Why You Should Pick Up a New Language

By Felicia Chong

“Language is wine upon the lips.” said the English modernist writer, Virginia Woolf. Learning a new language can be daunting for sure but it can also be intoxicating to order a Pains au chocolate (chocolate croissant) in French even if you don’t plan to go to Paris anytime soon. Knowing more than one language is worth your time.

There are many benefits to learning a new language. You become more aware of the nuances of the language you study and it may even carry over to your own native language. Ever wondered what’s so funny about what Chandler Bing said in the popular sitcom ‘Friends’? That’s because he uses a lot of sarcasm in what he says to others and if you don’t have a good grasp of the English language, it may just be crickets noises to you.

Being multi-lingual can also improve your thinking skills. You would have to reset how you learn the language like a myriad of grammar rules, word forms and their meaning, even spellings. This is more so when the language you learn uses different characters or letters than those you are used to. Just think, at the end of that convoluted tunnel, a new horizon opens to you and you will be all the better for it. Don’t abandon the faithful company of ‘Time’ and ‘Patience’ during your journey as language learning takes time, and that’s fine.

People who know more than one language also develops their multi-tasking skills further. How? Well, imagine having to switch from one language to another while communicating and not losing the plot! This can be seen in children who are bilingual - as they tend to pick up new languages seamlessly, especially when different languages are used in the household. Of course, this doesn’t mean if you’re an adult, you won’t be able to master a different language. It’s simply a matter of will.

So if you’ve ever wanted to know what the characters in ‘La Casa de Papel’ are on about, go ahead and learn español. Of course, there are subtitles but a lot of meanings are lost in translation. Wouldn’t it be more satisfying to understand the actual conversation? Take the language challenge today and add polyglot to your list of skills.