Tuesday 15 March 2016

9 reasons to go learn a new language!

I had a fascination for learning new languages from a very young age. I don't exactly know why, but I wanted to learn 'all' the languages that there are in the world. While growing up, that 'all', gradually became 'as many as possible'.

Even though I might have had to compromise on that, the fascination for languages is still alive. I have always felt that more the number of languages we know, the lesser the barriers we have. These barriers isolate us from people, places, culture, knowledge and all such wonderful things out there in the world for us to see and experience. Want some more reasons? I'll give you 9


Learn a few words of the language spoken in your next travel destination, and trust me, you will transform your entire travel experience. Travelling is not just about visiting places and taking pretty pictures. A 'buenos dia
s' or 'Quoi de neuf' is enough to get you warm smiles and great hospitality. You will find yourself so much more connected to that place and their people, and that for me is a very important aspect of travelling.


We absorb aspects of culture from a lot of sources. It might be from the places we travel, books we read, music we listen to, movies we watch and so on. Doing all that in one language is like having one flavour of ice cream all life. As soon as we switch to another language, we learn something new, and subconsciously, imbibe a few aspects in us, which stays with us forever.


When you learn a new language, you unlock treasures of knowledge attached to that particular language, culture, place, its history, facts, traditions and a whole lot more. Whether you consciously try or not, tiny, seemingly unimportant things will also help you learn a lot of things.


I cannot ascertain it from my experience, but research does suggests that learning a new language keeps the brain more active. Studies show that multilingual subjects fare better in standardised tests than monolingual peers.


Who won't be impressed if you can say 'I'm a rabbit' in 8 different languages? And imagine you go to some other part of the world, and you can speak a few words of the native tongue. Trust me, the locals will gaze you with the same admiration like people view Hillary Clinton when standing next to Donald Trump!


Learning a new language boosts your confidence enormously. It helps dispel your doubts and fears very effectively and you discover a new zeal when you are communicating with other people. Add to it, the constant encouragement and motivation which you will get from people speaking different languages, for speaking different languages, and you will have an endless dose of 'felix felicis' (Harry Potter reference; a potion called 'liquid luck') with you.


Learning a new language will suddenly open unexpected doors for you, at least in terms of perspective. The same thing which you thought was the only explanation all your life, a new language might just change it at one go. If you cannot relate to what I am talking about, I will give you an example from my own experience. Being brought up an Assamese, I need fish to survive. If someone would have just told me that Gujaratis are vegetarians, I would consider them unfortunate and unreasonable. But getting soaked in their culture and being a part of them (language played an important role here), I understood their take on it and suddenly I broadened my view of the world, albeit in a small way.


If none of the above reasons have awakened an interest in you, let me tell you, you increase your chances of getting employed manifold if you are bilingual, or even better, multilingual. In the current globalised world, the companies are constantly expanding overseas and dealing with clients all over the world. So not a bad idea to engage yourself in learning a bit of an alternative language.


Even if none of the above reasons were valid, I would still opt to learn a new language simply because it is so much fun. There are so many ways to learn a new language. We are well within our rights to go creative and crazy in the process of learning it. It requires making mistakes like a baby does when he/she learns the mother tongue, and it only helps cheer you up everytime you fail in the process of saying 'Au revoir et bonne nuit'


  1. I really need such posts to boost my self-motivation. For many years I've been trying to learn Spanish, but my knowledge of this beautiful language still leaves much to be desired. In my defense, I do know how to say "I'm a rabbit" in Spanish :) My native languages are Ukrainian and Russian. I speak fairly good English, which was rather challenging to learn without proper exposure, and rudimentary Hindi, which I do hope to improve (lack of exposure is no excuse here :))And what languages do you speak?

    1. your repertoire of languages are quite impressive, I must say. They will get you out of trouble almost anywhere in the planet!
      Well Assamese is my native language, spoken in parts of north-east India. I speak fluent English, Hindi and Gujarati. I can understand Bengali completely, but I can't speak much of it. If people are talking in Marathi or Kacchhi, I can understand a fair bit, but honestly they don't count as languages I speak. I have been trying to learn Spanish for a while now. It might be months before I can frame sentences without actually translating each English word to Spanish and then stringing them together, but I can definitely say 'I'm a rabbit' in Spanish with ease.