Unexplored Perks of Multilingualism

I have always been fascinated by languages. Think about it- a mere combination of just 26 alphabets helps us to manifest, express and communicate our thoughts, feelings and opinions. Besides, that is just one language. Now imagine there being more than 6500 languages. In other words, 6500 unique ways in which we can communicate the same message. Spellbinding, isn’t it? Having the power to articulate each and every word in more than one way, in more than one language is what intrigues me, and this was why I delved into the sublime world of languages.

Being a bilingual or multilingual has its own benefits. The foremost being the ability to communicate to a multitude of people. Well, not just communicate, but also, connect.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
-Nelson Mandela

Ever wonder why we tend to speak or rather switch to our mother tongue when we are being hysterical? That’s because we tend to express ourselves the best in our native language. For this reason, learning a second language helps us to communicate as well as connect with people in their first language, making the conversations more convivial and the discussions more profound.

I am also of the opinion that the more languages we know, the better we enunciate. This, according to me, is because of two reasons. Firstly, we are likely to stumble upon new words and expressions while learning a new language, hence expanding our lexicon of both the languages. Secondly, we are likely to get acquainted with certain words which are untranslatable in our native language (for instance, déjà vu), thus aiding us to convey our ideas more effectively.

Second-language acquisition proves to have enduring effects on our personality as well (it certainly did have on mine). It not only makes us more expressive, but also pertinent and more self-confident. We are also likely to become more patient, dedicated and persistent in the course of learning a new language. Furthermore, it is proven that the linguistic differences between two languages help us to develop a new perspective, thus giving us an alternative vision of the world (if you wish to know how, watch this video).

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
-Flora Lewis

Language learning also allows us to enjoy the works of art in their original versions. Therefore, learning another language additionally implies being able to relish not only the movies, songs, books or poems, but also the series, quotes, jokes or even memes of that language in their authentic forms, without having to face the language barrier (Trust me, I have never been happier than while reading “The Little Prince” in French). Because, let’s face it, the essence of a word is lost in translation, perhaps due to the fact that we are subjected to the translator’s understanding of the idea and not the artist’s.

Further, in the course of learning a new language, we are unreservedly exposed to the culture of the people speaking that language. This might be either through the didactic materials via which we are learning the language or through the works of art mentioned before. Moreover, it is quite possible to have friends who are native speakers of that language (by means of travel, pen pals, exchange programs or educational visits to the host country, to name a few). This, I speak from experience here, helps us significantly to familiarize ourselves with several social and cultural aspects, consequently giving us a genuine and non-stereotypical insight of their culture and lifestyle. And this is why my exchange program and chats with French correspondents give me a much deeper understanding of the French culture than any movie or book could ever give.

I personally believe that the aforesaid merits are the overriding benefits of language learning. However, there’s more to it. There are numerous other advantages which are commonly known to all, and have therefore not been elaborated upon. These include the various cognitive, health, professional and economic benefits which are briefly summarized in the infographic given below.

Benefits of Language Learning
Source: Google Images

Thus, as can be inferred, there are innumerable ways in which learning a new language pays you. And I, as a multilingual, encourage you to not give language learning a second thought, because whatever be the motive, personal or professional, I assure you that it will definitely change your life for the better, as it certainly did change mine.

-Khushi Goyal

PS: Let me know in the comments below your perspective on language learning, and its perks and effects on your life!

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8 thoughts on “Unexplored Perks of Multilingualism”

  1. I had learnt Punjabi in school, and therefore whenever I go to a gurudwara, I easily connect to the aura. I feel happy and proud when I am able to read and understand the Punjabi words written on sign boards, etc. I also feel connected to the Punjabi culture just because I learnt the language.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely agree with you! Being able to understand words of a different language indeed gives a great sense of joy. We also connect to their culture, like it’s our own..

      Like

  2. I concur with all your points regarding the benefits. What amazes me the most is that the English language has become so ingrained in the Indian psyche, that for most of urbanite millenials, English does NOT seem like a foreign language at all! Hence, I encourage all young Indians to take up ANOTHER foreign language (apart from English) to really reap all the above mentioned benefits…just like yourself! 🙂
    PS:
    I envy that you could enjoy the subtle nuances of ‘Le Petit Prince,’ while I will have to settle for the translated English version (since I ain’t a French speaker!) 😟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! That’s because English is a medium of education in India.
      As regards Le Petit Prince, why don’t you start learning french? I can give you french lessons if you want 😉

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  3. I have always personified languages… For me, learning a new language is like befriending some unknown person and slowly being able to get into his heart. The fact that I am now able to articulate my ideas and opinions in more that one way has given me immense confidence and courage to express them more freely, as well as the humbleness to admit that how much ever I think I have chosen the perfect word to say something, there is always this possibility of saying it in a better way… 😊

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  4. I’ve been learning French for four years or so now and one of the biggest perks for me has been accessing more media. There’s so much matter in French that isn’t translated into other languages and I’m so glad that I’m not deprived of it as I would’ve been otherwise ! Another one has been the ability to understand the French language and French cultural contexts in English media as well. For instance, I’m so grateful about the fact that I comprehend more or less the French dialogues in movies like Inglourious Basterds, The Walk, Monte Carlo, Bastille Day, The Hundred-Foot Journey, etc !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you!
      French words are increasingly used in our day to day lives, so much so that they’re found in the English newspapers as well! And it feels great when we can understand words like “sans”, “tête-à-tête”, “faux-pas” etc without having to translate them.

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