The Austrian philosopher of the early 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein, knew way ahead of his time that being bilingual had many benefits. Today, it’s estimated that more than 3 billion people are bilingual. We now know that being bilingual causes an increase in cognitive function, the ability to multi-task, and focus, but it also has many cultural and personal benefits.
New understanding and appreciation for culture
Works of art, such as music, novels, and cinematic works, are best depicted in their native language. Sure, if you translate it to another language it can still be understood. However there’s often a deeper meaning in its native language.
More job opportunities
Employers today are seeking prospective employees who are bilingual. This helps the company connect with more people and gain more business. If you speak a language that is rarer, it can land you a unique job in places like the government where they need specific language translators and delegates.
If you like to travel the world, knowing more than one language can help you navigate a foreign land. There are many languages that are similar to another and share similar words and sentence structures. For example, if you speak fluent Spanish and you travel to Italy, you will find that you’re able to understand more Italian than you may have expected. This is because both Spanish and Italian are part of the romance language family. Same applies for Slavic languages and others that are similar.
Ability to understand colloquialisms
When one language is translated to another, the meaning is not always easily understood. Occasionally, there is a need for culture context so the slang isn’t lost in translation.
Sense of connection with one another
Many people today are bilingual because of their family history. For example, you may have grown up speaking English in your home and at school but you know how to speak Greek so you can also communicate with your grandparents who still live in Greece. Knowing multiple languages keeps us all connected and can offer new connections with different people we meet.
Cultivate deeper connections with people
When you’re able to speak someone else’s native language, they’re able to tell you more about themselves which can lead to richer relationships between friends, colleagues, customers and even strangers.
An increase in self-expression
There have been articles written proving that multilinguals can have multiple personalities. Some languages come off as more harsh, or blunt, whereas others can come across as eloquent and soft. If you’re multilingual, you’re also better at expressing yourself because you may know a word or emotional expression in a different language that just doesn’t exist in your native language.