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The cost of being monolingual


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I just stumbled upon a very interesting article : "Language skills deficit costs the UK £48bn a year". Please have a look for yourself!

If you have a lack of motivation to learn (more) languages, you should definitely read this article! (especially if you are a UK citizen).

Language skills deficit costs the UK £48bn a year

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/dec/10/language-skills-deficit-costs-uk-economy

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Beyond computer literacy, being multilingual is key to employment both now and in the future.  Much has changed since I was in high school in terms of learning a second language.  The options back then were Spanish or French. Now the kids have more options and better and more efficient ways of learning a second language.

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Excellent article!

In reality, the world is getting smaller and smaller. In other words, it's no longer odd to visit another country or know someone who's not from your native land. As a result, you have to be open to learning a foreign language. It's good socially, spiritually and business-wise.

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This is something I have heard in the past that's similar to the article. I think it is always better to know at least two languages because it can be very useful in the future. Plus, some companies would hire those who are bilingual. School would try so hard to push students to be bilinguals, which is why some of them have already started learning a second language as part of the curriculum, especially in high school.

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I think this is an issue that affects all native English countries no? I think that it's harder for the governments to see languages as a priority when your native language is English, but companies are well aware of that need and they do hire language experts, if you have technical knowledge and language I think you'll have a great job.  :wink:

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  • 1 year later...

And the amazing thing is - you never know just when and how a language may come in handy. Some people said learning French was useless  - and then it turned out that an ability to speak French was one of the most important factors for most of my employment history! A friend of mine constantly heard comments about how Dutch will never be needed by any employer - and then she got an excellent offer because she was the only Dutch-speaking person in her whole company.

And there were plenty of situations abroad when speaking English did not help at all - but another language saved the day.

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Being multilingual functions as a filter when you are looking for a job. It's always a good resource to have. Unless you are applying for a non-skilled job you might find yourself at the door while someone with less qualifications then you have but knows some how to speak another language will probably get the job. We are living in a global village and most companies now days want to do business abroad and look at their employees as means to achieve that. 

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It really is an advantage if you know how to speak and even write language other than your own. When I see some job opportunities that requires a candidate to be bilingual with huge salary, it makes me feel bad for ignoring the opportunities to learn when I was still in school. For now, it may not be about employment but as a personal fulfillment if I become bilingual. You never know when an opportunity will present itself. 

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I feel annoyed with myself at how little I cared about learning Spanish in high school. I could have so many more opportunities in the world now if I had just been more dedicated then. At least I can ask where a bathroom or library is. Or name some random foods. 

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Very enlightening article, thanks :)  I've been aware of this situation for a while now, but I had no idea just how grave it is! The figures really don't bode well, and I can see why this would have a negative impact on the economy. But I have a feeling that the lack of language skills in the UK will soon change because when I worked for arguably the biggest UK exam board Pearson, it was abundantly clear that the acquisition of Modern Foreign Languages was on the up, especially among the young. The most popular options were always Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), French, Spanish, Hindi, Urdu and Italian. I think this is a good development because with the world now being a global village, these language skills will stand these young children in good stead, not only in terms of playing a role in growing their local economy but also in affording them the opportunities they might otherwise never have been able to access right across the world.

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