5 Good Reasons to Learn to Speak a Second Language

Image Tobias Mikkelsen
Whether for employment or enjoyment, a second language can be useful and enlightening — Image: Tobias Mikkelsen

From the moment we’re born, we are taught in the primary language of our parents.

During our formative years, we develop a certain mastery of the spoken word in order to communicate our needs and wants with others.

This fluent mastery can suit our purposes well in the world we were raised in, but what if we needed to communicate with someone outside of this world of ours?

There are a variety of reasons why one would want to learn a secondary language:

1. Bi-lingual Employment – Many organizations hire translators in order to communicate with individuals of a specific ethnic background.
Being able to communicate with others who don’t speak your primary language could help discover details regarding any circumstance that is required. The ability to speak multiple languages could almost guarantee employment in government or related careers providing you have some kind of background in the workload you are applying for.

2. Vacationing – Millions of people travel abroad every year for their vacations. Most of these people will purchase translation books of some kind so they can speak the language of the destination they are traveling to. Not every country practices bi-lingual studies and being able to communicate with your waiter could mean the difference between eating something that is delectable versus something that moves around on your plate on its own.

3. Enlightenment – Some families will study specific languages as a group in order to open themselves up to its culture. There are many aspects of a culture that can be discerned from its spoken language. To learn how the people interact with each other could help enlighten how the culture functions. This could be greatly beneficial when one is trying to determine how a specific mindset of a people reflects the rest of the world.

learn a new language
Some people learn more than one new language for the enjoyment of it.

4. Enjoyment – Some people will learn a second, third, or even a forth language for nothing more than the enjoyment of it. As many of these people will use the experience as nothing short of bragging rights, some will do it for the sheer enjoyment of knowing several languages. You never know who you’ll meet at any given party, and it could be used to break the ice to speak to someone in his or her native tongue for a first impression.

5. No More Secrets – Have you ever been in the grocery store and heard people talking in a language you don’t understand while they laugh and point at you? Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they’re saying? Not everyone experiences this situation but many will go through something similar. At times, others will use their foreign languages in order to speak among themselves without fear of someone over-hearing them.

There is nothing wrong with being able to speak only a primary language. Adding secondary languages to your skill set would only enhance your abilities to conduct yourself in varying circumstances. Whether it is for employment or enjoyment, learning a secondary language could be useful and enlightening.

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2 thoughts on “5 Good Reasons to Learn to Speak a Second Language”

  1. I can understand an African language (Sotho). It’s come in quite handy in the past when people are talking about me. The look of sheer astonishment when you answer back in their own language is quite funny. Moreover, I think it’s imperative that we are able to speak an African language in South Africa.

    1. Hi Deon,

      I certainly agree with you on the need to learn an African language. In South Africa, with our ‘rainbow’ of diversity, it’s a fact that most people can speak or at least understand two or more languages.

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