International Women’s Day (8 March 2014) recognises the achievements of women worldwide. To celebrate, we want to highlight a few benefits of learning a language, supported by examples of female polyglots to inspire you!
Speaking other languages means you can communicate with more people. You could help raise awareness of important topics in countries that speak a language different from your own.
Pakistani schoolgirl and girls’ rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai kept a blog for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban. As well as Urdu and Pashto, she can speak English too, which has helped her reach a wider global audience as her profile has grown.
Other examples include Nobel Peace Prize winners Mother Teresa and Aung San Suu Kyi. Albanian missionary Mother Teresa also spoke English, Serbo-Croatian, Bengali and Hindi, and activist Aung San Suu Kyi speaks Burmese, English, French and Japanese.
Learning a language can be a benefit in any profession. Thanks to the global nature of most industries and markets, any language skills you have could help you to get ahead.
British Sky Sports News presenter Kate Abdo is also fluent in Spanish, French and German. She has worked in exciting roles in Germany and interviewed sporting stars in their own language.
Columbian singer-songwriter Shakira speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese, Arabic and Italian. Thanks to recording in both Spanish and English, she has won fans and enjoyed success worldwide.
Using your foreign language skills with other people – whether personally or professionally – will awaken their curiosity and get them interested in other cultures and languages too.
British author JK Rowling was a French teacher before becoming a writer. She used her language knowledge to help make up words in her Harry Potter books, captivating children everywhere.
Linguist Susanna Zaraysky, who was born in Russia, studied 11 languages and speaks 8 of them. She’s a book author, presenter, trainer and language blogger who inspires learners worldwide.
We hope our introduction to these female polyglots motivates you to keep learning on the busuu website.
Do you know of any other inspirational multilingual women? Who are your language role models, or do you try to inspire others yourself? Let us know in the comments!