Around 1.2 billion people are currently learning a language right now, whether that be on apps such as Duolingo, in physical classes, or more. In 2016, the UK was voted the most monolingual country in Europe, with an estimated 95% of the population only being able to speak English, as opposed to other European countries such as Luxembourg, where multilingualism is a part of everyday life. So why are we so far behind in our ability to speak multiple languages? And why is multilingualism so important? 

A survey conducted by Rosetta Stone in 2020 discovered that only 23% of the survey respondents felt as if they knew a second language well. Hungary was the second worst performing European country at language learning for youths, with even them having more than double the achievement rates. Many people say they “don’t have the time” to learn a language, and “everyone speaks English”, so learning another language is pointless. But is this the case? 

There are many scientifically proven benefits to learning another language. It stimulates your brain, allows you to connect and communicate with people worldwide, gives you a wider range of career choices in the future, improves your memory, increases your sense of cultural awareness and many more. 

I recently spoke to a multilingual person about the benefits of language learning and why it is critical that all countries, especially the UK, maintain linguistic diversity. When asked about the importance of learning a language they replied, “Why should everyone expect non-English people to speak English? We should reciprocate. Learning a language helps people to travel, to understand different cultures, and helps increase the good nature between different countries.”

They added, “Learning a language can be quite challenging, but it’s important to not lose faith because in the end, it’s incredibly worthwhile.”

It’s vital that we as a country increase the language learning population, due to the numerous benefits, and rewarding experience it brings to so many. Nowadays, the ability to learn languages is increasingly accessible, with many popular apps dedicated to improving linguistic diversity among the monolingual community. So if you aren’t already learning a language, your opportunity is now.