Over the years, we have seen many great figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, whose first language was Gujarati but went on to learn 10 languages. Or Nelson Mandela, whose first language was Xhosa but took up English as his second language. In recent years, we have also seen Malala Yousafzai, whose mother tongue is Pashto but also speaks Urdu and English.
All these people are not only remarkable leaders and figures, they also have one other thing in common. Language. And it’s all about communication.
Granted, communication has many aspects and it is not just verbal or non-verbal cues, but the cornerstone of communication is language. The work these great figures have accomplished would not have been made possible if they had not learned other languages.
You can read someone’s body language all you want, but the problem is if you can’t speak or connect with the other person, you are limited. Unfortunately, as our world becomes more and more globalised and mixed, communication becomes more important.
Communication is not just about talking, it’s also about connecting with others on a deeper level. This is how these figures have transcended personal, political, geographical, scientific and historical boundaries to reach a national and international audience and effect change. A person can only change the world if their words and ideas can reach others. This is why learning another language is so important, especially today.
That said, it is not just important to the external world, but also to one’s internal nature. When we learn a new language, we change who we are. We are given skills and training to understand the world in new and meaningful ways. There are currently 6,192 living languages and many more cultures. By learning a language, we engage the culture and this gives us a new sense of understanding. This understanding helps us empathise and appreciate the different ways of living. It can even help us become better people because we understand more sides of various issues that plague our fellow men.
Pick up a new language today, and if you already have, keep at it. Don’t give up because you never know whose life you will change with that skill. Learning another language allows us to recognise other cultures, accept them and to respect their identities.
If you are a leader who is looking to pick up a new language, Agape School of Education (ASE) can design the course for you. Aimed at leaders, our French Expresso course is a purely conversational course for high-level management and CEOs. We insist on focusing on the linguistic and cultural aspects of a language. This is so that students can connect with the language on a personal level. As our lessons and teaching approaches cater to the individual student, we allow students to define their love of the language as it helps the student better grasp the language.
Our goal is to impart knowledge and inspire passion in our students, and our coaching approach helps our students deal with the emotional aspect of learning a new language.