“Ola!” “Hello!” “Namaste!” They all mean the same thing. They are words used to greet someone. When you go to a South American country, you will probably be greeted with “Ola!” When you are in the United Kingdom you may be greeted with a “Hello” and in our very own India, we greet people with the “Namaste” Different ways which imply the same thing, aren’t they? Even though they mean the same thing, they differ in geography and culture. When you use a colloquial phrase in its native place, it has a special meaning. It shows that you respect the place, its culture and the people.
Language has been the reason for both love and war, in history. It can bring people together as well as be a barrier, like in the case of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese and the Tamil have always had issues. Linguistic Chauvinism is a great threat to unity and integrity, on the national as well as international levels. No language is superior or inferior. Language is the basic medium of communication, which has evolved over centuries, passed down through many generations and will continue to, to the progeny. Every language is beautiful in its own way and every dialect adds its own unique flavour to the language. It represents the place, the people and their culture. Language and tradition are entwined together.
Fluency in any language is very is very important. One should be fluent in at least one language, to be able to communicate effectively and to express ideas and thoughts. Not just speaking, it would be even better if reading and writing are known! The flow of thoughts and fluency in a language are complementary. Unless you know how to put across your emotions through the use of right words, it is uncertain that people would get the message. What are the benefits of knowing more than one language? That is exactly what this article is about. It talks of ten advantages of being multilingual. One must definitely be talented, to know more than one language fluently, with all the grammar and the intricacies involved. It’s more about reading between the lines, you know!
10. It has health benefits
Well, believe it or not! But being multilingual, surprising as it may see, has positive effects on your health. Studies have found that the Alzheimer’s disease is either delayed or warded off for people who are multilingual. So is the case with Dementia or Amnesia. Since you learn so much when you learn a language, it makes you a better person, which in turn improves your general well being.
9. It makes you more creative
Being multilingual also helps in making you more creative than you already are. When you are exposed to variety, your perspective widens. Your horizon will recede away much more and many innovative ideas will strike you. The quality of your expressions improves, when you are a polyglot. Creative skills need to be sharpened every now and then, and being multilingual gives you that edge!
8. It boosts self-esteem and confidence
When you know many languages, you are more presentable. You come across as an accomplished person. More number of people will recognize you. You can reach out to different groups of people. This will automatically boost your self esteem and make you more confident. No one will mock you for stammering in any language or not understanding anything. You are smart if you know can converse effectively in more than a language. It makes you more knowledgeable and reliable. Your decision making and multitasking skills improve too.
7. For better job prospects and business too
A resume or a CV with many languages in the ‘languages known’ category definitely looks attractive to any prospective employer. It gives an impression that you are smart and cognitive. It serves as a proof that you are an effective linguist and communicator. Not just that, in the case of business, being multilingual is very important. Your customer market will widen greatly if you can interact with people from different geographic locations, which will come about if you can converse comfortably in their native languages, in addition to the lingua franca.
6. It improves cognitive power
Your brain is stimulated, when you use different accents, different styles of writing and different pronunciations. Your intellect is taken to another pedestal altogether. It aids in mental development. It makes you think more, which improves blood flow to the brain. Your memory and retention capacity improves a great deal. The areas of the brain that deal with speech, vision and hearing are all simultaneously trained. Rules of grammar and speech serve as exercises for the brain. They improve your thinking capability and understanding ability. Cognition is very important, especially if your profession demands it.
5. It makes you very affable
When you speak many languages, you can mingle very well with people from different linguistic backgrounds. You appear as a very friendly person and it will help you get a very good social life. You will connect and bond with people on a newer and a better level. When you speak to locals in their language, they will be very happy that you have tried to understand them and will reciprocate very well. You can move around and mix with people from various societal backgrounds with ease. People will find it easier to approach you.
4. If you are a globe trotter, it is a must!
If you are a frequent traveler, you cannot go about without being a multilingual. There are many people who have to travel to different places regularly because it may be apart of their profession. Even otherwise, most of us visit a new place sometime or another. Learning different languages will never go in vain. These skills will definitely come in handy. When you travel abroad or move to a new place in search of job opportunities, language should not become a reason that hampers your growth or stops you from anything. A new place obviously means a new language and you must be ready to face the challenge!
3. You learn about various cultures
Even though a language is a medium of communication, it is not just that! It is much more than that. Multilingualism offers you a variety of cultures. You get a wider cultural experience. This makes you more aware. You will not be close-minded. Being exposed to many different cultures makes you more holistic. Every language is significant and it expresses and praises the culture and tradition of the people involved. You will get a better insight of the place when you know the language spoken there.
2. It bridges the gaps
Not knowing a language can be a huge barrier between people. They cannot get along easily and misunderstandings may crop up. Feelings of mutual disrespect, arrogance and ego problems may crop up too. Today, the world is a much smaller place, metaphorically. Thanks to globalization! Multilingualism can shrink it further, for it helps form networks between people. The power of a language is big! It should be used for constructive purposes, like bringing people together and promoting harmony.
1. For great communication skills
When you are a good linguist, you also become good at learning the psychology and people’s behavior. This helps in understanding the thought process and it contributes greatly, towards effective communication. The world thrives on communication. Without proper communication, no transaction can take place smoothly. During the days of yore, our ancestors used to communicate with signs and symbols. Now it is much simpler. Everything can be achieved through the use of good language. Language is a powerful medium. It drives proper communication.
Being multilingual makes you an excellent communicator. You need not rely on hefty dictionaries and thesauruses or translators to put forth your ideas. You can separate the grain from the chaff and convey the exact message that you want to. Being multilingual makes you popular and a people’s person.