Multilingual Speakers Have More Clout than You

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“Hello” in multiple languages.

Zach Shell

How important do you think it is to know another language? There are over 6,900 living languages found throughout the world, but Americans tend to know only one: English. It is the most common language spoken in the United States and many other countries, but it’s not the only language spoken within the U.S.

English is closely followed in usage by Spanish in the United States because of the vast amount of immigration in the United States from Spanish speakers from Mexico. Monolingual English speakers are thus at a disadvantage, even in the United States, because of the vast amounts of people who are well versed in a language that isn’t their own.

A language barrier can be seen as an insurmountable wall preventing communication between two people with different cultures and languages. The disadvantage that monolingual speakers put on themselves means that they are limiting their ability to talk with a smaller selection of people around them and throughout the world.

If monolingual people were to spend a few minutes each day to grow their vocabulary and understanding of another popular language, they will not only improve their communication with other people, but also look even better on their job resumes.

Although it may take a while to fully understand and master another language, the benefits of knowing another language vastly outweighs the time you put into learning it. Learning another language can give you an upper hand when visiting other countries (who speak the languages you have learned) as you won’t have to rely on a translator to help facilitate conversation with another person.

Even if you do not plan to travel to other countries, learning a new language is proven to improve overall test scores, according to a 2014 study by Leonardo De Valos, a teacher at Trinity Washington College. A well-liked and cherished teacher at Lakewood High School, Dennis Ebner, says that, “I never really understood English grammar until I learned another language.”

Knowing Spanish has always been something that I have wanted to do as one side of my family has Spanish as their main language. As an English speaker who knows the fundamentals of Spanish, I feel as though knowing another language can be detrimental to your success in some aspects of life.

But will there ever be a universally recognized language? Will everyone use it? Probably not. Do yourself a favor and learn another common language so that you can be that cool guy who can translate for everyone, willingly or unwillingly.