John McWhorter begins his speech by clarifying that English is becoming a universal language, he explains that English has taken over in businesses, in finance, air traffic control, as well as diplomacy.
McWhorter goes on to inform the audience, that despite popular belief Mandarin is still the most idely spoken language. However, he further discloses that reports show more Chinese people are learning English, then that of English people learning Chinese.
Furthermore, McWhorter illustrates to the audience, that there has been speculation, that the 6,000 or so languages currently spoken globally, will be diminished to mere hundreds by the end of the century, with English as the most common of all.
Reasons to why you should learn another language
McWhorter begins his reasoning, through listing a common problem of people unwilling to learn a second language, mainly due to not seeing the necessity of it. He explains that learning a language, speaking more than one language can completely change your perspective of the world.
He further illustrates this through explaining how to French and Spanish speakers, a table is considered feminine. Whereas in English, a table is merely an object, there is no characteristic of joy to it.
McWhorter discloses his second reason to why he believes that learning a second language is beneficial to all. He explains that there is proof through studies, that those who are bilingual, not only have an increased chance to being able to multi-task but also have a diminished risk of ailments such as dementia.
Change in society and how it has led to an easier platform for learning to be bilingual
McWhorter also analyzed how much easier it is to gain knowledge in modern society. He explained that in the past, in order to learn; one had to rely on ‘genius’ teachers, now however he illustrates how one can simply use an application to learn, with the ability to multitask with other responsibilities in the process.
Lastly, and most importantly for McWhorter, he explains contrary to popular belief, learning a new language is fun and opens up a world of opportunities, phrases, and slang that would otherwise remain shut. McWhorter concludes his speech stating that the perfect time to learn a new language, will always be right now.