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Working the Future blog: our latest insights and future of work sensemaking

Four Words for Friend: Why Using More Than One Language Matters Now More Than Ever – Marek Kohn, 2019​

2022-03-08 16:19

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Reading Room, Four Words for Friend: Why Using More Than One Language Matters Now More Than Ever,

Four Words for Friend: Why Using More Than One Language Matters Now More Than Ever – Marek Kohn, 2019​

Granted, at first glance, a book that extols the myriad virtues of using more than one language in today’s world

Granted, at first glance, a book that extols the myriad virtues of using more than one language in today’s world (especially one in which lingua franca English tends to reign supreme) might not seem like the most obvious Reading Room selection for us, obsessed as we are with all things future of work-related. But Marek Kohn’s addictive book makes a fascinating case for why having multiple languages at one's disposal has never been more important.

 

“Among the many asymmetries that worked to Britain's disadvantage in its negotiations to leave the European Union,” Kohn writes, “was the twenty-seven other nations' fluent grasp of the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, unmatched by any corresponding British familiarity with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung or Bild.”

 

Empathy is one of several key soft skills that is set to be of pivotal importance within work's evolving future, so in an increasingly divided, polarised world, the plurality of perspectives multilingualism brings will surely help us to understand not just ourselves better, but others too.

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