Why Should I Learn a Foreign Language?
More and more software programs, electronic devices, and websites devoted to foreign languages are being developed daily. Why all the excitement? Why would YOU want to learn a foreign language?
Job Advancement - Get the Competitive Edge
Many large corporations and government agencies have positions requiring a second language. In a country like Canada, which is officially bilingual, someone who knows both French and English will have better employment prospects.
Travel to a foreign country can be exciting - and also very exasperating if you can't understand the local speech. Many North Americans are somewhat egocentric in this regard, expecting to find English spoken no matter where they are. Although this is sometimes true in larger cities, don't expect to find English-speakers in small communities.
The world is a melting pot of cultures and languages. You probably have living relatives in other countries with whom you could communicate more effectively if you took the effort to learn at least a few words.
Some of your ancestors probably spoke a different language. If you plan to search old genealogical records, you will be more successful with at least a basic understanding of your ancestors' language(s).
Understanding Your Own Language
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, 'Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.' or 'Those who don't know foreign languages know nothing of their own.' Learning a foreign language will give you a much better understanding of English. Your knowledge of English grammar, vocabulary, verb tenses, and sentence construction will improve when you tackle another language.
Self-Actualization and Challenge
If you've already been everywhere and done everything - perhaps it's time to tackle something new. What could be more challenging and rewarding than immersing yourself in another language?
Opera, Poetry, and Prose Appreciation
Artistic works written in a different language often cannot be fully appreciated when translated into English. This is especially obvious when listening to poetry. If poetry is translated into English with a preserved rhyming scheme, the meaning of the poetry is almost always altered. Being able to listen to the original language - with its subtle tones and nuances - will lend to a greater appreciation of the artist.
One can only truly comprehend a foreign culture if the language is also understood. Exactly what is 'Bratwurst' or 'Calvados'? And what about foreign films? Wouldn't you like to be able to watch something with subtitles - and skip reading them?
Invigorate the Brain
Adults benefit from the brain stimulation produced by language training. Seniors who tackle a foreign language show improved brain function over a period of time. Students who learn foreign languages as children score better on academic tests. There is also evidence to suggest that they may be more creative and resourceful when faced with solving complex tasks.
Learning Teaches You How to Learn
The self discipline and study habits acquired through successful acquisition of a foreign language can be applied to many other aspects of your life.
What better way to learn about a country's culture than to study there? This requires an excellent command of the local language.
Communicate With Someone Secretly in Public
Imagine chatting in public with a friend about something private, knowing that only your friend understands!
Make Online Penpals and Friends
The internet is transforming our world into an intimate global village where you can chat via e-mail, forums, live chat sessions, and audio/video feeds.
Impress a Date?
In closing - male or female - you will make points with your bilingual date by learning a few important words. If your date doesn't speak a foreign language, he or she will be impressed by the enchanting allure of intimate expressions in one of the 'romance' languages.
So - what are you waiting for? Get learning!
About the Author: Kathy Steinemann is a Canadian who writes for 111 Travel Directory and A Language Guide in addition to 1000+ Travel Tips and several other websites.