Visiting a foreign country is now easier and more accessible. Because of this, learning a second language is not only important, it also opens up many opportunities to others. Marianne Zape, a former intern with the U.S. Department of Education who speaks three languages, offers five reasons why having your child learn a second language is useful.
Language and culture are intertwined. Whatever language you choose to learn, it will always tell you something about the society in which it is spoken. Whether it’s through words whose meanings have evolved over time, popular sayings, or knowing cultural faux pas to avoid, you will learn more than just grammar and vocabulary.
When you learn a new language, your natural reaction will probably be to compare it to your own. Also you’ll start to notice similarities and differences in mechanics and structure that will make you think more about your first language.
Making an effort to speak to someone in his or her native language, even if you’re not the best at it, shows how interested you are in getting to know them. I’ve also learned that there is no better way to improve than to have a native speaker help you. They may not know that you’re familiar with their language at first glance, but when you make the effort, you might just get a really good tutor and a new friend.
Having foreign language skills can set you apart and give you an edge over the competition. Many sectors hire bilingual or multilingual candidates to avoid costly mistranslated. Additionally, they deliver services to non-English speakers more efficiently, and to gain access to documents unavailable in English.
Like all new things, learning languages can be daunting, but the challenges you face are part of the process that make it even more of an achievement! Knowing that you have the skills to navigate on your own and communicate effectively provides a sense of security and comfort even in an unfamiliar environment.