Are You a Cunning Linguist?

Posted by - Published on August 19, 2014

From only a superficial analysis we can discover that the ancient language Hindi has not only had tremendous historic affect on the development of world cultures but continues to do so today. With an estimated half a billion people worldwide speaking Hindi, it comes as no surprise that it’s in the top four most widely spoken languages. Hindi is considered the national language of India and recognised by the government as one of two official languages of the country, the other being English. When one considers these facts, having an appreciation and understanding of this important language is essential in today’s international global community. This is particularly so within trade and commerce for the following reasons:

Growth & Innovation Since India’s independence in 1947 there has been a period of rapid economic growth that has led to significant business and development opportunities; this continuing to this day. With incredible architectural achievements such as the Taj Mahal Palace, the Indian Gateway and other prized monumental sites coupled with the geographical diversity of the country, it is no wonder tourism has played a major part in both the economic and employment health of the country. Tourism alone is delivering an annual 10% growth rate; this being set to increase for the foreseeable future bringing billions of pounds in to the state coffers. Alongside tourism, India is growing in every other sector such as science, business, technology, and other commercial activities.

Though one cannot ignore the huge societal problems of poverty and deprivation within India, its success as an economic powerhouse can only mitigate and alleviate these issues. India’s huge potential for growth and innovation – with presently no sign of slowing down – has resulted in an ever increasing number of multinational companies contemplating operational and sales expansion in the South Asia region. However, language remains the ultimate barrier for these companies; stymieing both growth and development within this commercial arena. With this in mind the importance of Hindi as a global language cannot be understated. Many companies are fully conversant with this issue and therefore are actively recruiting people who are not only versed in Indian culture, work ethos and business practices but also have a basic knowledge of Hindi.

Culture

India has one of the most successful movie industries in the world with more than 800 movies produced a year. The film industry makes a significant contribution to the Indian economy. This success has filtered into other multimedia spheres such as music production where many Western artists have been influenced by Indian music. This has assisted in making India a viable and growing world economy with increasing interests around the world. In particular, India’s films and music plays an integral part in its culture. In studying Hindi students can truly appreciate these cultural mediums in their original and undiluted form.

Relations between the UK and India

The two countries bilateral relationship is stronger than ever before with more Indian diaspora living in the UK than any other ethnic group. This is further evidenced by Prime Minister David Cameron visiting India twice last year accompanied by the CEOs of over 100 companies, in addition to a UK visit from External Affairs Minister of India in March 2014. These meetings represent the largest trade delegation to India in modern history with an emphasis on generating even higher trade growth in trade and investments between the two nations. In fact, India’s recently appointed Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited global firms to “Come, make in India” in his maiden Independence Day speech. This will mean companies with international trading aspirations will seek to hire talent with an appreciation of India in terms of culture, ethos and language. In response, politicians have urged the UK government to “make sure more young people are studying languages like Hindi so the UK can compete in the modern economy”.

Benefits of Bilingualism

Being bilingual is an obvious advantage in a world increasingly reliant on global trade and commerce. Research has shown how beneficial learning a foreign language can be both on one’s career but also one’s outlook. Such a skill cannot be understated in today’s international and transient job market. A recent article in the Telegraph by Anne Merritt provides compelling arguments as to the value in learning a language. She cites seven cognitive advantages as a result of conquering a language including (somewhat colloquially): making you smarter, building your multi-tasking skills, staving off Alzheimer’s and dementia, improving your memory and focus, becoming more perceptive, improving your decision-making skills and your English. The development of such skills and attributes are inevitably going to assist in achieving success both in higher levels of study and employment.

With 12 million graduates in the UK, today’s job market is fierce and holding a degree is not necessarily a safe option for securing employment post-university. Employers are looking for graduates who are not just limited to theoretical knowledge and skills; but also possess a talent for practical solutions. In relation to bilingualism it is worth noting Ludwig Wittgenstein’s pithy statement: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”. Mastering another language is not just an academic discipline in itself but effectively opens up a whole new view of the world. Being able to discourse with people from a different country and possessing a different culture will inevitably improve one’s perception of the world. Having the ability to understand a person’s viewpoint, be it in politics, business or commerce, can only be a good thing. More understanding, more consensus, less conflict (and trade).

As you can see, whether or not you decide to live in India or work for a multinational, learning a foreign language, especially Hindi, will give you an edge over your peers, create more personal opportunities and provide even greater success in your future career.

As a post script – Despite all these real benefits in learning another language, isn’t learning Hindi a bit of a nightmare?

Basically – no. Unlike other languages, the basics of Hindi are not difficult to grasp. In addition once you’ve learnt it, you’ll be able to understand other popular Indian languages such as Urdu, Marathi and Punjabi.

So, hopefully, now you agree that learning a language and understanding a different culture are hugely beneficial activities; both in terms of personal development but also for your future career aspirations. Now the difficult bit – action by you. Some people read about change, others talk about it but only a few make a real change. Be in the last category and request further details for the information given below. Otherwise, wishing you the best of luck and every success in your future.

For More Information

More information on gaining international work experience and the opportunity to study Hindi can be found here.

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