The knowledge of having a second language is powerful.
Language is a part of who we are. It separates us from many species.
Why is language so important? I am not going to get into the history of language and where it originated or why. However I do want to discuss how knowing more than one language can do more for you than you already know.
My name is a give away to people who can relate. I always get asked if I am russian and If I can speak it. Luckily I can. Well I am not exactly russian, I was born in Lithuania. I won't bore you with the details of that.
Before I get into it, I want to mention that yes it wasn't always easy being a foreigner especially being young in a new country. I always got judged, insulted and teased, go figure in a multicultural country by other foreigners. This also isn't what this post is about.
Speaking Russian has given me a competitive advantage. You may wonder how. It is easier for me to build rapport with people who can speak and understand it.
Do you feel when you share something in common with someone you tend to like them and trust them a bit more? That's how it works with language.
Having more than one language increases your intelligence and memory, because it is exercising your brain and challenges you to concentrate. Not only do you become a better problem solver but it also boosts your creativity.
I mean how can knowing more than one language be bad, it cannot! It is easier for travel, especially having russian as my native tongue. USSR had a major influence in many european countries under the iron curtain rule. Russian was the first language learned in many of those countries.
Even though Lithuania has its own language, Russian was the primary spoken and educated language in schools. Now I wasn't old enough to go to school in Lithuania when I left there to go to Israel. I kept a strong relationship with it because it has been spoken with my family.
I thank my grandparents who are visiting me now in Canada for teaching me the basics when I went to visit them when I was really young.
It also builds up your self confidence. Mastering a new skill makes you more interesting than you already are.
Forget about the whole old dogs can't learn new tricks. In fact that myth has been busted. It is proven that older people can understand and learn another language just as quick.
The only thing I see is the accent that is not easily expunged. I believe the reason is because the tongue has gotten used to a certain movement. Retraining that is hard.
I get told by many of my relatives that I have a Canadian accent, I didn't know Canadians had an accent. Although when I hear americans speak I can pick up on the accent.
My point is that you should at least know two languages. Whether you are going to learn a new one or already know one. Do not take it for granted.
I never knew that there was a benefit to having a second language. I thought the only benefit was that "oh great I don't have to learn Mandarin, French or Spanish in school since I already know Russian" Until I began to travel and network I realized the perks, benefits and value having a second language gives me.
I forgot to mention I used to speak 3 languages. However I am sad to say that I know longer remember Hebrew. The reason is because I have not had a chance to practice it with anyone since I have left Israel. It's never to late to relearn it.
I have been practicing some French with Memrise and Duolingo. Two great online sites that educate you for free on learning a foreign language. The reason I have been self teaching French is because my girlfriend speaks it fluently.
What you choose to do with this information is up to you.
To be continued....