Why is it important to learn other languages?

Transcript item

Joanne: Hi there, everyone. I'm here today with Jo, and we're talking about learning languages. So, er, Jo, tell me, why is it important, do you think, to learn other languages? 
Jo: Ooh, I think there are so many reasons and benefits to learning another language, but I know a lot of my students tell me that learning English is really important to them for work, um, to have more opportunities in their professional career and maybe they need it to communicate in international business contexts. So, I know that's really important to people, but I think, as well, there must be so many other benefits. What do you think, Jo? What other benefits are there to knowing another language?
Joanne: Well, I was interested to know what people think about this, so I asked the question to a group of people learning English and, um, of course a lot of them said that English was important to them for their work, for international communication, but, um, I had a lot of other answers too of other benefits, which are interesting. Shall I read some of them to you?
Jo: Yes, please.
Joanne: Um, so, watching movies without subtitles or translation, listening to music, travel around the world. So, I think obviously English being the kind of international language, it can be useful going to countries and using English to communicate, but I think it's nice if you can, wherever you go, if you can at least say a few things in the local language. I think that's always good. Also the fact that there's a lot of information, especially on the internet, about other topics, for example science, a lot of that is in English, so it gives you access to be able to learn other things. Getting to know other cultures, self-development and English is the language of love, somebody said. 
Jo: Oh, really? Oh, really? I've never heard that before.
Joanne: Yes, so, obviously a benefit too! So, so many benefits then. I'm sure there's lots of others, not just that list that I've just read out. There are many, many more. Um, so do you think everybody should learn another language, Jo, and why?
Jo: Yes, yes, definitely. I think everybody can benefit from learning another language. Even people that might say, 'Well, English is my native language and it's the international language, so why do I need to?' But I think those people actually are sometimes the people that are not very good international communicators because they don't have that experience of learning another language, um, and they have less empathy with the people they're talking to. So I think it's really good for making you a good communicator, understanding other people and cultures, um, and it's also really, really good for your brain.
Joanne: Mmm, yes, all good points there, and I have heard as well that, you know, languages help you make, you know, different connections in your brain. So, all good, isn't it? 
Jo: It is, yeah.
Joanne: Good benefits of learning languages. Um, so we'd like to know what you think. Why is it important for you to learn English? What do you think the benefits are? And do you think that everybody should learn another language, and why? So, we're looking forward to reading all your comments.


In this video, Joanne and Jo talk about why they think it's important to learn other languages.

Tell us about you!

  • Why is it important for you to learn English?
  • What benefits are there to knowing another language?
  • Do you think that everyone should learn another language?

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Average: 5 (2 votes)

Submitted by User_1 on Fri, 15/09/2023 - 14:16


Why is it important to learn English?
For sure, learning English is really important for work, for more professional opportunities, and to communicate in every international context.
English is a global language and it becomes a "must" with progress.
Maybe you, as native speakers, cannot grasp the real limit if anyone does not learn English, but it is the worldwide language from business to tourism.
While learning other languages is like a free choice, English is the main tool of communication.
However, there are several other reasons to choose English, but it is impossible to deny its importance as a global language.
May I ask what the team thinks about it?
Thank you.

Hello User_1,

I think those of us -- and perhaps especially language teachers -- who have learned other languages and live in other countries have some appreciation of this, but I agree with your assessment that it's difficult for native speakers to see just how limiting not understanding English can be for others.

It will be interesting to see how English evolves as more and more non-natives use it. For many years, there have already been more non-native speakers using English for communication with mainly other non-native speakers. I think English is bound to change as a result of this, though how and to what degree remain open questions. Perhaps there will one day be a global variety of English used by most people and then other less-used forms such as American English and British English! I have no idea how likely or unlikely that is or what the consequences would be, but it's something I wonder about.

The scholar David Crystal suggests that it's important to preserve your native language, as it's an important component of identity. From the perspective of the value of diversity, it's also of course key that a diversity of languages remain and are actively learned and used. Perhaps native speakers of English are the linguistically poorer than non-native speakers, who always speak one or more other languages.

All the best,
LearnEnglish team

Hello Kirk,
Thanks for your reply.
The important thing is to remember how much effort and hard work is done
by learners trying to learn your language and the team's support is really useful for this.
For sure, English is bound to change in an international context, but the main structure of grammar and the roots of words will be the same.
I agree with you and David Crystal to preserve every native language,
but I do not think that the diversity of languages is at risk.
Thank you again.