The Importance of English: 11 Valuable Reasons to Learn the Language
What makes English an important language, not just a common one?
Is it really worth putting all that time, effort and energy into learning English?
English is an important language for all kinds of professional and personal goals.
Whether you are just starting out or need some motivation to keep going, understanding the importance of the language will help you reach fluency and change your life.
Below are the ways that knowing English can help you as a language learner.
- 1. English Is the Most Spoken Language in the World
- 2. English Will Teach You About World History
- 3. English Opens Up New Career Opportunities
- 4. English Is the Top Language of the Internet
- 5. English Tests Can Get You Into School
- 6. English Makes Traveling So Much Easier
- 7. English Allows You to Make More Friends
- 8. English Allows You to Enjoy Hollywood
- 9. English Lets You Enjoy (And Learn From) A Ton of Internet Videos
- 10. English Widens Your Reading Horizons
- 11. Learning English Can Make You Smarter
- And One More Thing...
1. English Is the Most Spoken Language in the World
According to a report from Statistics & Data, English is the most spoken language in the world.
And if you include people who use it as a second language, an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide speak English. Further, a total of 96 countries in the world use English.
Considering that there are over 190 countries, that means over half of the countries you will visit likely use English as their lingua franca—the main language that people from various groups use to communicate with each other.
2. English Will Teach You About World History
Throughout the centuries, the British Empire expanded and ruled over many different countries. The empire (a group of countries ruled by a single government) forced the people they ruled over to speak English.
Because the empire lasted over 300 years, many of the countries under the former British Empire (like Ireland, which had Gaelic as its original language) speak English to this day.
When you are studying English, you will come across the different types used around the world. When you know the history of English as it is used in a certain country, the similarities and differences between, say, Australian and New Zealand English make much more sense.
3. English Opens Up New Career Opportunities
Many companies need employees who can communicate with partners and clients all over the world. Very often, that means finding employees who speak English.
Are you job hunting? Do you just want to keep your professional options open? Learning English can be an important step to achieving those goals.
The global job market has even created new positions for bilingual people (people fluent in two languages). By learning English, you could become a translator, a language teacher or an English marketing professional for a global company.
4. English Is the Top Language of the Internet
Like in real life, English is the most-used language online, with 55 percent (or over half) of all websites using the language. That means if you can understand and read English, you can access and enjoy a lot of written resources online.
For example, you can read online news articles. You can participate in a discussion on a forum like Reddit. You can send an email to someone from halfway across the globe. The possibilities are endless!
Also, many people and businesses conduct (do) research, market themselves or communicate and develop connections on sites like LinkedIn—making internet English crucial to professional success as well.
5. English Tests Can Get You Into School
If you learn English well enough to pass tests like the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), you can study in English-language universities across the globe.
The TOEFL is one of the most common English proficiency tests. Others include the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the Cambridge exams. Some colleges or language centers even offer classes to help you practice for these tests.
Even if you are not taking a test for a specific reason, studying for an English exam can still help you improve your language skills.
6. English Makes Traveling So Much Easier
Just knowing English travel phrases is great if you just want to do things like get around a hotel or ask for directions. But if you want to stay in that country for at least a few years or so, you need to expand your vocabulary.
For example, if you live in an apartment (a room or unit in a building where you pay rent to a landlord), you need to know some house vocabulary in case you have trouble with your bathroom and need to ask someone for help.
And if you regularly interact (come into contact with) native English speakers, you need to know what the daily phrases they use mean.
7. English Allows You to Make More Friends
Because English is the most widely used language online and offline, you are likely to meet English speakers when you are traveling or using chat apps like WhatsApp.
When you know their language, it is easier to share common interests like your favorite food, music and much more.
And hey, you may even want to surprise your new buddy (friend) with some of the weirdest English words you know—or at least ask them about the best way to use those words.
8. English Allows You to Enjoy Hollywood
Understanding English means you can enjoy modern Hollywood blockbusters (very popular/successful movies) as well as classic films from different generations—and talk about them with other film-loving, English-speaking friends.
Not sure where to watch movies in English? Check out streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video as well as free services like Crackle and Tubi TV.
9. English Lets You Enjoy (And Learn From) A Ton of Internet Videos
If you do not have time for a movie marathon (an event where you watch two or more movies consecutively), websites like YouTube and Vimeo can also give you engaging English videos that discuss all kinds of topics.
There’s also the language learning program FluentU and its library of English videos, which are all organized by topic and English difficulty level.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
10. English Widens Your Reading Horizons
Want to put more books on your bookshelf? When you know English, you can read popular books written in English like “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games” and more.
If you want to read books in English for free, here are some options:
- Check out a local library. Even if you don’t live in an English-speaking region, your library likely has an English- or foreign-language section.
- Use e-book services like Kindle or Nook. These usually have many free downloads. Browse their huge selections to see if any free English books interest you.
- Visit sites that have books in the public domain. When you say that a book is in the public domain, it means the book’s copyright has expired. In other words, you can legally download the book for free. One good site for books like these is Project Gutenberg—if you are taking an English literature class, this resource will come in handy!
11. Learning English Can Make You Smarter
Research shows that learning a new language changes your brain structure (in a good way). It impacts the parts of your brain responsible for memory, conscious thought and more.
Put simply, learning a new language can make your brain stronger and more versatile (flexible or able to do more things).
Research also shows that bilingualism can keep the brain strong and healthy into old age and help with memory, concentration and other skills.
Well, what are you waiting for? Now that you know the importance of the English language, you can start learning. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can enjoy all of these benefits!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.