As someone who speaks 16 languages and has had a successful business career, language learners often ask me: if I learn another language, what can I do with it? What are the benefits of learning a second language for my career? What is the relationship between languages and work or a career?
The biggest benefit of speaking languages I’ve seen in my career is that it increased the opportunities that came my way. You do have to have other things working for you too, of course. You have to have other skills, like knowledge of a specific sector or market, the ability to do business and the ability to be a reliable, energetic person in any number of fields.
The biggest thing that prevents people from succeeding and becoming fluent is that people stay with the beginner material for too long. They stay with the beginner book, course or lesson and never get beyond it. This is quite unnecessary.
Our three LingQ Academy Live students, Hanna, Emily and Tamás, are finally here in Vancouver. I had a short meeting with them and I explained my vision that, basically, we’re in a new world of language learning where learners are teachers, teachers are learners and we learn from the world around us.
If you do enough reading and listening in Spanish, you’re attentive to the language and you occasionally review this kind of explanation, (but rely largely on repeated exposure in different contexts), you will eventually be able to get that natural sense for Spanish verbs and you can master them.
I recently watched a video which features polyglots Luca Lampariello and Anthony Lauder. In it they make the point that you don’t need to have a large vocabulary in order to be fluent. Anthony has said in the past that even with a few hundred words you can be fluent, or you can be fluent at a relatively low level of proficiency in a language. I don’t agree at all.
Maintaining motivation is absolutely key. I think many people start with some motivation to learn a language and, for various reasons, get frustrated and they are unable to maintain their motivation.
The most popularly spoken Slavic languages are Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian in the east, Polish, Czech and Slovakian in the west and then the the languages of the former Yugoslavia in the south.
I believe that reading and listening, the same things that are so powerful for language learning, are extremely important in order for people to be competitive in the new economy.
Human beings are learning machines. We spend our lives learning. We can’t help but learn. The only question is what we will learn and how it will affect our lives.