By: Echo Mayernik
In school, we are encouraged to learn a second language. In some regions, studying a second language is a requirement for advancement and graduation. However, learning a language can seem as impossible as breathing underwater or climbing to the moon for some students.
Statistics show that multilingual people bring more value to the workplace and have an easier time traveling and exploring the world around them than those who speak their native tongue.
Being Multilingual is Important in Today’s Society
1) Advance Your Career
In recent years, the number of job postings geared toward those who speak multiple languages has doubled. Further, speaking numerous languages fluently can result in you being hired over another applicant, hiring bonuses, wage differentials and more monetary or benefit bonuses. Many opportunities will open to you when you can communicate with clients and business partners in languages other than your native language.
2) Make Lasting Connections
Humans like to communicate. However, language barriers can cause massive gaps in our communication, resulting in lost connections, missed opportunities and diminishing knowledge. Our cultures are carried through spoken word and storytelling from our elders. In many cases, the stories die with those elders if the language is not shared through the generations.
3) Open Your Mind Through Travel
Statistically, people who have the opportunity to travel internationally are more successful in their relationships and careers. For many, this difference comes from new perspectives gained from experiencing other cultures and regional traditions. It is no surprise that you gain more from an experience if you understand the language it is presented in.
4) Boost Your Brain’s Language Learning Ability
With these ten tools to help your brain learn naturally, new languages are less daunting. The earlier in your life you try to learn a language, the easier it will be, but you can become fluent in new languages in adulthood with dedication and focus.
5) Learn With Your Interests
Attending a language class can be super dull. Some people would rather eat their hat than sit through an immersive language lecture. This is likely because they haven’t found the right way to study.
If you’re an avid reader try to find books, articles and blog posts in the language you’re trying to learn. Open up the site in two windows, and translate one to a language you’re comfortable with if you need to. This technique works with music, tv, games, podcasts and other forms of media. One of the reasons this works better for some than traditional lectures is that these forms of entertainment are written like stories rather than lessons.
6) Think With the Language You’re Trying to Learn
When we’re young, we learn by reading everything around us from shampoo bottles, cereal boxes and billboards. When we’re learning spelling and reading, we latch onto the words in the world we live in. We think in that language. There is nothing different about learning a second or third language.
When you’re thinking about or reading the things around you, do your best to consider what they would look or sound like in the new language. For some popular languages, like Spanish, many packages are printed in both English and Spanish. The same can be said for legal or medical documents, read both versions and draw parallels between the blocks of text and equivalent words.
7) Consistency is Key
Learning anything can be a challenge. It can seem like a chore to build new habits. However, language is a skill that falls into the “use it or lose it” category. If you go too long without reading or speaking a language, your mind can let it go through the cracks.
Practice your language skills daily, sometimes more than once per day. Challenge yourself to write down five new terms in the language you’re studying every day. Greet others in the new language and remember what they say and how they say it. However you fit the practice into your day, practicing consistently is critical in long-term retention.
8) Immersion Builds New Bridges
For some people, learning languages is challenging because, in theory, they understand the language, but in practice, they struggle with intonations and pronunciation of the terms. Many people can read a language but can’t speak a word because they never learned to say the words.
Meeting with native or fluent speakers to participate in immersive conversations is one of the best ways to create strong neural bridges for your brain’s language centers. While it’s great to have a basic understanding of a language before traveling to the country where the language is spoken, living and interacting in that region will give you a deeper understanding and confidence than any number of lessons can bring.
Many schools offer resources for meetups and discussion clubs. However, with COVID precautions in place, Zoom meetings, Facebook Rooms, Google Hangouts, and other Meetup resources hold these informal meetings.
9) Hire a Tutor
Hire a professional tutor. Sometimes what you need is the structure and direction of a trained professional to help you leap the hurdles around learning a language. If you’re lucky enough to know someone who speaks the language fluently and has the time to help you solidify the knowledge you gain in your lessons, you’ll be better off than those that don’t study with a tutor. Language Connection offers one-on-one and small group language education sessions to help you build that solid foundation for learning new languages.
10) Challenge Yourself
We spend so much time on our phones these days, so if we’re staring at our phones, why not challenge our language center in our brain? There are apps, such as Babble of DuoLingo, that can help you fit 5 mins of practice in here or there as you move through your day. They reward you with badges and fun animations and challenge you to use your new skills in your interactions. Some people can make significant strides learning this way, but most will benefit by using this option with other ways of learning.
Bonus! Choose a Language You Connect To
Language is a great way to preserve the history of our heritage. As mentioned above, many of our cultural narratives are disappearing because the language and the stories die with the community’s elders. For so many people, language is the best connection to their ancestors and their past.
Another connection you may have to a language is the desire to travel to a country that predominantly speaks that language. Find something within that culture to drive your learning. Connecting to your goals is more likely to keep you on track.
If you’re not quite where you need to learn a new language, you can always contract with a language service company such as Language Connection. These companies are used to interpret verbal interactions for medical offices, legal situations and business interactions. Further, business owners can engage these language services to provide voiceovers for commercials, training videos and many other forms of media. Reach out to Language Connection to discuss your learning ventures and your language needs today.
About the Author
Echo Mayernik is a content writer with The Oak Anchor – Writing Services. She contributes to Language Connection and many other business blogs. She spends her days researching, loving her family, pets, and planet, and consuming vast amounts of caffeine. You can find more of her work in future posts on this blog, as well as on her own site. TheOakAnchor.com/Writing-Services