Some say the internet makes learning a foreign language needless these days. Because there are apps like Google Translate and Siri, people wonder: is it really necessary to learn a language anymore?
Sure, the accuracy is not yet perfect in these apps, but it’s close..close enough right? – wrong!
While automatic translators can be useful, a simple test of translating an item from eBay or Amazon will soon show you beyond basic conversation automatic translators can struggle.
This is because there is a huge difference between translating and talking. A huge difference between being understood, and really communicating. Instead of a foreign language being needless, we at Ambytion know what you do: there has never been such an exciting time to learn a new language. This is especially because so many benefits of language learning are overlooked.
So sure, google translator is fine if you just need to ask for directions when travelling – but what happens when you arrive at your destination. Shall you speak in your business meeting? Shall you make friends at that party on the weekend? Being able to really speak the language gives you an authentic way to connect with people that a app or phrasebook shall never be able to beat.
Learning a language is also a lot of fun. Talking and communication with native speakers of the language is where you apply all you have learned in a language to a real world setting. This offers you the chance to really make great use of your new skills to build friendships and associations with others around you – and because conversations flow quickly and easily – its never a big deal if you make a mistake or two with a word along the way.
Language is not just about words and phrases but culture. Special words and sayings impact people’s views on things. How else to explain to someone from a non-English background why a vintage car is ‘cool’, a perfect beer was ‘unforgettable’, and that gelato you had in Rome was ‘priceless’?
People who speak a different language learn how other individuals and groups think – so even if you take a while to master a second language – you will learn very quickly a greater understanding of a different culture and way of thinking. This can broaden your understanding, interests, and happiness all over in life!
It can also be done in a really simple way. You do not need to go speak to a professor or language or famous artist to really understand a new language and culture. Instead, just by learning to read and write in the language, you’ll be able to read news online, watch videos, and comment on social media in a way that really builds your understanding of how people who live in different cultures think, work, and live.
Language learning is also wonderful not only for the relationships you can build and the understanding you can gain – but it is also wonderful for your health. It is known and well-established that bilingual speakers have a lower rate of contracting alzheimer’s disease.
While it’s known many factors can contribute to good health or someone contracting an illness, language speakers are held to enjoy the benefit of a slower aging process across their mind, as the skill and agility required to ‘think in two languages’ ensures helps keep at bay any of the challenges that can come with aging. This is true not just of alzheimer’s but of health and wellbeing across the board.
While there is a distinction between science and sociology, the very ability for bilingual speakers to engage people across multiple cultures, engage with different perspectives, and even travel easily between multiple countries all contributes to a bilingual speaker’s ability to feel they live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
There are all those fashionable articles online ‘speak perfect french in 30 days’ or ‘learn Japanese in just 2 weeks’. These are not accurate. Language learning does take time, and planning, and goals.
But, what is also great about language learning is just like playing a guitar, you don’t need to have mastered the skill to be able to get great use and enjoyment out of it. Even if you don’t yet speak the language perfectly, native speakers of a language will always be impressed you can speak their language, appreciate the effort you have put in, and always be ready to help continue the conversation even if you are unsure of the right word or phrase to use.
We live in a globalised digital economy, and one that shall only grow further. While technology has made the distance and time zones easier to navigate, it has also made personal interaction more difficult. Sure, you can talk to someone on email or Skype – but can you connect?
Ambytion is about building. Step by step, goal by goal, our team believes the potential for you to grow and construct a life that is diverse, fulfilling, and enjoyable is entirely possible with the right system in place.
With a world of resources at your disposal on the internet, and so many foreign language speakers online ready to chat and engage with you, this is the most wonderful time in all of human history to so easily learn a language by yourself, or with your friends.
Use Ambytion and you’ll be able to effectively track how to grow your language skills step by step. You can do this by making goals and milestones for yourself – like finish that phrasebook, start that course, and plan that trip overseas to learn the language in-country. Soon enough you’ll be confident and speak like a true native in a second tongue – and that sounds good in any language!