A discursive essay on why language learning is so important in the modern world.
There is a Pun That Works in 12 Different Languages
It's about a dead cat. Understanding international gems like this is only one of the many wonderful reasons why you should make learning a foreign language a priority. Learning a language is so much more rewarding than just adding a sentence to your resume. Ever since the dawn of time, humans have been finding different ways to communicate and ways to connect the world. Currently the only thing stopping us, is the universal language barrier. A barrier which needs to be broken down. We need to start taking foreign language study seriously, because languages are mind-bending... Literally.
When learning new languages, the human brain expands, the most notable change being in the cerebral cortex ridges, according to research by Johan Mtensson. People who are bilingual have been proven to be more intelligent than their monolingual counterparts. People who can speak and understand a foreign language are seen to do better on standardised testing and it's important we don't forget the elephant in the room - polyglots have a better memory. Polyglots also have better listening skills as their brains have to work especially hard to distinguish between languages, they are also more attentive and are more skilled at blocking out distractions, making them better and more empathetic long term partners.
Can't make up your mind about whether you should learn a new language or not? Bilingual people are better at making decisions. Being able to speak more than one language is mentally enriching as it boosts self-esteem and builds up confidence, this means that polyglots generally have an improved state of mental wellbeing. Not only that, they can also discuss their thoughts and feelings in more than one language.
As well as language learning making the brain healthier, employers love it! Job seeking has become survival of the fittest and the people who have more than one language under their belts are coming out on top. In today's job market, it is possible to be competing with people from all over the world, this means that we need everything we can to help us stand out in a crowd of over seven billion people. Employers are increasingly expecting their employees to conduct business across the globe, how better to do this than to learn a language to broaden your horizons. However Great Britain really need to step up their game with only 40% of the population speaking more than one language, compared to the European Union average with over half of people speaking a language other than their mother tongue.
Everyone's heard the joke about modern language teaching in Britain: the only thing that is remembered from four years of intensive French tuition in school is, "je voudrais une bi/FONT>re s'il vous plait,". Honestly? Your teacher was right, languages are the most useful tool when travelling abroad. They deepen your appreciation of the culture, they can help you make connections with the locals and learning a language can help you order more than just a beer. The world has so many amazing places to discover and the best way to experience a culture is to communicate using the language of the people who live there. Even if you're not fluent, at least attempting the native language is respected and can help you establish connections with the people who live there.
Even if you believe in a "universal language of things"; learning a foreign language is one of the most beautiful and eye opening tasks, however, sometimes meaning gets distorted through translation. Literature can reach all four corners of the Earth, Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist' holds the World Record for 'most translated book by any living author', having been translated into over eighty languages. How different an experience would reading that book be if read in its native tongue, Portuguese. In a book about mentality, spirituality and inspiring wisdom, how many Paulo Coelho's literary gems have been lost in translation? Reading literature in its native tongue is an eye-opening experience, so many words and phrases that even the best translator just can't quite give justice to.
There are a significant number of people who argue that there is no need to learn another language when around 25% of the world already have some knowledge of the English language. Well, that's just living up to the stereotype that the British are ignorant. There are now hundreds of websites and apps dedicated to free language learning that encompass; speaking, listening, writing and reading - cost isn't a problem anymore, learning is not expensive. And with technology booming and media evolving at such a rapid pace, it isn't difficult to find someone who is more than willing to practice conversation and pronunciation with you. People say they don't have the opportunities or dedication to commit to learning a language, however, it is often said that the things that take the most time and effort yield the best results. There are literally no downsides to learning a language. It is an asset in every single way.
I'm not saying you should cancel date night with beau, but learning a foreign language releases the same endorphins in your brain as when you eat chocolate or have sex. And the cherry on the cake, mis amigos, is that people who speak more than one language are vastly considered to be sexier. Need more be said? Our planet is more connected than ever before and if you want to be at the forefront of our everchanging world then learning at least one foreign language is essential. So, good luck, bon chance and ????. So, back to the pun; Where do cats go when they die?