Education

Polyglot diaries

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The big shift caused by COVID-19 in every sector of industry and academics is here to stay. One way of adapting to this shift is gaining knowledge of an additional international language. The many advantages of learning languages has already been established by many studies.

Spanish, with around 400 million speakers in 44 countries, is the second most-spoken and most-popular language in the world after English. Similarly, French has around 290 million speakers spread across 24 countries and is one of the official languages of the United Nations, NATO and Red Cross. Mandarin has 1,200 million speakers worldwide. German has 90 million speakers and people spread over six countries speak German as their mother tongue.

Benefits galore

When considering international languages other than English, one must keep in mind that it is not just the language of communication in business and academia, but also the language of the Internet. We can refer to English as the “Digital language” or “Digital English”. However, in today’s professional world, one of the top skills is felicity in more than one international language. This will become a pre-requisite in this new normal.

With face-to-face interactions becoming minimal, it has become essential for businesses to talk in the customer’s native language as much as possible. A qualified person, who knows one or more foreign languages, serves as a virtual assistant. He/she can work together with teams across the globe to strike a deal or help companies expand their business in new markets.

Other areas that can be advantageous for a linguist could be game designing, remote teaching, learning process in advanced technological areas, coding in native languages, interpreter (translator), virtual tour guide (travel, tourism and hospitality), blogging, content writing, and journalism, to name just a few. YouTubers, especially those in the areas of fashion design, cooking and sales and marketing, can benefit greatly from being polyglots. Healthcare professionals can also reach out to give proper guidance and explain newly-developed routines.

Learning a new language can also play a vital role in the area of natural language processing (NLP) — a branch of AI that enables computers to understand, interpret, and manipulate human languages). In addition, one can find more pleasure in the fascinating world of music, TV series, and movies from other languages.

In the new professional world, being multilingual is not just a good skill, but a necessity, especially considering the inter-connectedness of the global economy. So, don’t wait; start learning at least one foreign language right away.

The writer is an academician and entrepreneur.


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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 8:27:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/benefits-of-being-a-polyglot/article33829617.ece

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