In human evolution history, the modes of communication have shifted from the primitive cave drawings to the introduction of written and spoken language. It is said that the first language was spoken almost 2, 50,000 years ago. It was only when trade was made accessible that a specific language will bleed outside of one’s community and absorbed by another. The ability to pick up different languages was deemed ideal even back in those days as it helped to grow their business and expand their network. In today’s context, it is more vital now that globalization and trade are deeply entrenched in the world’s modus operandi. Foreign languages are considered to be essential tools in several industries. Singaporeans are often seen to opt for German classes, French classes and Japanese classes to boost their language skill sets.
While there are thousands of languages to exist in the world, to be fluent in more than two languages is an uncommon feat. Even in Singapore where, the education enforces lessons on the three different mother tongues, the younger generation is said to be more comfortable speaking in English than in their mother tongue. It is progressive on the government’s part as knowing more than one language has various advantages. Let me list down the top 5 reasons for being multi-lingual.
Superior communication skills
This is a no brainer. Considering language is used as a tool of communication, undoubtedly, somebody who knows how to communicate in more than one language has better communication skills compared to somebody who doesn’t. Other than broadening your vocabulary bank, several cultural nuances are better explained in their native languages.
Children that were taught more than four languages within the tender age of five could grasp more advanced concepts than a child who has exposure to only one.
Enhanced cognitive skills
Studies have proven that any individual who can switch between two languages would also possess better cognitive abilities in reasoning and planning. These individuals are found to be better problem solvers, task managers and decision-makers compared to their counterparts.
Being multi-lingual helps immensely at workplaces, especially if you are looking at a global role. Your resume will take precedence as you possess a skill that you could value add to the company.
Code-switching is defined as the ability to alternate between two or more languages. However, it is worth to note that it is more than that. Every language is entrenched in a deep history and nuanced cultural scripts. A multilingual person is one that has absorbed not only the language but the other facets that built the language. You will be able to understand the culture and traditions, making you more tolerant than most. You can engage in several discourses and switch your vernacular from one language to another while throwing in your different understanding of their cultures.
Healthy old age
Several studies showed that the onset of old age syndromes likes Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be delayed when you are engaged in brain exercises. Some of the more conventional ways to do so are by picking up a new skill, including learning new languages. People who can speak two languages are mentally healthier than most monolinguals. They also possess better memory and thinking skills, thus delaying the onset of cognitive impairment.
The above are just a few of the advantages that multi-linguals have over monolinguals. So why wait? There are various language centres in Singapore that you could head down to take up, for instance, a Japanese course. You have nothing to lose!