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How Learning a New Language Improves Tolerance

by Natasha

Noted psycholinguist and writer, Frank Smith said: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Rightly so. There are several situations in life when we are at a loss for communications because we do not speak or understand a different language. There are many advantages to learning a new language.

New Language & Your Brain

Being bilingual or learning a new language is very beneficial for your brain. Yes, this sounds incredible. But a number of studies found on US National Library of Medicine actually prove that bilingual persons and those who learn a new language have better cognitive skills. This means you may be actually preventing loss of memory and dementia, among other age-related problems by learning a new language.

Till recent years, most educational systems worldwide paid little attention to developing second language skills among students. Usually, the instruction is in the native tongue and at best, a regional or national language. Unless you are born in a multicultural, multiethnic country where dozens of languages rule.

However, deficiencies of the educational system need not bother you anymore. You can still learn a new language and get its benefits.

New Language & Tolerance

Learning a new language and tolerance are inseparable. They very the fact that you are learning a new language clearly indicates you are tolerant towards other cultures. Improving your tolerance is the topmost benefit of learning a new language. Here is how it works.

Understanding Other Cultures

It becomes possible to understand and appreciate the differences between our culture and another when we learn a new language. We become more tolerant of their beliefs, traditions and lifestyle. Understanding behavioural differences are much easier when we learn a new language.

This fosters tolerance towards another culture we hitherto took as strange or even alien to our own set beliefs. Learning a new language dissolves cultural and ethnic barriers that once stood between other people and us.

Overall, learning new language improves tolerance because it also helps understand the body language of people of another ethnicity. When they use gestures and actions while speaking, it becomes easier to know what they are implying or trying to communicate.

Eliminates Discomfiture

People of another culture feel at ease when they communicate with us in their language. It eliminates any discomfiture they may experience while talking with you in your language. When you learn a new language and use it, other people become tolerant. They appreciate that you are extra efforts to communicate in their language. Their initial reluctance in approaching or interacting with you stands eliminated because they do not fear embarrassment because they do not know your language fluently.

Learning new a new language improves tolerance towards you in another ethnic group because they can approach you with confidence. Speaking with others when you learn a new language helps improve your communications skills without exerting much extra effort. They assume you are open to accepting differences between your and their cultures. Learning a new language works wonders for you since it imparts a sense of confidence while communicating with others.

Social Media

Social media resources including Facebook allows us to interact with people across the globe. We can make ‘friends’ with people in different countries with whom we share a common interest. But adding people from a different culture as ‘friend’ has several flipsides if we can use this term. Other than stuff that interests you, there will be loads that you may find absurd or strange and is posted by your foreign ‘friends.’

But once you learn a new language, it becomes easier to know why they post something and its significance or importance to their life. Your tolerance improves because you know they are trying to raise an issue or create awareness about something that impacts their life positively or negatively. In fact, learning a new language improves tolerance to a level that you may even want to extend help if a situation merits or participate in their celebrations for fun.

Travel

Imagine a situation where you are in a foreign or unknown land. You observe the way they go about business and find it strange. But learn a new language and try communicating with it. The scenario changes drastically. You will feel at home in a strange land. This occurs because learning a new language improves tolerance. Instead of feeling lost, lonely and homesick, you tend to mingle with local folk.

Learning a new language can also ensure safety during travel. Should the need arise, you can communicate effectively with locals or cops about any impending threat you are experiencing. At the same time, it deters others from taking advantage of your deficiency in their language. People in a foreign land get more tolerant to your situation and go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

Employment

Learning a new language helps you bag good jobs. An employer may wish to post you at some distant location because you know the language or at least, a reasonable amount of it. Usually, job transfers come with the whole boat of incentives. But what happens once you land at your new workplace, possibly in a distant country? You would definitely expect new workmates to be wary.

After you learn a new language and use it at the destination, any workplace hostility towards you will vanish or get vastly reduced. Coworkers will view you as friendly and be more tolerant of your position and work. They may even go out of the way to make you feel welcome and help settle in. Consequently, your tolerance also increases because you view new, foreign coworkers as peers instead of pesky underlings.

In Conclusion

There are several tangible and intangible benefits of learning a new language. While learning a new language improves tolerance, it also boosts your job prospects. You become popular among communities that you once wanted to avoid. Learning new languages helps gain valuable insights into literature and performing arts of a different culture, thereby adding spice to your life. Learning a new language can also launch you towards becoming a truly international citizen rather than native of your country only.

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