaks English into the device and (in 0.2 seconds) it can translate the question or phrase into an audible play-back in Chinese, Spanish or Japanese! Amazing.

Just by seeing the reactions of the users in the video, you can tell it is a pretty special idea. Plus, after a quick online search, I found that there are actually newer models that have expanded its available languages – So perhaps the above scenario could potentially be possible one day?!

Some people might say that this device is simply a ‘lazy gimmick’ to use when you don’t want to put the hard work in and learn the language for yourself. However, I would have to disagree with that! 

After moving to France when I was 13 years old with little to no knowledge of the French language, I would have absolutely LOVED to have this device when I was struggling to make friends or to finish my homework. It allows you to think clearly about what you want to say in the new language and then be able to listen and learn the translation instantly. What’s not to love about that?! People already use audio language courses – This is just more automatic and on-the-go for the modern-day traveller.

It’s got my stamp of approval!

All of this has made me think about the importance of language skills in our lives as human beings…

There is no greater lesson about how diverse the world is than the one you learn when you become an expat!

Back in your native country, you stroll through your pre-expat life and take your built-in language skills for granted. You order your coffee effortlessly. Phoning customer service lines about any issues is a breeze. Making friends is a given. THEN! You find yourself completely out of your comfort zone. You are suddenly very very very foreign and struggle to even talk about the weather.

The process of learning a new language is suddenly a survival skill that has to be learnt and perfected as soon as possible. Being immersed in France was the most challenging time of my life and it makes you infinitely in awe of those in this world that speak not just two but multiple languages.
I see you all. And you have my respect.

Attn: released this really interesting video that compares the idea of Speaking multiple languages in America VS. in other countries. It has been viewed 14 million times and shared 183,000 times! So it is clearly a very hot topic….

The video states “Over 70% of Europeans can speak more than one language” whereas in stark contrast “75% of Americans only speak English and just 20% believe it’s essential to speak another language.” (Sources in the video.)

This really is shocking to me.

We get so caught up in our lives in our own country, we forget that we are part of an enormous and varied human race.

“This is a country where we speak English” is a phrase that is heard far too often.

Why would you not want to open up an extra door for yourself and get to experience another small piece of the globe? Or even worse, why would you not want to pass down your own multiple language skills to your children?

I know from experience that after learning French (and more specifically the conjugational system), I found it much easier to make sense of other languages too such as Spanish and Italian. I felt like I had taken the language part of my brain and hit the gym with it!  I love that I can speak a second language. It’s proudly on my resume and I love helping out strangers or offering translations when needed.

The Attn: video states “In over 20 countries, kids are speaking 2 languages by the age of nine” whereas in countries like America and the UK, only the basics of languages are taught in schools and the majority forget it all as soon as the exams are over.

I feel like a mindset change needs to be made – Who’s with me?!
Comment ‘HELL YEA’ Below!

“Think of the world like a pie chart and every time you learn a new language, you get more of the pie – and who doesn’t like pie?!”

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  • Reply
    July 6, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    I took Spanish in high school and remember some, but not near as much as I would like. I would love to get more fluent in that and other prolific languages!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Hell yeah! I practiced Spanish and French during school and I don’t remember any of it because I haven’t used it. I definitely want to revisit foreign Languages at some point in my life. I need to make time for it.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Languages are so interesting and such a great way to connect to a country. Love this post!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Completely agree!! I believe it would make a huge difference for the better if we all were more culturally educated in ways of language. Not only would traveling outside of our own country be easier, but there will be a better bond formed with those other countries in means of language 🙂 I wish I knew more than 2 languages as well as my kids having a better opportunity to learn more than 1-2 languages.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    The handheld translator is so cool! It is an interesting think about, I so wish I could speak several languages fluently.

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