Updated: Aug 18
Across America, we are told and taught time and time again that English is all we need. Tragically, far too often this idea perpetuates racist stereotypes against immigrants and those who speak languages other than English; videos pop up all over the internet of people attacking those who speak languages other than English.
Here’s the thing: the belief that English is all we need is an old-time myth that must be squashed out as the world progresses and becomes more globalized. There is no reason to live in the past and teach that English is only language that people should learn; in reality, it is becoming increasingly important for everyone to learn multiple languages.
The World Is Becoming Globalized
The world around us is changing rapidly. Twenty years ago, we couldn’t have imagined just how quickly we would be able to communicate around the world. It once took months for messages to be relayed to other continents; now, everyone and anyone can contact people across the world in less than a second.
Regardless of what type of business you are in, it is extremely likely that there will be international locations for that business; almost everyone is finding ways to move portions of their business overseas. It is increasingly important that we embrace this modern change in culture.
Benefits of Multilingualism
When it comes to knowing multiple languages, the benefits are immense. You will be able to interact with people from countries around the world, and you will be an incredibly useful business asset. There’s also something satisfying about seeing your hard work pay off when you communicate with people from other countries in their own language, rather than hoping everyone can understand bits of English.
Apart from that, you’ll gain tons of cognitive benefits; people that know multiple languages have better critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities, better concentration, better listening skills, and improved memory.
Combatting Language Myths
Despite all of these benefits of learning multiple languages, there are still myths surrounding multilingualism in the United States today. In the past, some families were told to avoid speaking in their native languages, so they didn’t sound foreign; this is a tragic attack on family heritage and culture, and many have improved and become far more comfortable being around foreign cultures.
Still, there are people today who continue to harbor racist beliefs that native English speakers are superior to those who speak other languages. We must work together to combat these myths and teach the importance of respect for everyone.
Learning multiple languages can be difficult, but the results are worth the effort. You will find yourself more able to connect with others and you will gain a new appreciation for the effort of those who have learned English. You will experience a host of cognitive benefits.
At ReDefiners World Languages, we are here to help kids and adults learn important global languages like Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin. Take the time today and sign up for a free virtual class; start experiencing the benefits of multilingualism today.