Would you agree that the Internet has provided instantaneous opportunities for a connection between people and places who would not otherwise be reachable through your back door? The World Wide Web, Skype and Social Media are only a few examples of how society communicates with others who live anywhere from hundreds to millions of miles away from one’s homeland. Although the common language in business is English, if you could communicate with professionals who work in foreign markets in their native tongues, imagine the impact you would make upon the people in your industry as well as in the country of your intended sale. The reaction you might receive after repeated interaction with others in South America, Germany, Italy, China or another country, just might ring, sale!! Of course, we all know that in business a trusting relationship has to be developed between seller and buyer regardless of the industry before a sale can occur. So why not develop that mutual relationship by speaking some expressions or whole sentences and paragraphs to your clients in their native tongue. Although bilingualism gives business people an edge in the global marketplace, there are some underlying reasons why second language learning is not always taken advantage of.
One reason why an individual might engage or disengage in becoming bilingual according to Howard Gardner, the Harvard graduate who invented the idea of multiple intelligences, is one’s attitude toward the target language and culture. For example, when you think of Italy, do you remember that tasty pasta primavera or meaty lasagna you consumed over a candle lit table with your significant other on your last anniversary celebration? Do you remember the pristine, blue water you dove into in your hotel pool in the Mayan Riviera? Or on the other hand, do you remember the last time you were at a grocery store and two women were conversing in a language other than English and it annoyed you? You might have felt that only English should be spoken despite the native tongue of those chattering adults. Other factors abound according to Gardner.
Such considerations include a person’s language abilities, motivation, intelligence level or the stress associated with becoming bilingual. In my own experience as owner of a language school, some adults do not invest in second language classes because of time constraints or they think that if they are not going to use the language, why learn it? That is a valid point. According to a September, 2012 edition of The Rotarian magazine, in an article entitled, Facts of the Matter, Languages, however, the more proficient a person is in a second language, the greater the chance of dementia not setting in at an early age. Bilingual people have also been found to be able to ignore distractions better than monolinguals.
These are only some of the reasons why second language learning is highly beneficial whether you are an adult in business, learning for fun, travel or to stay young in the mind into your later years. Stay tuned for more information on this article next week, posted in La Blog on my website page, www.languagecomplete.com.
Articles referred to in writing this article:
1.) Second Language Acquisition-Is a Vital Tool that Every Individual Needs to Have, downloaded on February 5, 2013, http://www.articlesbase.com/business-articles/second-language-acquisition-is-a-vital-tool.
2.) Motivation as a Contributing Factor in Second Language Acquisition, by Jacqueline Norris-Holt, jacquijapan at hotmail.com, Aichi Shukutoku High School, (Nagoya, Japan), http://iteslj.org/Articles/Norris-Motivation.html, dowloaded on February 5, 2013.
3.) Smithsonian, July/August 2010, Special Issue, 40 Things You Need to Know About the Next 40 Years, Ready, Set, Grow, pp. 60-69.
Thanks, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Danke Schon,
Melanie Hendrick, Owner of Language Complete, Michigan Certified Spanish Teacher, MA in Teaching, WSU, Daycare Spanish Teacher in the Detroit Metro Area, Adult Spanish Enrichment Teacher in the Rochester School District, Ambassador to the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Auburn Hills Optimist Club