Whether it’s Spanish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Arabic or Sanskrit, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam — learning a language other than one’s mother tongue is always a great pleasure! The hobby of learning languages is a lot better than a simple hobby only to kill time.
According to Ethnologue, around 7,117 languages are spoken today. Languages have always fascinated me. Since my father had a transferable job, I had the advantage of learning a new language wherever we relocated. So from Sanskrit to Bengali to Marathi, along with Hindi and English, made me a polyglot even without my realization!
By learning a new language we also learn about the related place and its culture. Language is the most direct connection to other cultures. Being able to communicate in another language is a beautiful way of getting immersed in the exquisiteness of other cultures. We can watch new movies or listen to new music. It’s like entering another dimension and becoming an altogether different person. We can make new friends, as well!
We live in a world of diverse languages. It is really impossible to choose from 7,117 languages other than our own mother tongue. However, it’s always a beautiful feeling to learn some of the vulnerable and endangered languages like Welsh, Newar and Latin. Latin is already termed as a dead language. We could also learn a rare language like Hawaiian Olelo Hawaii.
According to UNESCO, there are 600 potentially endangered languages in India. Close to 250 languages are already dead over the past 60 years and languages like Manipuri (Meitei), Karbi of Assam and Khasi of Meghalaya are considered endangered languages.
Learning a second language isn’t as difficult as it used to be. It is believed that children and teenagers have an advantage to learning a foreign language over adults. But learning a second language is exciting and beneficial at all ages. Now, with so many free language learning apps and websites at our disposal, there’s a great way to learn a language that’s effective and fun.
The seven top language-learning apps and websites are:
- Living Language
- Foreign Services Institute
- BBC Languages