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Did you know that there are 7,117 languages spoken today? And that there used to be more?
Take Latin. You may have heard of it. It was a language developed and spread by the Roman Empire.
It’s considered a “dead” language now, with no native speakers, but Latin words and phrases are still common in our everyday language.
Not only that, but Latin is the base from which many modern languages developed, including Spanish, French, and Italian.
Why so many languages? Well it all boils down to why languages are important.
Languages are important because they allow people to communicate. It is the way we convey our thoughts and feelings to other people. It is how we make them aware of our needs.
Language is the means by which humans communicate, it can be either oral it written.
Basically it is the use of words that are put together in an agreed way to convey thoughts, feelings, and concepts.
Language also used to be a way in which a group developed a distinct identity.
Many languages developed within tribes of people who lived in a specific area and were distinct to that area and that certain group. Not being able to speak the language was a big red flag that you didn't belong in that area.
As human beings began to spread out and interact more, the importance of language as means of communication was amplified.
Traders and travelers started to realize that it was easier for them if they learned at least a few phrases of the language of the area they were going to.
Conversely, contact with outsiders also brought changes to “native” languages.
People who interacted and talked with travelers and traders picked up a few of their phrases and words and it became incorporated in their daily speech.
Most modern languages, the ones that survived managed to do so because many people learned that language even if it wasn’t their native tongue.
Most modern languages are also quite different from how they “originally” sounded because there are a mix of other words and phrases.
If you like to travel or are thinking of working or doing business abroad, you might have received the advice that you should learn another language.
You might be asking yourself why is it important to know more than one language?
It all boils down to the importance of being able to communicate.
It is the ability to communicate; to make one’s thoughts, feelings, and needs understood is important. It is also important to be able to understand other people’s thoughts, feelings, and needs.
Being able to understand each other, to communicate effectively, allows us to bond and form relationships.
People who learn a second language well enough to be able to use it, especially if they can use it on a daily basis, are called bilingual.
There is growing evidence that being bilingual has benefits aside from just being able to communicate with a wider array of people. Being bilingual can actually make you smarter.
It has been observed that bilingual children are quicker at solving some kinds of mental puzzles.
It is supposed to improve both your ability to focus and multi-task. Bilingual elders, on the other hand, are more resistant to dementia and Alzheimers – both diseases that are characterized by diminishing cognitive functions.
With the world becoming more and more globalized, language skills are considered essential for enabling children to succeed in the future.
That’s why, aside from the national language, many countries' education systems make sure that they include a foreign language component.
Learning another language is also important if you want to study in another country, especially when it’s for higher education.
While students can and often do study the language of the country they are in while they are there, it gives them a little edge when it comes to adjusting if they are already familiar with a language other than their native tongue.
It also helps them make friends and bond with their peers quicker.
When it comes to the STEM fields, knowing another language – specifically English – is very important.
These fields use a lot of English terminology. Also, most scientific papers and journals are still published in English.
When you travel, you want to be able to have new experiences in a culture that is not necessarily your own.
In order to do so, you might find that you need to adapt and get used to ideas and ways of doing things that are not how it is done “at home”.
One thing that is often very different from the way people do things “at home” is how they communicate.
Let’s just look at English-speaking in Puerto Rico as an example.
Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain, but is now a territory of the United States.
It has two official languages, Spanish and English. Both these languages are used in official government transactions and are taught in schools.
However, it is Spanish that is the dominant language, spoken by 95% of the population at home.
This means they speak Spanish mostly in their daily lives, despite many learning to speak English.
So, while an English-speaking visitor might be able to communicate with say the staff at a resort or buy a souvenir at the market, they won’t really understand much of the nuances of daily life as that is conducted in Spanish.
You might not get a real answer if you ask the vendor how that carving was created and if you try and ask kids in the street what they are playing, they might just run away giggling.
Speaking the native or dominant language is also a good icebreaker.
People are often astonished and delighted to hear a “foreigner” speak in their language. It also puts them at ease because now they don’t have to rack their brains and try to remember those old English lessons from school to try and answer your questions.
You have a better chance of making friends if you speak their language rather than expect them to understand yours.
Of course, to make leisure travel easier isn’t the only reason why learning a second language is beneficial.
If you travel for business or want to work abroad, being able to speak a second language is also beneficial.
Being able to communicate with people from around the globe is becoming more and more important in business.
Being able to communicate clearly with clients in a language they understand ensures there are no misunderstandings, everyone gets what they want, and builds a stable business relationship.
Take Japan for example, many big companies consider English language skills important – this goes for Japanese and foreign employees.
English skills are actually a consideration more than ability to speak Japanese in a foreign employee, though learning Japanese can help as well.
English is not the national language or the official language of Japan but it is taught in schools and English-language centers and tutors abound.
So if you want to learn English because you are doing business in Japan, it could help as this is the language that will be used in the boardroom and during meetings. You can negotiate a good deal by speaking English in Japan.
The European Union is another example of why learning a second language is beneficial in business.
The EU itself encourages its citizen’s to be multilingual. This is to facilitate cross border relations between all the member states and make the conduct of trade easier.
The three most commonly spoken languages, either as a first or second or third language, in the EU are English, German, and French. Knowing one or more of these languages will make it easier to conduct business in the region.
If we were to write an importance of learning a foreign language essay, the most compelling argument we could probably as to why languages are important is that they help us adapt to a world that is increasingly smaller and more diverse.
The days of “tribes” staying on one place, where you could live and die without hearing a language other than your own are long gone.
If you want to get ahead in a world which is requiring more and more that you learn to get along and interact with people of different cultures, you need to start learning how to effectively communicate in more than just your native language.
Even back in the days of tribes, the way that people picked up languages by conversing with people who spoke them.
That’s one thing that hasn’t changed.
Having conversations with native speakers of languages is still considered the best way to learn a language. So if you want to effectively begin your journey towards becoming bilingual, check out the tutors at JustLearn.
You’re sure to find someone who is eager to introduce you to the beauty of their own language.
Language is important because it allows people to communicate and share thoughts with one another.
Language is used to express culture, traditions and traditions of one country. It's important because it helps countries preserve their unique traditions.
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