A hundred years ago, speaking more than one language was synonymous with status and authority, while learning English as a second language was unthinkable and a practice reserved for only a few. This, however, has changed dramatically. With the emergence of the Internet and technology, spatial and temporal limitations have been lifted and access to information has become more democratic.
Watching movies or TV shows, listening to music, reading books or diving into the ocean of content offered by the Internet are just some of the daily activities that could be simplified by learning English. Nowadays, knowing English is like having a magic key that opens doors that Spanish, and other languages, cannot.
Speaking English not only allows us to watch TV series without subtitles and understand the lyrics of our favorite songs, it also allows us to access premium content not available in other languages, get a cosmopolitan education, achieve unique job opportunities, learn about other cultures and communicate with anyone, anywhere.
Learning a new language, whatever it may be, requires personal growth, organization and time spent learning each day until you know it. While it may take a while to learn English, don’t be discouraged. The most important thing to do when learning a new language is to be daring enough to put it into practice without the fear of making a fool of yourself.
According to the latest edition of Ethnologue Magazine, there are 7,117 languages in the world, but English is the language with “official” status in the most countries. More than a quarter of all the countries in the world, or 59 nations, have Constitutions defining English as their mother tongue. This means that the language spoken in both England and the United States is the third most-spoken language in the world as a native language, with 378 million speakers, following Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, with 909 million and 442 million, respectively.
English is the universal language par excellence. It is, in short, the most widely-spoken and learned language in the world, which was confirmed by the World Economic Forum in 2015, when it noted that, by then, there were more than 1.5 billion speakers. Furthermore, according to the study “The Importantance of Learning English in Today (sic) World“, published in 2018, “one-in-five people can speak or at least understand English.” The same study points out the importance of English in the world: “It is called the main window of the world, which means that English gives us the vision of the diverse progress that is taking place in the world.”
No matter where we are on the planet, using English to ask for a hint or information will always get a satisfactory answer. Moreover, the language that dominates the world is also the common language for business, international communication, trade and finance. The latter has become quite clear with the Covid-19 global pandemic, as all official information, research and news about the vaccine has been transmitted first in English, and then in the other languages.
There are many reasons to learn English. Here is a list of eight that you can’t overlook.
Speaking English can multiply your job offers. In this globalized and connected world, regardless of the area of work, multinational companies and organizations require that their workers speak English, as it is known worldwide as the language of business and international trade. Don’t be left out of your dream job just because you don’t speak English!
The best universities in the world teach their classes in English, so speaking the language will give you access to top-notch educational content. In addition, the most current and complete news and information is produced in English first, and then translated into other languages, so knowing English will allow you to access scientific and academic texts, research, and other information. According to the statistics portal for market data, Statista, 52.3% of all Internet content is in English, while 5% corresponds to Spanish.
Despite the fact that there are more than 7,000 languages in the world, English is the most spoken language, so, no matter where you go, you will be able to make yourself understood without a problem. Imagine that you are in a remote place with foreigners from various countries and they all speak different languages. After a few minutes, they will all automatically start speaking in English, because it is recognized as a universal language.
And, if your thing is traveling alone, no matter where you go or what culture you’re surrounded by, there will surely be more than one sign in English, or someone who can give you some indication of what you need, even if you end up talking like Tarzan. On many occasions, language can be a barrier, but it is also said that language can open doors for you. Learning English will allow you to understand other cultures, lifestyles and see the world differently.
There’s a reason they say that you best learn English by putting it into practice 100%, speaking it live and in person with people who speak the language natively. Today, there are many academies and courses that can be taken abroad and that allow you to live an approximately one-year adventure, in which you can travel across different countries and speak with everyone you meet, whether in stores, with waiters, going to parties, or meeting new friends, amongst other uses. What are you waiting for?
Nowadays, being multifaceted is a quality and almost a requirement for many jobs and parts of everyday life. Quickly transitioning, however, from one task to fully engage in another can be a great challenge for someone who is not used to it. The American Psychological Association explains “although the costs of changing focus can be relatively small, sometimes just a few tenths of a second per change can add up to large amounts when people repeatedly change from one task to another. Therefore, multitasking may seem efficient at first glance, but, in reality, it may take longer in the end and involve more errors. Meyer has said that even brief mental blocks created by task shifting can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s productive time.”
Therefore, learning a second language that involves studying grammatical laws, accents, and words makes people more adept at changing tasks and their productivity is not affected by moving between one task and another.
Watching shows and movies and listening to your favorite songs will not be the same after knowing English. After learning the language, it will no longer matter if there are subtitles for a movie, since you’ll forget about them, and you’ll even be able to go to the movies abroad without a problem.
In addition, you will be able to optimize your leisure time with something that is 100% worthwhile and that will be very useful in many aspects of your life. According to a study by London-based research firm Global/Wrblndex that analyzed data from 45 of the world’s largest Internet markets, we now spend an average of 143 minutes a day on social networking sites or applications. In addition, since the last measurement was taken in 2012, that figure has increased by 53 minutes.
Learning a new language can significantly delay the onset of some brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. The 2013 research “Bilingualism delays age at onset of dementia, independent of education and immigration status” examined 648 patients diagnosed with dementia, of which 391 were bilingual. It examined the influence of the number of languages spoken, education, occupation, and other potentially interactive variables. Finally, the results showed that the bilingual patients had developed dementia 4.5 years later than the monolingual ones.
Learning a second language can be a fun personal challenge, as you work on skills such as persistence and perseverance. To reach the goal of thinking, understanding, writing and speaking fluent English, you must first lose the fear of making a fool of yourself, and become daring. At least there’s the advantage that English is said to be one of the easiest languages to learn in the world.
Secondly, it will be crucial to dedicate a defined amount of time in your daily schedule, so knowing how to organize yourself will be crucial. Also, just by going to classes or practicing the language, you’ll be able to meet new people and, why not, make new friends!
Don’t be left behind! Learning a second language has many benefits in terms of work, personal, health and education. Knowing English will allow you to communicate with anyone, anywhere, learn about other cultures, and have new professional and educational opportunities. It’s never too late to start; you just need the will to organize yourself and to allocate some time every day.
Today, there are many alternatives to courses for learning in your country, online or abroad. Mobile applications, YouTube channels and academies, amongst others, can make your learning much more fun.