Out of the 6 500 spoken languages in the world today, why choose to learn English? As the third most widely spoken language in the world, English is widely spoken and taught in over 118 countries and is commonly used around the world as a trade language or diplomatic language. It is the language of science, aviation, computers, diplomacy and tourism. Last but not least, it is the language of international communication, the media and the internet.
Whether it is for professional or personal reasons, understanding the importance of English will help you reach your goals. Here are a few reasons why you should keep learning and practising your English language skills.
1. English is the Language of International Communication
Although English is not the most spoken language in the world, it is the official language in 53 countries and is spoken as a first language by around 400 million people worldwide. But that’s not all, it is also the most common second language in the world. According to the British Council, by 2020 about two billion people in the world will be studying English.
Therefore, it is highly likely that if you meet someone from another country, you will both be able to speak English. It gives you an open door to the world and helps you communicate with global citizens.
2. English gives access to more entertainment and more access to the Internet
Nowadays, many films, TV shows, books and music are published and produced in English. By understanding English, you won’t need to rely on translations and subtitles anymore. By accessing these media, you will also continuously improve your English listening and reading skills.
English is currently the language of the internet. An estimated of 565 million people use the internet every day and about 52% of the world’s most visited websites are displayed in English. Therefore, learning this language gives access to over half the content of the internet, which might not be available otherwise. Whether it is for fun or for work, if you understand English, you will be able to exchange information with more people online and use many more materials.
3. English makes it easier to travel
As highlighted before, since English is spoken as a first language in 53 countries and as a second language in over 118 countries, learning the language makes it much easier to travel anywhere. Indeed, airport announcements, train timetables, emergency information and street signs are often available in English, including in countries where the native language uses a different type of alphabet. It goes without saying that, when travelling to a country where you don’t speak the language, you are practically guaranteed to find someone who understands at least some English.
4. English can make you ‘smarter’
Learning a foreign language enhances your cognitive and analytical abilities. Learning a new language can be difficult and it involves a lot of mental exercises. Research from a 2012 Swiss Study shows that learning a new language changes the brain structures, impacting the parts of the brain responsible for memory, conscious thought and it can make you more creative. In the long term, bilingualism can keep the brain strong and healthy into old age and supports concentration and memory skills. On an individual level, it improves personality and increases sense of self-worth. In simple words, learning a foreign language makes the brain stronger and more versatile.
Learning English is not only useful, but it also gives a lot of satisfaction and making progress will make you feel great. Why not make it even more tangible by taking a standardised test to certify your proficiency!
If you feel sufficiently confident and if you want to evaluate your English language proficiency, just register for a TOEIC® test.