Learn a new language, widen your horizon

Fun learning

It is said that more than half of the world’s population is bilingual, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the number of youngsters attempting to learn new languages is on the rise. It is becoming more

important to know a second (or even a third and fourth) lang­uage to strengthen the conn­ect with people all over the world. Though it takes time, patience and dedication to master a new (and sometimes alien) language, atta­ched to it are dozens of advantages, from practical and aca­demic to intellectual and even sentimental.

Students Poonam Shenoy and Pranathi Sridhar say that they both started learning foreign languages for fun. “As the Korean and Japanese culture started growing on me, I wanted to learn both langu­ages because they seemed really interesting. And I must say, I love it now!” says Shenoy. She is of the opinion that the availability of courses in several languages like Mandarin, Urdu, German, French and Spanish help expand one's horizon. Sridhar adds, “Learning French helped me understand the culture better. Personally, I love learning new accents, dialects and vocabulary. It’s exciting!”

Learning a particular language can help facilitate deeper interaction with that community and give one a better understanding of the culture by understanding its core values through linguistics. Lea­rning a new language is also known to promote personal growth, as it makes one more appreciative of other cultures and traditions, other than their own, by viewing it from different perspectives. Sonali Bachu, a student, says, “The more languages you know, the better you connect with people from different cultural backgrounds, and learn more about them and how different they are.”

When one knows the local language of a place they are travelling to, it enhances the experience 10-fold. Bachu mentions that her knowledge of French was particularly handy on a trip to Paris with her family.

“It helped us experience the city in a different light, and gave me an insight into Fre­nch cuisine and cinema, both of which I love.” Bachu adds, “This knowledge also helps one be comfortable at places far away from home.”

Academically, it has been noticed that students with the knowledge of two or more languages tend to do better on standardised tests, and also have a strong grip over the first language, as it is the med­ium through which they learn the others. While college admissions officers always welcome proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in a secondary lang­uage with arms wide open, fluency in a foreign language also helps showcase a pros­p­ective employee as intelligent, flexible, and open to diversity.

Knowing multiple langu­ages is also known to boost brain power, increase focus, a person’s perception to his/her surroundings and the ability to multi-task. Surveys and studies also show that bilingual or multilingual people are affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s four-and-a-half years later than monolingual people. There are many benefits to learning a new language, and youngsters are making the best of this.

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