1. Learning Languages Supports Career Advancement
Learning any foreign language, whether it is English, or any other language, can improve career prospects since our world is becoming more and more diverse and digital. Researchers have found that people who speak two or three foreign languages are better at focusing on key information. Because of that, they are more efficient at multitasking and completing jobs on time without much supervision. The memory of bilingual learners is sharper, and their communication and creative skills are likely more advanced compared to monolingual people.
Bilingual employees are also considered to be a valuable asset for a majority of businesses since they can work with customers in different languages. Bilinguals build up customers confidence and they can level up the company’ online presence by translating and distributing the content to a broader global audience. So we can draw the conclusion that sufficient knowledge of a second or a third language is a huge plus in everyone's business portfolio.
But should we forget about our native language while learning a new language? I would say, no we should not. In the contrary, our native language can help us to learn a new language much faster, if learning is done correctly. In my practice of teaching English to my EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students I use text books, songs, fables, folk tales, and other materials that are written in both languages simultaneously ( the English Language and the native language of my students ).
This parallel model of teaching languages makes a huge difference in my student's lives as they feel respect and appreciation to both languages, and they become sufficiently ready to the demands of the global economy. Not to mention some fun that kids experience during our lessons regardless of their age and nationality.
In the early 2002, during my employment with the World Bank (Washington DC) where I worked as an Educational Consultant and HR Coordinator, I focused on the same idea of tolerance and appreciation of art, traditions, languages, and culture of people of different nationalities.
Recently, I was invited to participate in the series of the citywide cultural events that aim to honor the diverse population of Brooklyn ( NY). Starting in the Spring of 2019 I'll coordinate and develop a couple of programs that underline the importance of sport (soccer, tennis, ping-pong, yoga), music, and language education among Russian, Georgian, Belorussian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and Italian speaking communities of that borough.
2. Learning Languages Makes it Easy to Study and Travel Abroad
Understanding foreign cultures and languages is “a must-have” skill in today's global economy. Travel, study, and making a business abroad is made more pleasant and easier when you immerse yourself in the language and the culture of a country that you are visiting, working at or relocating to. Studying a new language also creates a more positive attitude and less prejudice toward people who are different, and therefore it enforces peaceful communication, trade, and relationships.
3. Learning Languages Delivers Fantastic Health Benefits
Scientists say that studying another language has fantastic health benefits as it prevents the brain from damage and diseases which are associated with urban stress, pollution, traumas or human aging. According to statistics and data on global public health, the earliest age of people that can be prone to Alzheimer’s disease is around the age of 30 years old. So the earlier we start exercising our brains the better our health will be in the future.
What are the ways of learning new languages faster?
There is a variety of fun ways of learning (and teaching) a new language. They include: basic reading and translation, watching a movie with subtitles, listening to the songs, taking an online course, visiting a foreign country or speaking with your language partner. I, for example, recommend watching movies and using interlinear methods and books to learn the English Language.
As I mentioned it earlier, I use interlinear methods in my own teaching practices with my EFL students. For instance, one of the books my students love called: Learn Russian with Short Stories: Interlinear Russian to English (Learn Russian with Interlinear Stories for Beginners and Advanced Readers).Each book contains a few familiar stories that are written in two languages. The new vocabulary grows very fast and our discussions after reading these books are always engaging and fun.
If you have a child and you want to give him or her a chance to study a new language, you should consider playful language apps or learning the language using your child's favorite toy with multiple small parts like Charlotte Dollhouse.Through playing with such toys kids memorize new vocabulary with ease.
Remember though, that digital resources or casual conversation are not the only ways of learning a foreign language. It is always beneficial to have the guidance of a real language teacher who can navigate you or your child through some complications of new learning. The method that you'll choose has to communicate with your soul, it should speak to your mind and it should be enjoyable and meaningful.
In my following articles I'll write about learning new languages with TV shows and foreign films, so stay tuned, if you like. But for now take a look at one of the fun episodes of the TV show called "Friends" that all language teachers love. I choose one with the English subtitles, but feel no pressure about reading them, just enjoy the show!