Why Learning a Second Language Is More Important Than Ever

Future-Proofing Education: The Critical Importance of Second Language Learning

Learning a new language has some astonishing advantages ranging from one’s career prospects, growth, travel, business, intellect, and so on. In fact, some neuroscientific findings prove many advantages of speaking more languages.

Most of us associate second language acquisition and multilingualism with skill sets. However, as an individual learns more and more languages, he/she develops multitasking skills, has a better memory, and processes information at a better rate. Knowing multiple languages also reduces the risks of brain diseases that are responsible for decreasing one’s ability to remember or think.

So aren’t these reasons good enough to promote ESL second language (English as a second language) and multilingualism in our education system?

Let’s decode!

What is a Second Language?

A second language is a language that one learns over and above the native language (mother tongue). It can be an international language or even a local one that exists within the individual’s own country.

At the beginning of this article, we have already discussed the broad areas that are affected by the languages spoken by an individual. Let’s dig deeper and see how it can help an individual in today’s globalized world.

Why is it Important to Know More than One Language?

Breaking Cultural Barriers

In the increasingly interconnected world, ESL English as a second language and some other popular languages act as a link to communication. It makes travel easier and adds value to one’s communication with the native people.

Before we explore further, here’s an interesting piece of information for you about the languages of the internet:

English is the language of the internet for around 25.4% of the global population. While Chinese has the second position with 19.3%. Spanish is in the third position with around 8.1%. Arabic and Portuguese take the 4th and 5th positions with 5.3% and 4.1% users respectively.  

top 5 most popular languages of internet

Makes Way for Multilingualism

A leading Science journal came up with an outstanding benefit of second language acquisition. It states that when people learn a other language some areas in the right side of the brain get activated. This activation supports understanding and meaning of the content. Eventually, all this supports one’s linguistic abilities of the brain, thereby helping the individual to learn more languages.

In a nutshell, bilingualism supports the ability to become multilingual. And multilingualism in turn promotes academic success, communication, understanding along with many other hidden benefits.

Brain Development in Kids

For many noteworthy reasons, top physical and online schools incorporate language learning from the initial stages of schooling. This is because a foreign language or international language enhances the child’s cognitive abilities. And supports the process of skill-building (like problem-solving, critical thinking, concentration memory power, etc.).

<K8 School, India’s first and only recognized online school introduces Spanish at the grade 1 level as an elective subject>

All in all, this highlights the importance of English language in education. Because in many Indian states and union territories, English (ESL second language) is the second official language.

Opens a Spectrum of Opportunities

Let’s go by facts here!

  • Second language acquisition makes a person bilingual. And this in turn helps him/her to expect a salary hike of up to 11%.
  • Almost 40% of Indians are learning a new language for career advancement or personal growth.
  • Online schools and platforms are popular choices for strengthening linguistic skills across many age groups.
  • As per a Forbes report, 40% of multilingual employees confirmed getting jobs by virtue of this ability. They also reported that they were offered almost 19% more than the income of other single-language-speaking candidates.  

Today, the highly digitalized global village has a number of opportunities for candidates with the required skills (as per the industry norms). Our young generations need to acquire skills for the global workforce. And linguistic abilities (including the importance of language education) are the key to unlocking innumerable opportunities in this highly interconnected world.

Exposure And Intercultural Understanding

Knowing different languages gives a wonderful exposure to the colorful history, culture, and literature of varied parts of the world.  It is also a great way to nurture intercultural understanding in an individual. This in turn helps him/her to contribute better to the world through an empathetic outlook.

Tips to Learn Foreign Language

  • Don’t rush with too many complex levels, it’s always better to begin with simple or common words.
  • Practice is a must- Arrange additional resources through online platforms or get printables like worksheets to practice.
  • Consider speaking the newly learned language even if it is a self-mirror talk or recording.
  • Try interesting ways like dramas, movies, shows, music videos, etc. to pick the right accent.
  • Take virtual tours to learn about the culture and history of the international language.
  • Look for opportunities wherein you can collaborate with anyone who is familiar with that particular language.
  • Never ignore out on the fun elements. And do not get discouraged even if there are errors.

