Many benefits to knowing more languages

I agree with Mr Robert Teo Kah Keng ("Promote the learning of local languages"; Feb 7).

It would be great if there were initiatives to motivate citizens to be well-versed in local languages.

By knowing another language, we become familiar with the community's culture and this helps to bridge the gap between different cultures. This is particularly important in a country like ours, which is multicultural and multi-ethnic.

Even though English has become prominent, especially among the younger generation, we must not neglect or underestimate other languages and cultures which are reservoirs of vast knowledge and civilisation.

I urge parents to encourage their children to study their mother tongues as well as other languages.

In fact, the more languages a person is proficient in, the better, in terms of enriching one's knowledge.

Syed Alwi Altahir

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'Many benefits to knowing more languages'. Print Edition | Subscribe