Mul­tilin­gual­ism pays off

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Education Guide -

DID you know that learn­ing a for­eign lan­guage can boost your brain in terms of prob­lem­solv­ing abil­i­ties and cre­ativ­ity?

While Swahili is es­sen­tial if you are trav­el­ling in eastern and south­east­ern Africa, learn­ing any for­eign lan­guage has plenty of ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing th­ese three vi­tal ar­eas that will help boost your per­sonal suc­cess.

Gives you new per­spec­tives

Learn­ing a lan­guage is not sim­ply about trans­lat­ing words and phrases. For ex­am­ple, in English we speak of peo­ple as “he” or “she”, but ob­jects are “it” whereas in Ba­hasa Malaysia, dia can mean all three.

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 prob­lem-solv­ing skills.

Bet­ter mul­ti­cul­tural skills

A lan­guage mir­rors the cul­ture of the peo­ple who cre­ated it, so learn­ing it gives you in­sight into how other com­mu­ni­ties think. This process means that you gain a more pro­found un­der­stand­ing of your own cul­ture too.

It will also give you in­sight into why you do cer­tain things a cer­tain way and sug­gest al­ter­na­tive ways of look­ing at the world.

This is im­por­tant be­cause it means you gain cross-cul­tural per­spec­tive, which will boost your ca­reer.

Boosts char­ac­ter

As adults, we tend to for­get what a strug­gle we had as tod­dlers to get oth­ers to un­der­stand us. When you learn a for­eign lan­guage, it is some­what like be­ing a child again.

Prac­tis­ing new ways of get­ting your message across can be frus­trat­ing and an­noy­ing, but it can also be fun.

Not only is this a char­ac­ter­build­ing ex­er­cise, it will also help you be­come a much bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tor.

When you write an e-mail or cre­ate a tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tise­ment for your com­pany, you will have a fine in­stinct for what works and what will not.

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