Why should i learn a second language?

This indeed is a good question, so why? There are numerous reasons as to why you should learn a second language. We will first start with the most important one and I’ll apologise beforehand if I sound materialistic, but the first answer should be money. It makes the world go round, so they say, and if you speak a second language then you will earn more of it. Firstly, most jobs require that you have a good level of English just to get into the selection phase and secondly there are studies from the U.S. that show that those who speak a second language earn 2% more than those who don’t[1]. You’ve probably just said to yourself, wait, In the U.S. people are learning other languages, not English. That’s true, but what we can extrapolate from this is that whatever country you are in, speaking another language will undeniably help you. Of course, being a market of supply and demand, the smaller the number of local people that speak your chosen second language the more of a commodity you become and this ultimately means that you earn even more1.  Although English is not going to put you in that “exclusive group” as it’s so widely spoken nowadays, it will still provide you with an extra 2% (minimum), which is better than nothing! So what will an extra 2% of your salary buy you?

So what’s next? After money we have…. Health. Well, I could have put this one first on my list. I know, I know! One’s health should be more important than the money you earn, but as a quote I read from the Dalai Lama responding to a question where he was asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said “ Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money, then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health…”. The quote continues but I’ll leave it there as I’m just sticking to man’s priorities, first money and then health! So, back to health…Recent research[2] has shown that being bilingual helps you to counter the onset of Alzheimer disease. Ok, I understand that most won’t become bilingual when learning a second language, but what the study points out is that speaking a second language helps you to contribute to your cognitive reserve, which acts to compensate for the effects of Accumulated neuropathology[3]. What this means in layman’s terms is that your brain becomes stronger and isn´t as badly affected by the disease, so, no need to do a crossword or a Sudoku to build up your cognitive reserve, learn English!!  Not a bad reason I think. There are countless studies being carried out into this area and they seem really interesting, nice food for thought.

And finally, learn a second language and hopefully English so you can travel around the world and be able to communicate with people. Learning a new language such as English, which has become a lingua franca, permits you to communicate with people from all over the world.  How do you expect to be able to communicate with a Russian, a Belgian and a Dane at the same time? Either with a lot of sign language and some alcohol or speaking English of course! Once you can speak English use it to be able to have a drink around the world (it’s great to be able to order your favourite tipple abroad), study in a different country, make new friends, or simply because you’d like to hear an actor’s original voice. Trust me, they don’t all sound really butch and manly. If you can speak English nowadays you’ll be able to cross the globe and watch the films on the plane whilst you’re at it in original version, so don’t hesitate and start today at www.enunciateonline.com, we will be more than happy to get you communicating effectively in English.

Vocab:

Food for thought: Idiom: Anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking.

Tipple: (n) Informal: An alcoholic drink


[1] Saiz, A. Zoido, E. (2002) Working paper Nº. 02-16 The Returns to Speaking a Second Language. Federal Reserve Bank Of Philadelphia

[2] Craik, F.I.M; Bialystok, E; Freedman, M. Delaying the onset of Alzheimer disease. Bilingualism as a form of cognitive reserve. Neurology November 9, 2010 vol. 75 no. 19 1726-1729

[3] Bialystok, E; Craik, F.I.M; Luk, G. Bilingualism: consequences for mind and brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 16, Issue 4, 240-250, 30 March 2012.