If you could have one of these superpowers, would you rather have the ability to teleport anywhere or have the ability to speak any language?
Well, given the effort being applied to developing supersonic aircraft, and given that there are 7,100+ living languages in the world, my pick is to be able to speak any language. And, if I couldn't speak all of them, maybe just give me 12 of them. Why? Because two-thirds of the world's population share only 12 native languages. Here is that list of 12 from The Washington Post with the number of speakers of each language:
- Chinese - 1.39 billion
- Hindi-Urdu - 588 million
- English - 527 million
- Arabic - 467 million
- Spanish - 389 million
- Russian - 254 million
- Bengali - 250 million
- Portuguese - 193 million
- German - 132 million
- Japanese - 123 million
- French - 118 million
- Italian - 67 million
According to Psychology Today, in an article entitled, "Bilingualism's Best Kept Secret," more than half of the world's population uses two or more languages (or dialects) in everyday life. Bilingualism is present on all continents, in all classes of society and in all age groups. So don't be a monoglot!
In this great article by Michelle Sandlin, "On the move: There are advantages when working with multilingual agents," one of the real estate agents, Gordana Vickers, says, "As real estate agents, we have a fiduciary duty to our clients to educate them and win their trust, and you can't accomplish that if there is a language barrier. So, it makes people feel more confident and less intimidated when they can speak with me in their native language."
The article explains why being bilingual or multilingual can be such a huge occupational benefit or even advantage. As more and more global (cross-border) relocation occurs, real estate and rental agents that can speak multiple languages are in a better position to support inbound relocating employees and their families. In the relocation process, speaking someone's native language helps raise trust levels, breakdown barriers, enhance the level of communication and improve the overall experience!
Additionally, here are 5 ways language learning can improve your life:
- Better job prospects
- Boosts brain health
- Facilitates travel and leisure
- Improves the understanding of different cultures
- Raises your feeling of achievement
"When you make an effort to speak with a person in their language, you demonstrate a higher level of respect. When language is a barrier, I really have to step up my game, and I need to make sure that I am communicating everything to them," Vickers said. And even if she isn't from the same country as all of her clients, she said that they often just feel comforted in knowing that she is from a similar part of the world.