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Why learning a second language

by | Languages to learn

Everything learned today may be useful today, tomorrow, next month, two years later or at any point of our lives. So, the only fact of learning something is already useful.

The key part is to choose what to learn because of the vast amount of information available which is increasing at exponential rates. In other words, we must set priorities of what would be beneficial for me based on my current situation and my aspirations.

Regardless the subject you are studying, and considering the highly demanding competition, learning a second language becomes a compulsory task.  Some people say that even a second language is not enough if you want to obtain significant success.

With all due respect to those who think that way, in my opinion, learning a second language “could be” sufficient to achieve our goals as long as this second language is proficiently learned. 

The reason to support this statement is that we can get specialized in a field using that second language.

For instance:

Lawyers can be experts in financial law only

Surgeons may acquire expertise in cardiology

Software Engineers could be subject matter experts in Cloud computing

Math teachers can become proficient in infinitesimal calculus

And the list goes on…

Naturally, the more you learn the more capacity of advancing you get and therefore more dedication and discipline will be required.  

It is worth noting that from a health point of view, learning a second language can also pose a big barrier to brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer as it has been evidenced in numerous prestigious science magazines and outlets.

Learning a second language gives the learner an immense opportunity to explore a new world, culture, habits, places, and ways of thinking and living. This automatically broadens your perspective scope allowing you to be more creative and resourceful to figure out effective solutions to your daily challenges.

In addition to having more job opportunities, learning a second language facilitates the process of meeting new people. This is quite important because others have different methods and sometimes better mechanisms to face their problems from which we can learn by communicating in their native languages. If you learn a language with decent competence, you can interact directly with others and don’t have to depend on interpreters or translators who may have bias in their understanding or perceptions.

Another important aspect to highlight is the difficulty of learning a second language.

Based on my own experience, starting is crucial. And with starting, I mean taking actions to learn the chosen language: Vocabulary, grammar rules, idioms or whatever you want and need to learn. 

With starting I also want to emphasize that once you’ve learned a second language is significantly much easier to learn a third or more languages.

Of course, there are some languages that are less hard to learn than others, due to their affinity in etymology or any other similarity; however, bear always in mind that you must commit yourself to devote time to practice and to overcome discouragement or hopelessness which are normal circumstances of any situation in life. Nothing will happen overnight or by following a “piece of cake” approach unless you are a genius.

And now, the one-million-dollar question: What second language to learn?

Well, for this question, there are no black or white answers as it depends on several prerequisites, based on:

  • The language you currently know
  • The studies you have
  • The goals you want to achieve
  • The country you live

All the above requirements are correlated and therefore should be considered when deciding what second language to learn.

If you currently know only English, and have no professional studies in another field, you should clearly determine the purpose of learning a second language, so that way you can select a specific language that suits your needs. Most of bilingual speakers start working as teachers, translators or interpreters which can be highly rewarded not only financially but from the self-realization point of view.

Now, if in addition to knowing English you have a College degree, the scope expands considerably because you can rely on your new field expertise to find the most demanded second language. Again, your aspirations play a crucial role for you to move forward. The higher your ambition the more dedication you must have.

On the other hand, if you know a language other than English, the answer is much easier. You must start learning English!

The reason is well-known: English is the international language for business, diplomatic relationships, cultural events, communication among organizations and much more. Perhaps, this may change in future, but for the time being, learn English if you want to learn only a second language.

The country where you are living or were born is also important and may give certain advantages.

For example, in Europe, there are neighboring countries who speak different languages. That closeness exposes their inhabitants to have multilingual experiences.

If you live in Asia, your likelihood of learning Chinese, Japanese or Korean (to mention only 3 languages spoken in Asia) could be the starting point which is not the case for people living in South America where all the countries speak Spanish, except Brazil which has Portuguese as its official language, and the Guyanas where English, Dutch and French are spoken.    

 

 

So, why don’t get yourself immersed into a language that will allow you making significant contributions to the world in essential areas of human development and, at the same time, securing yourself from the merciless deteriorating effects that come with aging?

 

In this post What foreign language to learn? you can have some insights on choosing the most suitable language based on your particular situation.

 

Bottom line

 

If you have some experiences or opinions in this regard, please share them on the comments below, so we can all learn from each other.

  • Are you a bilingual?
  • Do you think it is hard to learn a second language?
  • Does learning a second language helps to find a person’s soulmate?
  • What other benefits do you find in learning a second language?
  • Do bilingual people often mix up their languages?

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