Over the many years I have learned and taught French and Spanish I have heard no end of reasons “not to” learn another language or why someone “cannot” take up the challenge. If I had a Euro for each one, including from intelligent individuals, I would be writing this in warmer climes with a cool beer rather than caffeine!
Few, if any, have had any validity. I have just idly scribbled down a few of the many reasons “to” discover the pleasure and benefits language learning can bring.
Here are five, in no particular order:
1. Enjoy speaking, or just attempting, the local language when travelling and enrich your experience. Create more meaningful connections and stand out less as the obvious tourist!
2. Open yourself to greater job opportunities. The world continues to change fast and I am not just thinking of Brexit. An increasing companies do business globally and outward looking progressive organisations look for employees with an ability in at least one other language. Make your application stand out!
3. Boost your Brain! Study after study demonstrate the benefits learning a language brings in terms of memory improvement and concentration. It works your grey matter in the way exercise works your muscles and circulation!
4. Enjoy the satisfaction of realising you can do it! One of my greatest joys as a tutor is giving students the confidence and showing them what they are capable of.
5. Discover and enjoy new cultures. I love foreign language films and television programmes. I can’t always speak the language, take the recent Scandinavian thrillers such as The Killing and The Bridge for example, but I enjoy the insight into other countries’ writing, beyond the scenery! In the 1980s I discovered the pleasure of going to the cinema in Spain and, more often, France. Some of the films that made an impression on me then remain among my favourites today such as “Les Ripoux”, “Subway” and “Jean de Florette”.
What do you think?