- What does it really mean being bilingual or multilingual? The most general answer would be people who can speak two or three languages fluently.
- How do we measure our language ability in order to know if we are one of bilingual or multilingual? Typically categorised into 2 which is active (speaking and writing) and passive (listening and reading)
My parents both are multilingual, they know English, Malay and a few chinese dialects. Growing up with parents who are multilingual, they speak to us in different languages, constant switching languages or dialects back and forth allow my sister and me grew up as a multilingual person. When I was a kid, i certainly did not think of any benefits of being a bilingual or multilingual person but now I can think lot of advantages of being one of them.
Here’s the Top 4 benefits of being Bilingual or Multilingual:
No.1 Easier Time For Travelling
The travel experience can be more enjoyable if you able to speak local language. It will be much easier for you to immerse yourself into their culture and culture. For examples, it is much easier for me to travel around in Hong Kong than Thailand because I can speak Cantonese but I can’t speak Thai. Don’t get me wrong, I doesn’t mean you can’t travel to that country if you don’t know the language. There are a lot of apps can help you get around during travelling. My personal preference is google map and google translate. ^^
No.2 Highly Valued In Work Place
Knowing two or more languages and put them on resume will increase the chance to get the job that you applied for, depending the language. Communication in work place is important, especially if the company is international or have many international clients. Therefore, a bilingual or multilingual will mostly be priority. In my previous work place, most of my colleagues do not know mandarin. Being the only mandarin speaker in the work place, my colleagues and clients appreciate the amount of effort that I put into during the recording for Mandarin script.
No.3 Easier to learn additional language
Bilingual or multilingual is easier to learn additional language because languages are reinforce with each other. For example, is easier for me to learn Japanese as an additional language because there are a lot of Japanese characters (Kanji) is similar to Mandarin characters.
No.4 A Healthy Brain
Being a bilingual or multilingual has positive impact to the brain. It reduce the risk of having Stroke and Alzheimer. This is because the constant change of languages back and forth provide exercise to the brain which make the brain more complex, healthy and actively engaged.
so yes! Here’s me sharing my experience as a multilingual person.
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