Ignorance Is Bliss For Native English Speakers.

During my time travelling, I’ve met native English speakers guilty of not knowing a further language. I am not generalising all natives as there is a good portion who are multilingual. However, it can be argued this lack of effort creates an ignorance is bliss mindset.

Often the case, when meeting citizens of different countries I’ve found them to speak a further language. Which, sometimes has made me embarrassed as I’ve not gone out of my way to speak their own.

According to The Telegraph, half of the population of 45 countries other than the UK speak English. Similarly, Babbel states

“20% of the world speak English. Estimating around 1.5 billion inhabitants speak English. “

Because of this, English has come to spread like wildfire from movies, tv programs, books, music and the internet. Making it more available for native speakers to travel with ease.

Ignorance Is Bliss post

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In fact, most of the time wherever you travel you will come across a person who can speak English. This can range from basic, intermediate or advanced. As well as English being readily available in guidebooks, directions and warnings.

Why Is This A Problem?

Deficit In The British Economy

When visiting unfamiliar destinations there is an automatic expectation of a person knowing English. So much English is used in the media, most of us assume it will be always be spoken in some format wherever we travel.
This causes some natives to remain inside their comfort zone of their mother tongue becoming lazy. As they’ve never needed to learn different types of language. Because of this assumption, it has been estimated to cost the British economy a £48 bn deficit a year.

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Languages Become Extinct

It is commonly used in movies, tv series, music, literature and the internet. This has created a demand for other nationalities to learn the English language from an early age for economic purposes.

Which can cause the attention and focus to be removed from local languages, causing them to die out. In relation to this, The New York Times states

“of the estimated 7000 languages spoken in the world today, linguists note that half are at danger of extinction and likely to disappear this century. Dropping at a ratio of one every two weeks”

The loss of language is not just due to others neglecting their own focusing on a more dominant one. Language can also die out due to natural disasters such as floods, tsunamis and earthquakes.

If languages are dying out quickly, this makes it more evident to learn a further one to promote and protect the cultural identity of the human race.

How is it beneficial to Speak another language?

Brain Size

The Telegraph notes due to increased brain activity you become smarter when speaking another language and operate differently to those only speak one. Increasing your brain size. Studies have also indicated that memory improves such as remembering lists, directions and names.

It also helps preserve IDENTITY.

Delaying Dementia

Being fluent in a further language has shown to delay the onset of dementia symptoms for up to five years. Researchers from the University of Ghent ran a study on 134 participants undergoing treatment for Alzheimer’s. Out of the sample, 65 were either bilingual or multilingual. Whereas the rest was monolingual. The final report indicated that those who were bilingual or multilingual had a diagnosis five years later than those who only spoke one language.

Diving Deeper Into Travel

Knowing a further language or learning a language on the go may take your further places away from the standard tourist destinations. If you learn a language, you can integrate with locals and they may be able to show you off the beaten track whilst travelling. It can also allow you to dive deeper into your travel experience learning about another’s culture. Due to no language barrier being present.

Some countries may try to rip you off and overcharge you being a foreigner. Having that extra knowledge may generate respect from locals appreciating their culture and prevent them from exposing you.


We are often prone to complaining that we do not have enough time in the day to complete tasks. According to Rosetta Stone being fluent in another language can make you a better multi-tasker. Similarly, research has shown that people are better at switching between analytical and language tasks.


You become a better communicator as you have to rethink the structure of your sentences. As well as changing between languages to gain clarification and making you understand other speakers mindsets.

Broader Job Opportunities

It opens up more job opportunities i.e able to take different roles such as a translator or an interpreter. As well as expanding job horizons being able to work in other countries.

Solving the Ignorance Is Bliss Mindset

No excuses are acceptable to not learn a further language. There is a wide range of paid or free resources online and offline to learn an additional language. Offline you can get language lessons or find language books. Similarly, you can familiarise yourself by watching films or tv series in a foreign language. On the contrary, here are a few online suggestions:

Duo Lingo

Duo Lingo is a free app with paid features if you wish to extend to its premium service. It allows you to create a profile and set weekly goals along the way. You go through modules practising translation, speaking and memorising of words. It starts simple reaching towards the complex aspects of language.

Rosetta Stone

This allows you to learn languages alongside a live tutor once a module is completed! You get to choose if you want to just speak or have a video conference with a tutor. There is also a six month money back guarantee.


How can you forget youtube! There are free courses or languages tutorials from you-tubers for all ages.

Final Advice

If monolingual native speakers can change our ways one step at a time it may lead to fewer languages dying out. Overall preserving the diverse culture the world has to offer! English is not always the best option!


Extracts of Alex

Navigating Nepal and the World

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