“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in the world spoke the same language?”
That’s what I used to think. It would break down all sorts of barriers. It would unite us all. Every single person sharing one universal language. We could travel wherever we wanted and have no trouble communicating with whoever we wanted.
But that was before. Before I met fascinating people around the world and got involved with events celebrating our multi-cultural world. I eventually realised how infinitely interesting and diverse languages really were.
Today, I share with you five reasons why learning a new language can be magical:
1. It’s a way of instantly connecting.
My first lesson that life taught me about languages. The language barrier that existed there previously? You can well and truly tear that down now.
I’m not entirely sure why it is and it’s only happened a handful of times to me, so I don’t have enough evidence to make a firm conclusion. But I think it’s like when you meet someone and find out you have something in common. Not just a casual interest, but something much deeper. Something connected to your heart, almost. To know you both speak the same language sparks an instant connection.
2. It helps us learn just how intricate wording can be.
I sometimes struggle to say what I want in English, let alone another language!
One of the great things about languages is the phrasing. In each language, the words are strung together in a different way to convey a certain message. Some languages have multiple words for the same thing whereas others are missing entirely, or have their own unique words which can’t neccesarily be translated.
It’s for this very reason that I’m known for watching the same series three times over. I like to know how the dialogue is phrased in another language. (Also useful for picking up new words!)
Because of each language’s intricate phrasing system, this is the exact reason why machine translating doesn’t always work (and can sometimes have hilarious consequences).
3. It can make us appreciate how beautiful a language is.
This is in addition to number 2, each language is beautiful because of how different it is. Personally, I love how they have their own unique sound.
For example, I love that in Cantonese, I can sound like a cartoon and it isn’t weird. (Before this, I’d never really noticed how exaggerated we would sound if we ever spoke English just like English-language cartoons in real life.)
I love the soft purring ‘r’ sound in French that I can never hit and how cute the word ‘pamplemousse’ is.
Something about the Japanese language sounds kind of adorable and the German word ‘Schmetterling’ makes butterflies sound so much cooler.
4. It opens up new doors.
A positive side-effect caused by point number 1 is that you can make new friends. Other ideas are new job opportunities and travel opportunities.
Travel is a good one. Visiting a country abroad will always be a great experience, but it’s even greater when you can speak a little of the language. Even if it’s only a few phrases. There’s something really heart-warming about being able to buy your own breakfast at a local market, speaking in the local language – you start to feel part of a new world.
To immerse yourself into a language, and by extension the culture, is a truly rewarding experience.
Or if nothing else, it allows you to watch your favourite TV show dubbed in a new language 😀
5. It can unite us all.
Sometimes languages hinder us in that we can’t speak comfortably with another person, for fear they won’t understand. So it’s a nice, welcoming feeling when you can both converse together comfortably.
Even if you’re not perfect at that language, it doesn’t take away any of the magic. The effort in trying still counts. It’s really a perfect way for us to come out of our own bubbles and explore what’s out there 🙂