4 reasons to learn a new language (TED talk)
Engilsh now is on its way to becoming the world's universal language, for better or for worse. Let's face it, it's the language of the internet, it's the language of finance, it's the language of air traffic control, of popular music, diplomacy -- English is everywhere.
It's been predicted that at the end of the century almost all of the languages that exist now -- there are about 6,000 -- will no longer be spoken. There will only be some hundreds left. Why bother to learn another one when it's getting to the point where almost everybody in the world will be able to communicate in one?
I think there are a lot of reasons, but I first want to address the one that you're probably most likely to have heard of. And that is the idea that a language channels your thoughts, that the vocabulary and the grammar of different languages gives everybody a different kind of acid trip.
To go into a culture and to only ever process people through that kind of skrim curtain is to never truly get the culture. And so to the extent that hundreds of languages will be left, one reason to learn them is because they are tickets to being able to participate in the culture of the people who speak them, just by virtue of the fact that it is their code. So that's one reason.
Second reason: it's been shown that if you speak two languages, dementia is less likely to set in, and that you are probably a better multitasker. And these are factors that set in early, and so that ought to give you some sense of when to give junior or juniorette lessons in another language. Bilingualism is healthy.
And then, third -- languages are just an awful lot of fun. Much more fun than we're often told.
And more to the point, we live in an era when it's never been easier to teach yourself another language. It used to be that you had to go to a classroom, and there would be some diligent teacher . You had to go to class. You can do it any time, therefore you can do it more and better.
So I highly recommend that you study languages, because there's never been a better time to do it. It's an awful lot of fun. It won't change your mind, but it will most certainly blow your mind.
John McWhorter: 4 reasons to learn a new language | TED Talk