Around the globe, more and more societies are becoming increasingly diverse. Where most communities used to be more homogenous in terms of ethnicity and language, globalisation has led to massive cross-border movements resulting in rich diversity in cities around the world.
Against such a backdrop, it seems that it is no longer enough to speak just one language well. Speaking more languages opens the doors to speakers of other communities, opening up countless opportunities for cultural exchange and business partnerships.
Indeed, being bilingual or multilingual is seen to be a huge advantage in today’s world, and here’s why:
There are a number of career opportunities that spring up when you are able to converse in multiple languages. For example, you can be a tour guide who can speak in the native tongue of your tour group, and also navigate around the local area by speaking the local language. Translation and interpretation jobs also abound in various industries, from diplomacy to law, and in regional or multinational companies. Who knew that a knowledge of multiple languages could bring you so far?
Getting to know another culture
With another language under your belt, you gain access to a whole new population of people and their perspectives. Speaking to people in their native tongue forges closer connections and more authentic relationships. You will also be able to gain insights into their culture and lifestyle, and broaden your world view. Some also believe that simply speaking another language can change the way you think! As different languages work differently, you are actually learning a new way of categorising and looking at the world when you learn to speak another language.
Travelling Abroad with Ease
Being bilingual or multilingual certainly puts you in a strong position to travel abroad with ease and confidence. Although many tourist destinations now have English signs, it is still best to be able to read the native language and converse with the locals in their native tongue. Doing so grants you a more authentic and immersive experience, and you do not need to worry about relying on others or translation apps to help you get around. For the history buffs, nothing beats being able to appreciate the history and culture of a place through its native tongue.
A sense of achievement
Who says you need a practical reason to learn a language? For example, if you are enamoured by the Chinese dramas you’ve been watching, you can sign up for Chinese classes in Singapore to learn the language. When you see yourself improving constantly, that is an achievement in itself to be celebrated!
Some researchers believe that picking up multiple languages makes one smarter as well, as the brain needs to be able to differentiate and choose between the words and structure of the various languages. In any case, your ability to switch between multiple languages is definitely a valuable skill, and one that will command the respect of everyone around you!
Learning new languages is an extremely fulfilling journey, and even more so if it is such a marketable skill. If you haven’t already done so, why not begin your own journey into becoming a bilingual or multilingual?