The American journalist Flora Lewis famously said that “Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things but learning another way to think about things.” When you speak more than one language, you see the world differently. The words that describe one object may have different nuances in other languages that allow you to discover unexpected aspects you would not even consider. Besides, bilingualism does wonderful things to your brain. Let’s see how and why.
What Does Being Bilingual Mean?
Strictly speaking, being bilingual means having the ability to speak two languages and use them in your daily life. Bilingual refers to people as well as places, as some parts of the world have two or more official languages. For example, the official languages of Canada are English and French.
The Advantages of Bilingualism
Besides opening a window into another culture, speaking one or more languages other than your own has some serious advantages.
- You can communicate with more people in different countries.
- Languages raise your cultural awareness and sensitivity.
- Speaking another language gives you a competitive edge over other candidates for a job.
- Because you can pick and choose the best words and phrases to describe something, you exercise creative code-switching.
Why Speaking Languages Is Good for Your Brain
Learning two languages simultaneously helps children’s brains to develop enhanced executive control. What it means is that the brain can manage higher cognitive processes, like problem-solving. Also, the mind becomes more flexible and agile. A bilingual person can sustain attention and switch between tasks efficiently. As a bonus, adults who can speak more than one language seem to be able to delay the symptoms of degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s. That is, the mastery of other languages has a protective effect on cognitive decline. More on brain health here.
English as a Lingua Franca
For starters, a lingua franca is a third language that two speakers who speak different native languages use to communicate. Latin and French were used as lingua francas at different times in the past. Nowadays, the language of business and technology is English. In 2022, around 1.5 billion people worldwide spoke English either natively or as a second language.
So, the ability to speak English is crucial in getting a job in certain fields, like IT, tourism, aviation, or diplomacy.
Business English Courses and Workshops
The English Services team works closely with clients to help them achieve their language goals and improve their communication skills. We use a variety of methodologies, like mind mapping, gamification, LEGO ® Serious Play, and Points of You ®. Additionally, we have a team of dedicated content developers who create the material for our lessons.
We offer blended lessons through our e-learning platform, workshops, webinars, and double-impact programs. Get in touch today to find out more about our services.