The languages tend to get a bad rap at schools, with ever decreasing student numbers further proof of that. But there are so many advantages to speaking another language, so why aren’t we better at encouraging our children to get on board? And why do less than a quarter of the UK adult population speak anything other than English?
Speaking another language broadens your horizons. Imagine being able to converse in Spanish to your waiter on the Costa del Sol, or negotiate a private tour of the Coliseum in Rome… Or how about further afield? If you speak a little Portuguese you’ll be able to chat to locals in Angola or Mozambique, while French fluency will help in Madagascar and Senegal. Of course, wherever you go in the world, the likelihood is that you’ll come across someone who can speak English to you, but never underestimate the power of a ‘s’il-vous-plaît’ or ‘gracias’ in someone’s native tongue. Quite apart from the obvious benefit of avoiding being overcharged in the market, being able to hold a conversation with someone in their own language can open so many doors. You can learn so much more about people, and their country and culture; hand gestures only go so far.
Language skills are also a great professional asset. Global organisations are twice as likely to employ someone with a second language. Not only can they be put to good use internally, for example deciphering emails from international clients or organising foreign travel, but they are prime candidates for transfer to offices in other countries. And who wouldn’t want to be seconded to San Marino? For business purposes, the best languages to study would be French, German, Spanish, Polish or Mandarin.
If you need another reason, speaking another language makes you smarter. It has been proven to improve brain function and aids your cognitive process for other tasks such as problem solving and negotiating. It also boosts your memory power – the brain is like a mental muscle, and the more ‘exercise’ it gets, the stronger it becomes.
So what are you waiting for? Business Language Services offers bespoke language training at all levels, and we’d love to discuss your requirements to see how we can help get you on the road to multilingualism.