Languages bridge gaps

by Paige Bourquin

Why should you learn a second language?

There are multiple perks to learning multiple languages. One of the main things is a financial benefit. People make 5%-20% more for being bilingual. Another thing is it opens up more things for you to be able to access by being able to break that language barrier. Another thing is the bragging rights. You can talk bad about people without them knowing and it’s cool to be able to say, “I speak ___!”

What language should you choose?

For native English speakers, there are many different languages to learn. If you want to go the easy route just to get a few languages known, you would want to go for Norwegian, according to Babble.com. It’s a close relative to English and has basic grammar rules. It does not have many native speakers, so your use of the language is limited.

Two languages that are good to know are Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Spanish is another language that is easy for English speakers to understand, with roughly 600 million speakers. This would be a good language for jobs and to be able to converse with roughly 13% of the American population. The next best language to learn is Mandarin Chinese. It’s the number one spoken language, with over 900 million native speakers. It is often the hardest language for native English speakers to learn, with it having thousands of characters to memorize, and a completely different way to pronounce things. 

What’s the best way to learn a language?

There have many different pieces of research to try and figure out the best way to learn a language, but everything really boils down to what works best per person. One way is to take in-person classes with native speakers, but this can be very expensive and not accessible to most. If you have self-dedication, you can use language learning apps such as Babble and Duolingo. Babble has fewer languages. Another great way to reinforce skills is reading books in the language and watching television with subtitles, as this is a good way to hear the language spoken.

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