What Are Some Languages That Are Most Useful to Learn?

Globally, candidates prefer building linguistic abilities as per the industry demands. The knowledge of useful languages helps them explore better career prospects. In fact, it can open the doors to some highly-paying jobs in the global workforce.

As per Weforum, the 5 most useful languages in the world (as of 2020) are as under:

  1. Mandarin Chinese – 1 billion native speakers
  2. French – Official language of the European Union and the United Nations
  3. Spanish – Official language of 21 countries in the world
  4. German – Mother tongue of 18% of citizens in the European Union
  5. Portuguese – 200 million native speakers   

How Can We Help Our Kids Learn Foreign Language?

Most top schools including the best accredited online schools include international language learning in their subject choices. In addition, you can now opt for options like mobile applications, web platforms, and language classes to hone these skills in your child.

Some of the most popular language learning applications  in the world (as of February’ 2023) are:

  • Duolingo (13.4 million users)
  • OckyPockey (2.18 million downloads)
  • Buddy.ai (1.2 million downloads)

Coming back to India, let’s learn and understand some facts about our Indian languages.

Which are the Most Popular Languages in India?

Here’s a quick look at the top 5 languages spoken in our nation (as of 2016).

LanguageSpeakers (in millions)
Number of languages speakers in india

Our nation has a stark difference between the English-speaking population in the urban and rural centers. The urban population comprises around 88% English-speaking individuals. But our rural population is way behind with only 3% of them in the category of speaking ESL second language.

area wise second language english speaker in india

How Can We Build Linguistic Abilities in Kids?

Our Indian policymakers are visionary about the importance of English language in education and foreign languages as well. The principles of the National Policy of Education, 2020 focus on promoting multilingualism through the teaching and learning processes. Our government is keen on harnessing the benefits of the mother tongue in building a solid academic foundation in the formative years of a student’s life. The recent policy also emphasizes international languages as well.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has 37 languages over and above English and Hindi (class IX and X). In fact, recently in 2023, CBSE also introduced 22 more languages as full-fledged mediums of instruction.

With options like online learning and a focus on building linguistic abilities in our students, we can hope to raise articulate and fluent adults in the future. However, this will also require constant dedication and a never-ending zeal to cascade our policies to the ground level.  

Final Thoughts

Linguistic abilities, fluency in ESL second language, and knowledge of a foreign language give an unmatched edge in a highly connected global village. Top schooling choices like accredited online schools, EdTech platforms, and mobile applications are highly cost-effective yet hassle-free ways of learning some fascinating languages.

We hope you can now connect the dots about the advantages of bilingualism and multilingualism for your kids. Pick the right platform and help your child to be a winner through the SHEER POWER OF COMMUNICATION & INTERCULTURAL UNDERSTANDING!

Thanks for Reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does ESL mean in language?
    It means ‘English, as a second language’. In India, many states and union territories consider English as a second language. It is also a popular 2nd official language in many parts of our country.
  • Which are the top 10 most spoken foreign language?
    Here’s a list of the top 10 languages:
  1. English
  2. Mandarin Chinese
  3. Hindi
  4. Spanish
  5. French
  6. Arabic
  7. Bengali
  8. Russian
  9. Portuguese
  10. Urdu
  • How can second language acquisition help in one’s career and personal growth?
    This ability makes an individual more employable. Because multilingualism and bilingualism are directly connected with one’s cognitive levels. In addition, people with advanced linguistic abilities are also more likable. 
  • Is learning a new language very expensive in India?
    Today, you can find some inexpensive options like mobile applications and affordable online schools with international accreditations. All these choices can help children and adults develop enhanced linguistic abilities.

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