Speaking in Tongues

By Cheyanne Enciso


We can all agree that we live in a world of great linguistic diversity, but did you know that language communities that are monolingual are said to be in the minority? It’s estimated that 60 to 75 percent of the world’s population uses two or more dialects in their everyday life.

Having just come back from the Philippines after being on holiday for five weeks, I’m even more appreciative to know more than one language. Since moving to Australia twelve years ago, my parents have constantly reminded me not to forget my native language - a useful tool whenever I communicate with my relatives and friends over in the Philippines.

As you can imagine, being bilingual has its perks. It’s already been established that being bilingual can be beneficial when travelling but I also have a larger swear word vocabulary and I can argue in two languages. By far one of the best benefits of being bilingual, in my opinion, is that I can talk about people right in front of them without them ever knowing what I’ve said.

You might have heard of the quote “To have another language is to possess a second soul” by Charlemagne. Studies say that those who are bilingual often see the world in different ways and they’re right. I find that I am more open-minded to new experiences and new ways, and that I often see the world in two perspectives.

If those aren’t enough reasons to make you want to study another language, being bilingual has several cognitive benefits. According to research carried out by the Dana Foundation, knowing another language means that you have a better attention span and can multi-task more effectively than monolinguals. This is because speaking another language means constantly changing from one language to another.

Being bilingual could even positively affect your health! Numerous studies have found that bilingual people are at lower risk of having a stroke and can delay Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.

There are many benefits that you can gain from speaking another language, from personal to health benefits. So why not get started straight away? Challenge yourself to talk, parlare, parler, magsalita, sprechen, in as many languages as you possibly can.