The Benefits of Bilingualism

The Benefits of Bilingualism

Being able to speak more than one language has clear and obvious benefits. Travelling the world becomes easier, navigating other cultures becomes a pleasure, and even at home you’ll be able to engage with people in your local community who may only speak a foreign tongue.

While the benefits of bilingualism are easily identifiable in a social capacity, the wider opportunities speaking multiple languages can hold are often overlooked. Let’s look a little more in-depth now at the many ways in which learning another language can enhance your life and career.

 

I. Professional

 

The age of online and the digital economy means business links around the globe shall only grow further. Its also a reality that many professionals mistakenly think they need to be perfectly fluent in another language for it to have any use in a business setting. This is a big misconception.

 

Unless you are set to work in a role like UN translator for an international mission, absolute fluency is rarely essential for a language to be advantageous to your career. Instead, simply being able to read and understand another language (and write a little as well) can guarantee you stand apart in your field if all others are just monolingual.

 

While drawing a direct link between multilingual professionals and career advancement is impossible given the many variables across different job sectors and languages, a strong case can be made for language skills being an excellent long term investment, and offering a professional the chance to have greater flexibility and opportunity across their career.[1]

 

II. Mental.

 

Alongside a greater professional advancement and opportunity to build stronger working relationships and friendships – in and of itself a big benefit – the advantageous of speaking multiple languages are truly seen in science.[2] With bilingual language learning showing evidence in multiple studies as a defence against alzheimer’s, learning a language is not only advantageous for your career but for your mind and overall well being.

 

This is just one of the numerous health benefits attributed to language learning, and crucially – in aspect often overlooked when discussing the benefits of bilingualism – benefits people not just in their senior years, but throughout their life from the initial point of education in another language.[3]

 

As the US National Institute of Health report details, children who grow up speaking two languages are able to identify more precisely the meaning and intention behind spoken words in a conversation, irrespective of “linguistic noise” (accents and other unique features of culture that can make harder the challenge of understanding a speaker). Thus, evidence illustrates learning to become bilingual can also grow your acuity and perception with the understanding of your native language.[4]

 

Similarly, a joint Scottish and Italian (Sardinian dialect) study by the found those who learn a language with a formal structure (such as via a school or formal program) can display across their lives enhanced “cognitive control, problem-solving ability, metalinguistic awareness and working memory.”[5]

 

III. Cultural

 

Even being able to speak in a basic format or an informal setting via another tongue can bring huge benefits in a cultural setting.  Further,  knowing a language means you know about the culture (and nations) that speak it. This has a huge benefit when seeking to build your career in the global age.s of culture that can make harder the challenge of understanding a speaker). Thus, evidence illustrates learning to become bilingual can also grow your acuity and perception with the understanding of your native language.

 

Though you may not be called upon to utilise your language skills in the boardroom, the informal settings outside of hours (like lunches and dinners) are a great opportunity to build real rapport with colleagues. Beyond this, it also guarantees you shall possess a broader understanding of the world that is crucial to advancement in any career that requires working effectively and productively with people from all walks of life around you.

 

 

The benefits of being bilingual are visible across many fields. From your CV, to networking, to direct benefits to your health, now and into the future. There’s also a final element to language learning that is growing as a fundamental advantage in the online age: good communication itself.
Learning to speak another language means you will become sharper and more articulate in your own as you master the grammar and translations of another tongue. So, now that you have read: look to discover where you can learn to hear, speak, and write in another language The benefits of doing are immense.

 

 

Emma Tidey
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