Despite what the incessant notifications on your phone from Duolingo suggest, language learning doesn’t actually have to be a chore. Easy? Definitely not. But worth it? No doubt about it.
It’s no secret that being multilingual can bring a huge range of benefits, but with only 38% of the UK population speaking a second language, are we fully aware of what these are? And is the process of learning a new language really worth it?
As a company passionate about multilingual communications, we wanted to take a closer look at the advantages of learning another language, and offer some tips to help you on your journey to becoming multilingual.
What are the benefits?
Whether you’re looking to learn a new language to benefit your brain, your job prospects, your travel opportunities, or simply just to gain a new skill, there’s a huge amount of advantages.
The process of simple repetition that comes with learning a language helps boost memory, and also increases your ability pick up on body language cues, helping to make you more mentally alert. Not only that, but there’s evidence that suggest bilingual speakers have an increased capacity for problem-solving, with the cognitive muscles used for navigating multiple languages also being handy for juggling tasks.
It’s fair to say that, with all these benefits for your brain, becoming bilingual can also help make you a better communicator. Not only will you be able to communicate in a whole new way with a whole new demographic of people, your native tongue will benefit as well, as understanding how a new language works can give you a better understanding of your own.
Like with any muscle, the more you train your brain, the bigger it can get. So, by keeping your mind active through language learning, your brain will really feel the benefits.
Hard to dispute these brain-based benefits, right? But that’s not where it ends. Becoming bilingual can help improve your attitude towards the target language and the countries where it’s spoken, making you more aware and appreciative of a range of cultures.
Being exposed to a variety of cultures has also been proven to have an effect on the way we view life, with bilingual speakers reportedly having a more positive outlook. To quote the French, those with multiple languages under their belt “avoir la pêche”, which translates to “having a peach” and means that you are full of happiness (“feeling peachy” suddenly makes a lot more sense). Can’t argue with that really, can you?
As if that wasn’t enough, we haven’t even touched on one of the most attractive benefits of picking up a new language – the travel. Branching your language skills out further than just English of course gives you the perfect excuse to travel to new countries – after all, one of the best ways to learn a new language is to cement yourself in it.
Not only that, but studies indicate that those who learn a new language enjoy higher incomes and increased professional opportunities. If you’re after the perfect opportunity to see more of the world and make money whilst doing it, becoming bilingual could be the key.
Best ways to learn
Okay, so you must now be convinced that the benefits of learning a second language make the whole process worthwhile, so that leaves the question – how best to get there?
Beginning your journey to becoming multilingual can seem daunting, but we hope these tips can give you a good idea of where to start.
Duolingo might be infamous for its constant chirpy reminders to practice, but language learning apps like this one are actually a great way to get started. The bite-sized lessons are an easy way to learn the basics, and setting five minutes apart each day to work through one unit makes the whole process seem a lot more manageable.
If apps aren’t your thing, the old school method of studying from a book is still very much valid. Not only can textbooks help teach you everything you need to know, but reading fiction in your target language can be an invaluable teaching method. This will help get your reading skills up to scratch, but it’s important not to forget about the other key aspects as well. Finding an international pen pal is a unique way to practice your writing skills, and also to get some top tips from an actual native speaker.
When it comes to your listening skills and ability to interpret what’s being said, film is your friend. Watching a TV series or film with the subtitles on is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language, giving you the chance to learn some new vocab and listen to native speakers. With foreign language content massively growing in popularity on streaming platforms, you’ll have no end of choices for your Netflix and language learning session.
TV shows, films, or, come to think of it, any sort of digital content can help cement your language knowledge thanks to the use of subtitles, but this isn’t the only way to surround yourself with speakers of your target language. Travelling to where they speak the language you’re trying to learn and engaging with locals and navigating a new place provides a unique experience and will really put your language skills to the test.
Of course, this all relies on which language you choose to learn. Picking something like Spanish, which is spoken in 20 countries including Mexico, Spain, and Columbia, will help booster your travel list more so than something more under the radar like Czech or Zulu. You wouldn’t be in bad company either, with more than 21 million people worldwide studying Spanish as a foreign language.
Really though, whichever language you choose to learn for whichever reason will help benefit your brain, your communication skills, and your travel and work opportunities.
So, now you have some top tips on how to get started on your quest to being multilingual, and you know the benefits doing so will have.
Perhaps the one of the best benefits picking up a new language will bring you is the ability to communicate with people around the world. Language has the ability to bring together people from all corners of the globe, but, of course, not everyone will be able to speak every language.
And that’s where we come in. We specialise in multilingual communications, and our translation, subtitling, localisation, and voiceover services can help your company connect and engage with markets all around the world.
Whether you need a set of multilingual subtitles for your next social media advert, or a foreign voiceover artist to bring your audio or video project to life, our expert team here at Matinée can help. We have over 30 years of experience and provide our services in 80+ languages, giving your business the chance to expand your global reach and connect people around the world.
So, why not get in touch with our expert team today to find out how we can help you?
Call us on +44 (0) 118 958 4934
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org