Being multilingual refers to the ability to speak, read, write, and understand more than two languages. There are language enthusiasts who can speak in more than a dozen languages of the world. English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, Japanese, German, Dutch, Icelandic, Korean, Burmese- and the list goes on. There are distinct advantages that are enjoyed by a multi-linguist and hence it is only natural that there are thousands of people the world over who want to master a foreign language to varying degrees. After all, knowing a language opens the door to knowing a culture, its people, and a lifestyle.
Importance of multilingualism
There are many things that make multilingualism extremely important. Some of them are given here.
1. Increased overseas job opportunities
As with all things good, the more languages you know, the merrier. The ability to communicate in two, three, four, or more languages opens the global job portals for hopeful candidates. They can explore a worldwide career option and venture out to newer places. Speaking a foreign tongue certainly upscales the employability of any job applicant. Even if you want to work at a local office, being multilingual gives you an edge over other candidates as it displays your passion for learning.
2. Insight into different cultures
Whenever you’re learning a new language, you get pulled into the eye of the cultural and social revolutions that shaped the language and were in turn affected by it. What is laid before your mind is the essence of different people, their lifestyle, their food and clothing, their philosophy and beliefs. To understand a new culture, it is very important to be acquainted with their language. Language is like a doorway to a culture. It’s hard to understand someone’s culture without knowing their language.
3. Greater connectivity
Each new language you speak or learn to communicate in, connects you to a greater number of people. When you are conversing with a native speaker both of you are able to share and exchange views at a deeper level. An English speaker who can also speak in Korean, Afrikaans, or Slovenian is better attuned to the world than one who knows only the native tongue and dialect. Being multilingual also shows higher intellect.
4. Easier foreign travels
It helps to know the language of the place you’re slated to travel to. Even if complete or grammatically correct sentences are too tough to learn, you should at least learn up handy phrases, greetings, and questions related to common information. For example, in Spain, be prepared to use Spanish phrases to ask for direction, go to a restaurant, or to the airport. In a foreign land, multilingualism often saves the day. If traveling is your passion, it is good to learn at least the basic phrases related to the place you are visiting. Make sure you learn how to ask for a hotel, food, washroom, medical facilities, transport, and other daily need things.
There are clear benefits of being multilingual. Besides a greater adaptability and liberty, you begin to understand that behind the apparently divergent lifestyles, people everywhere have similar hopes, aspirations, and fears.