It’s your first encounter with someone you just met from a different culture and background that speaks a language other than English. How are you able to communicate with them? In the past, many Americans’ initial approach would be to ask “Do you speak English?” However, as society becomes more and more diverse and the frequency of exposure to diverse cultures increases, people are realizing the benefits of acquiring and maximizing their language skills to effectively communicate with others.
There are numerous ways that you can harness the power of cultural and linguistic connection. With technological advancements we no longer have to travel to experience cultural and linguistic diversity. It’s at our fingertips; it’s as easy as joining a social media platform such as LinkedIn or Facebook, joining groups, and engaging with people from all over the globe. Further, since the pandemic, many people are moving to different places around the U.S., so the opportunities to interact with different cultures typically found in larger cities like New York and Los Angeles are now more frequent throughout smaller communities and expanded to places where a variety of cultural and linguistic expressions were previously not as present. Additionally, remote work options allow us to do some globetrotting and experience new places while making a living from the comfort of our homes. An unexpected outcome of working remotely is that being able to communicate with others in-language, in-context, and in-culture has become even more important to not only navigate work and social situations, but in life in general.
In a recent episode of “Language is Your Superpower” podcast, Host Lisa March and guest Marcos Villar, Executive Director at ALIANZA, have a conversation regarding how language and cultural proficiencies are critical for civic engagement and community impact programs. Marcos shares, “There is nothing like sitting in front of a person, or even screen-to-screen, and being able to engage in their language.” The ability to effectively communicate in another language and discover how to translate and transfer thoughts, ideas, concepts, and knowledge with others in your native or non-native language is an increasingly sought-after ability in today’s society.
Oftentimes, as people learn or become proficient in another language, their native accent or distinct way of pronouncing words become a feature of their communication that many speakers become self-conscious about. However, it’s all about perspective. Marcos explains, “My accent is my asset, not my liability. It means that I speak two languages, or three, or four. It means that you can speak to and relate to more people, than a person that only speaks one language. It means I don’t have to force people to come to me in my language. I can share my thoughts, my ideas, and my knowledge with you in either language.” This is a prime example of how language can be your superpower!
So, exactly how do you harness your superpower and ability to speak two, three, or more languages? You can showcase it on your social media posts, use your language skills to give back to your community, or use it as a competitive advantage when seeking job opportunities, to name a few. One way to proclaim that “Yes, I speak English and another language” is by obtaining a digital badge that showcases your language proficiency. This helps others become aware of which languages you can effectively communicate in and enhances your ability to make meaningful connections.
To learn more about how to harness your language superpower in more than 120 languages, visit LTI today!