Brexit is on it’s way (again) and one of the ‘benefits’ is that the UK will be free to do more business internationally – or so they say. Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Brexit. At this point, I really don’t see many benefits at all to the way we have handled Brexit, the way we are leaving the EU and any aspect of the deals that have been put on the table so far – but I digress, this post is not actually about Brexit.
It’s about us Brits and the fact that we are not great at learning languages. In fact, a recent survey found that 62% of the population only speak English. The European Union average showed that 56% speak at least one foreign language, 28% speak at least two and 11% speak three or more…
We are the worst.
Of course, there are ways to get around doing the hard work, like using Global Lingo or just hoping that everyone speaks English when you make that international teleconference call. But if you want to meet this brave new world head on, it may help to be a little bit more…prepared?
It’s also a question of style I feel. To be bilingual is to show the world that you’re an international person of the world – you are open to and have experienced other cultures, you may have lived somewhere else or dated someone of another culture, you are interested in communicating with people who are different to you – you just come across as a more rounded, more cultured person.
Not selling it to you?
Well, according to a study published online: ‘To find and keep valuable bilingual workers, employers are willing to pay big. On average, bilingual pay differentials range between 5 and 20 percent per hour more than the position’s base rate.’ Another more recent study published by popular global recruitment site Indeed said: ‘The number of jobs seeking Chinese speakers is up by more than a third since 2016.’ They go on to say: ‘…English is a global language, but that cannot always offset the need for fluent speakers of other languages. While the U.K. market clearly continues to offer many opportunities for those with additional language skills, there is a danger of a shortfall emerging as insufficient supply butts up against rising demand.’
Convinced? If so, it may be time to dust off that language book. Don’t worry, there are some great ways to speed up the language learning process and take the pain out of learning a new dialect. Check out our language hacks below:
How to learn a language…fast!
- Learn a language you will actually get to use: If you can see clear benefits to your business or career by learning a particular language, choose that one – it will motivate you to keep going
- Learn some words you can use now: Start to incorporate the odd word into your daily conversation with your family. Yes, it will annoy them but you will learn much quicker this way so it will be worth it
- Study in groups: Get yourself into a group and learn with people who are interested in language swapping. Don’t worry if you don’t understand a word of what they are saying, just listening to someone’s intonation will help you with your own pronunciation
- Find ways to learn on the go: Find language learning podcasts so you can listen while you work or clean the house
- Go abroad: Visit the country of the language you are trying to learn…of course.
- Watch TV: This is your excuse to watch Korean dramas and Telenovelas – like you needed an excuse!
Do you have any language learning tips?