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Why learn a Foreign Language

Currently less than 6% of the world’s population speaks English as their native language.  The list of reasons why people should learn another language is increasing almost as fast as the human population itself.  There are so many reasons why one should learn another language it is very much possible that someone could right their dissertation on the very subject.  In fact, one could do research on all the reasons why people choose not to learn a foreign language and I would guess that all the results would point to one of two things: either there isn’t an opportunity to effectively become fluent in the language long enough to remember it OR the person is just narrow minded.  These days the latter is becoming more and more the only reason why someone wouldn’t try to learn another language.

So, as you review the following list of reasons why you SHOULD learn a foreign language of your choosing, consider this: learning a foreign language is easier than most people think and the consequences of not learning another language are far greater than the benefits of staying monolingual.

Practical Reasons for Learning a Foreign Language

1. You can increase your IQ.  Studies are showing everyday that children who study foreign languages have a higher IQ than their monolingual counterparts.  In fact, children who start learning a second language from birth usually have an easier time acquiring additional languages. 

2. You will open areas of your brain that are a little dusty and could use the exercise.  As we all get older, our short term and long term memory fails us time and again.  The key to living long and healthy is to exercise that part of our brain more often.  Learning a language that is not native to us is indeed a very fun way to keep the brain in shape.

3. You can talk to your neighbor in his native language.

4. You want to be friends with someone who doesn’t speak your native language very well.

5. People have told you that you are narrow minded and you want to prove them wrong.

6. You can travel around the world and bargain in the native language, thus saving you lots of money because you will seem like a local.

7. You can expand your career in multiple ways including getting a raise and moving on up the career ladder to another position.

Ethical Reasons for Learning a Foreign Language

1. It is your duty to try to make this world a better place by learning about other cultures.  Learning another language is like saying yes to learning about someone’s culture.

2. Some languages are actually becoming non exisistent because no one wants to learn about the language because they don’t believe it will benefit them in anyway.  Think about that…somewhere out there a language will be forever wiped away from our human history all because people who already know a dominant language refuses to learn another.

3. For those who immigrate to your country and are fighting hard for basic rights, you can join their fight at least in solidarity because by learning their language you will understand and relate more to their culture and way of doing things.

4. For those who live in very poor countries across the globe you will be able to travel to those places and perform voluntary work in the name of peace and unity.

Logistical Reasons for Learning a Foreign Language

1. The one and only reason in this category is that you will be forced to anyway.  Already in Europe there are many countries that have bilingual or even trilingual people because there is such a collision of languages that in order to function in the community you must know more than a language.

2. Once in college, you may find that subjects you are very interested in studying in depth are mainly published in a foreign language.  For example, a lot of old psychology theories were published in German and the artistic movement of surrealism was mainly in French.

3. You want to live in another country for an extended period of time and you do not want to stand out or look like a complete idiot.

4. There is a community emergency and everyone is trying to communicate with one another and you want to be able to communicate effectively, even if on a basic survival level.

Now, after considering all of these reasons for learning a foreign language, you might ask yourself, which language you should learn.  Well, some might say just stick to the European languages because those are the most widespread.  The most popular European languages include French and Spanish which combined are spoken in pretty much half of the world, however, there are many corners of this globe and Asian languages also share a rich cultural diversity as well.  Asian languages like Mandarin (Chinese), Thai, and Vietnamese also deserve equal press time. 
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