6 Reasons Why Knowing a Second Language Can Benefit You

Malinee Kaewnetr
Mar 12, 2019 · 6 min read
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There are more ways learning another language can enrich your career, your education even your health than you can ever imagine. In this day and age when our world is shrinking into a global village, knowing a second or even a third language is a better asset than knowing only your mother tongue.

1. Learning a second language can benefit your career.

Today No company can thrive by doing only domestic business. Their markets and target customers cover many areas of the world, be it Europe, Africa and Asia. Currently, no organization can rest complacent with its small domestic market. Time will come when you have to do business interaction with an organization from a country you never heard of. These organizations need polyglot employees or at least employees who are fluent in another language, who can effectively communicate with foreign business partners. Imagine a scenario that you have to compete for a job position in a multinational corporate. You and your candidate are equally qualified. Both of you graduated with good GPA from top universities. But one candidate happens to be fluent in another language the company find useful in doing business with its partner. No need to imagine which candidate will land that coveted job position. First jobbers’d better be prepared to study one or two more languages. Knowing a second language can surprisingly be a true asset helping them land a higher paying jobs. It can even give them more career choices than their counterparts who speaks only their mother tongue. Also they work wherever they want in the world.They can choose to work in their own country or abroad. They can reap more job experiences which will benefit them later in their careers.

2. Knowing a second language broadens your horizon.

When you pick up another language, you don’t just learn how to speak and communicate in one more language, you absorb myriad contexts of that language, be it culture, tradition and ways of life in the language you learn.

Most importantly, learning another language is the best way to get to know its people and their outlooks on life. Thus, to speak another language means you are well-versed in one more culture besides your own. I cannot emphasize enough that currently our world needs a polyglot who is comfortable with many cultures. Our present world needs mutual collaboration from its population more than ever. Without mutual contribution and collaboration, you would not be able to solve the world’s urgent crises, be it economics, politics and particularly climate changes. This mutual collaboration is possible, if you are willing to cross over the Tower of Babel. Overcoming the language obstacles will contribute to mutual understanding. Collaboration among countries will ensue without difficulties if you can communicate effectively with one another.

3. Another benefit of learning a second language is health.

This advantage of learning another language outdoes other ones. Sadly most people often overlooked it. It’s not exaggerating to say that one hour spending on learning another language can make you as healthy as an hour doing aerobic excercise. Maybe you think this is absurd! Numerous studies by neuroscientists prove that learning new languages can rejuvenate our brain cells which even aging learners can benefit. True, learning languages is most effective when done at a younger age. However, picking up an interest in language in later years is by no means impossible. Of course, your memory may not be as good as when you were young. But your aged brain could add some other interesting dimensions to the language learning process. The enthusiasm gained from embarking on a new exciting learning pursuit can contribute to longevity for those in their golden years.

4. Learning another language can make you feel humble.

Let’s see why I said so. If your native tongue is not one of those major languages spoken by the majority of people in the world like English, Spanish and Mandarin. It goes without saying that in order for you to thrive in the world, you can’t possibly get by without mastering one of those major languages.

Without it, you are almost handicapped in today’s world. English is the principal language used online. Not knowing English prevents you from communicating with netizens. Nor can you gain access to a lot of useful information the internet has to offer. That said, however important you think your mother tongue is, you have to eat humble pie. You have to accept that for a person whose native tongue is minor, English must be your second language to thrive in career or academic endeavor.

5. Another advantage of learning a foreign language is the joy of being able to read books of your favorite authors in its original version.

Reading books in translation is mediated by many factors. All translators know that it is impossible for them to do complete justice to the original version. Translation can partially transfer the meaning and the beauty of the original. Each language is unique and not totally translatable. Nothing can compare to reading the book in the original language yourself. To illustrate my point, I love Anton Chekhov, the great Russian author and dramatist. I am so infatuated with his work that I plan to take classes in Russian language just to read his works. But something prevents me from pursuing my Russian language learning. So far, I’ve got to settle for the translated Chekhov. But Chekhov is such a marvelous gem that his light shines brightly through any translation.

6. The last advantage of knowing another language might be a bit far-fetched “ Know Thyself”

I believe like many people that learning another language brings about a process of a little self-understanding. In learning the language of the other as well as its custom, you ironically gain knowledge about yourself. Many educators agree that you learn things by comparing the knowledge about yourself to the knowledge that you gain from others. In knowing others, you know yourself. I think that understanding yourself cannot be done in close range. You cannot see yourself better if you don’t distance yourself from where you are. I just want to say that by removing odistancing yourself from your familiar position, you will be capable of seeing “reality”, in other words, “yourself” better. To use my case as an example, as a Lit Major from an Asian origin, western literature helps me understand my culture better seeing the difference and similarity of the two. In the same way, in learning to speak the second language, learners have to look at his culture that he takes for granted all his life with a new eyes thanks to point of view of the second language that he learns. He will see a new dimension of his world. He will start to see himself in a new light that might lead to a deeper understanding of himself, hopefully.

In conclusion

I hope I am more or less making clear my point why learning another language is capable of benefiting many aspects of your life. You may agree or disagree with me. But the truth is, in this age of globalization which demands complete collaboration from world citizens, the idea that our native tongue alone is sufficient to get by might not be relevant any longer. Our old familiar world is fading away replacing by diversity and differences. Wouldn’t it be better if we capitalize on that diversity and differences rather than holding complacently on what used to be.

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Thanks for reading 🤔

Malinee Kaewnetr

Written by

Reader. Writer.Translator. Movie buff. Lifelong learner.

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