Being multilingual means having the ability to speak multiple languages. Multilingualism is not an exceptionally rare phenomenon in the world today, but what are the benefits of knowing multiple languages? Read on to find out:
Learning a New Language Makes It Easier to Learn More
A person is able to call themselves multilingual when they have learned multipe languages. Knowing two languages will make it easier to learn a third, which will make it easier to learn a fourth, and so on. Each additional language learned will make learning the next one an easier process, and allow you to pick up further languages with greater fluency.
Multilingual education also encourages greater brain growth in children, improves their concentration, and improves their multi-tasking skills. People who speak multiple languages can be up to 10% more productive than people who are monolingual, or speak only a single language. It also allows one to learn the skill of “super tasking”, which is a form of multi-tasking that allows one to switch between tasks with no delays.
This ability, while extremely rare, can be an invaluable asset in both education, allowing students to switch between subjects easily, and employment, making one a tremendous asset for employers with the ability to easily switch between tasks.
Greater Job Opportunities
Knowing multiple languages other than your own is an easy way to make yourself more employable. People with multiple languages on their resume will be seen as more valuable by employers due to their ability to communicate with so many potential customers.
Speaking multiple languages will also be an invaluable asset for networking and making workplace connections with people around the world.
Being multilingual also gives you the ability to apply for jobs in places where those languages are spoken, affording you the ability to travel the world while working a job. For example, being trilingual means you have access to at least three times as many jobs as someone who is monolingual, though in reality it will be probably be more as there are many languages which are spoken in multiple countries.
Arabic, for example is listed as an official language in 25 countries, while Spanish is listed in 20 and French is listed in 29. Speaking these three languages will allow you to seek employment in more than 70 different countries.
Being multilingual makes it much easier to travel. Knowing the language of the place you have traveled to makes everything easier and more convenient, from knowing what you’re ordering at a restaurant, to asking for directions, being able to communicate in the language will make everything easier.
Instead of spending all your time using Google translate to figure out what’s written on menus and signs or what’s being said by the people around you, you can instead focus on immersing yourself in the culture and learning more about the people and their customs. You will get entirely new perspectives on the world, being able to perceive things the way people who speak these other languages do.
The body of evidence suggesting that there are health benefits to multilingualism is ever growing. Speaking even one additional language reduces the risk of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Multilingual people have also been known to have better recovery from strokes.
Learning different languages opens up new cognitive pathways in the brain, improving their ability to deal with the aforementioned dementia and Alzheimer’s. Multilinguals have been observed suffering the effects of these diseases up to five years after monolinguals. As the brain begins to degenerate, the extra pathways opened up by being multilingual are used to compensate for the degeneration of the brain, slowing down the progress of cognitive diseases.
Multilingualism helps keep us mentally fit, just as regular exercise keeps us physically fit. Learning multiple languages can be a way of exercising our brains.
Being More Open-Minded
Being multilingual allows us to perceive the world in different ways. Each new language we learn allows us access to different cultures where those languages are spoken leading to an even greater understanding of how other people perceive the world. This naturally leads to us being more open to new and different things and ideas, and having an open mind towards things we may not understand.
The benefits of such an open mind are not just limited to ourselves. We can pass on multilingualism to the next generation through our children, allowing them to understand the world better, as well.