2016-8-26 10:46


Want greater success in your career and your love life, as well as a healthy brain long into old age?

The answer could be to learn another language.

At least that's the case according to a majority of Americans and Britons polled in a new survey by language app Babbel.

Apparently, 71% of Americans and 61% of Britons believe speaking more than one language makes a person seem more attractive.

Oui, c'est vrai!

Of 3,000 English-speakers polled in the US and the UK, nine out of 10 admitted they'd learn a new language in pursuit of love.

About half said they'd dreamed about a romance with someone from another country.

And moving from the bedroom to boardroom, about one in four Americans and Britons think that being monolingual has held them back professionally.

So it's probably no surprise that one in eight confessed to having exaggerated their language skills on a resume.

"Languages not only enable you to expand yourself in terms of perspective and skillset, but they also open doors and help you better understand other cultures and peoples," Miriam Plieninger, director of didactics at Babbel, tells CNN.
Babbel的教学论主任Miriam Plieninger表示:“语言不仅能拓宽自己的视野和技能,同时也打开另一扇门,帮助你更好地理解其他文化和民族。“

"Knowing another language helps to break barriers and to connect on a special level of mutual understanding; be it while on the street, traveling, or in business."

Globally, more than half the world can speak at least two languages -- but Western English-speakers are lagging behind.

A 2001 Gallup poll found about a quarter of Americans could hold a conversation in a second language -- mostly Spanish -- while a 2014 study by Eurobarometer revealed about 60% of people in the UK and Ireland are monolingual.

Influential factors

"Different factors influence how easy (or difficult) it is to learn a new language," says Plieninger.

"If the language you are learning is part of the same family as your mother tongue, it is generally much easier to access."

Theoretically, English-speakers should therefore be more comfortable with Germanic languages like German or Dutch, as both are historically very close to English.

However, familiarity picked up in everyday life or in the classroom makes a big difference, which is why Americans feel at ease with Spanish and Brits with French -- both romantic languages.

And although the majority of Americans and Britons polled thought Russian was the trickiest to pick up, it's actually "part of the same Indo-European language family as English," Plieninger adds.

"What makes it difficult, however, is that it uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which is a big hurdle for beginners, and it also has a different grammar structure to English."

Romantic language is most romantic

And which languages have the most sex appeal -- in UK and US eyes, at least?

Well, the Babbel guys asked that in a previous survey.

French was considered the "sexiest" language by respondents on both sides of the Atlantic (US 40%, UK 32%) and the hottest foreign accent in which to hear English (US 38%, UK 40%).

So being multilingual can make you more appealing, more successful and more compassionate. And it's also good for your health.

In 2011, Canadian neuroscientist Ellen Bialystok found that speaking more than one language regularly from an early age enhances cognitive abilities and can also delay symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
2011年加拿大神经科学家Ellen Bialystok发现,从小经常说一种以上的语言能提高认知能力,还可以延缓阿尔茨海默病的症状。

It's "a great way to train your brain," says Plieninger.