Learn­ing a for­eign lan­guage

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Education Guide -

DID you know that learn­ing a for­eign lan­guage can boost your brain in terms of prob­lem solv­ing abil­i­ties and cre­ativ­ity? While Swahili is es­sen­tial if you’re trav­el­ling in eastern and south­east­ern Africa, learn­ing any for­eign lan­guage has all kinds of use­ful ef­fects, in­clud­ing these three vi­tal ar­eas that will help you boost your per­sonal suc­cess.

Gives you new per­spec­tive:

Learn­ing a lan­guage isn’t sim­ply trans­lat­ing. For ex­am­ple, in English we speak of peo­ple as “he” or “she” but ob­jects are “it” whereas in Malay “dia” can mean all three but in Ger­man, Frau (“woman”) is fem­i­nine and Man (“man”) is mas­cu­line but Mäd­chen (“Girl”) is neu­tral.

One knock-on ef­fect is that forc­ing your mind into new ways of think­ing boosts your cre­ativ­ity and your prob­lem solv­ing.

Bet­ter mul­ti­cul­tural skills:

A lan­guage mir­rors the cul­ture of the peo­ple that cre­ated it, so learn­ing it gives you an in­sight into how other com­mu­ni­ties think. This process means you gain a more pro­found un­der­stand­ing of your own cul­ture too. It will give you in­sight into why you do cer­tain things a cer­tain way, and sug­gest al­ter­na­tive ways of look­ing at the world.

That’s im­por­tant be­cause it means you gain cross-cul­tural per­spec­tive – some­thing that will boost your ca­reer.

We tend to for­get what a strug­gle we had as tiny tots to get oth­ers to un­der­stand us. When you learn a for­eign lan­guage, it’s like be­ing a kid again. Prac­tis­ing new ways of get­ting your mes­sage across can some­times be frus­trat­ing but lots of fun. Not only is this char­ac­ter build­ing but it will help you be a much bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tor.

When you write an e-mail or cre­ate a tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial for your com­pany you’ll have a good in­stinct for what works and what won’t.

Boosts char­ac­ter:

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