Top 10 Reasons To Learn Languages

Although learning a language can be difficult, there are more pros to learning than cons! Today’s global society is interconnected and interdependent, and learning a language can benefit you in the long run with how you contribute and engage with the world.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Learn a Language!


One of the most rewarding aspects of the human experience is our ability to connect with others, and being able to communicate with someone in his or her language is an intrinsic form of connection. Bilinguals have the unique opportunity to communicate with a wider range of people in their personal and professional lives.


Language skills can be a significant competitive edge that sets you apart from your monolingual peers. They are among the top eight skills required of all occupations—no matter your sector or skill level—and the demand for bilingual professionals is rising exponentially. As an added incentive, in many instances, language skills also lead to hiring bonuses and increased salaries.


The cognitive benefits of learning languages are undeniable. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills. If that weren’t enough, as we age, being bilingual or multilingual also helps to stave off mental aging and cognitive decline.


Language is the most direct connection to other cultures. Being able to communicate in another language exposes us to and fosters an appreciation for the traditions, religions, arts, and history of the people associated with that language. Greater understanding, in turn, promotes greater tolerance, empathy, and acceptance of others—with studies showing that children who have studied another language are more open toward and express more positive attitudes toward the culture associated with that language.


While monolingual travelers are capable of visiting the same places, travelers who know more than one language are more easily able to navigate outside the tourist bubble and to connect and interact with the place and its people in a way that is often inaccessible to those without the language. Learning a second language also opens additional doors to opportunities for studying or working abroad.


In a world of more than 6,000 spoken languages, we sometimes require translation, but speaking at least one additional language empowers us to access information that would otherwise be off-limits. For example, individuals proficient in other languages are able to navigate the Internet as genuine global citizens—consuming and assessing foreign media and entertainment.


Not only does learning a second language improve communication skills and multiply vocabulary in your first language, but research also shows that it makes picking up additional languages a much easier feat, especially among children. That’s because when you learn a new language, you develop new brain networks that are primed and ready when you embark on learning a third language.


Any language learner can attest to making his or her share of mistakes while discovering a new language—often in front of an audience. It’s a necessary part of the learning process! Learning a language means putting yourself out there and moving out of your comfort zone. The upside is the amazing sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when conversing with someone in their native language.


Studies show that decisions made in your second language are more reason-driven than those made in your native language. Contrary to popular assumptions, when we deliberate in a second or third language, we actually distance ourselves from the emotional responses and biases deeply associated with our mother tongue. The result? Systematic and clear-headed decisions based on just the facts.


As we explore a new language and culture, we naturally draw comparisons to what is most familiar. Learning about another culture sheds light on aspects of our own culture—both positive and negative—we may not have previously considered. You may find a greater appreciation for what you have, or you may decide to shake things up!

Find out more on how you can learn a language with one of our programs TODAY:

5 ways to express your love in French

French is known as le langage de l’amour” or the language of love! And we believe that love should not be defined by just a day or month.

Keep sharing the love with our top 5 phrases in French, with the special people in your life!

1. Je t’aime
This is the most widely recognized way to say “I love you” in French to a loved one, family member or friend!

2. Mon chéri/Ma chérie
Meaning “my darling/dear,” this common endearment is used throughout the francophone world. Fun fact: If someone uses the noun “chéri” in the US, it is commonly thought that they are from (French-speaking) New Orleans, Louisiana.

3. Ma moitié
While literally “my half”, in English this would be more accurately translated as “my better half” and often refers to a “partner in crime.” This can be used with friends and romantic partners alike.

4. Avoir un cœur d’artichaut
This phrase literally means “to have an artichoke heart,” but refers to someone that falls in love easily.

5. Mon cœur bat la chamade
They don’t call it the language of love for nothing. This poetic expression translates as “My heart beats loudly [for you]”, in anticipation or excitement to see a loved one.

But as a fun twist, the word “la chamade” has an archaic use, meaning “a trumpet of signal inviting the enemy to parley”.

Do you have “un cœur d’artichaut”? Fall in love with language learning over and over again with NaTakallam’s NEW Duo Sessions in French!

Pair up and share the language learning experience with your “chéri(e)” for double the fun, double the impact! Sign up today.

5 ways to express your love in Persian

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but we have the lesser-known Sepandār-mazgān (سپندارمذگان) – the ancient Persian celebration of earth, women and love – coming up on February 23rd! 

Only recently gaining popularity among Persian communities, Sepandār-mazgān historically takes place on the 5th of ‘Esfand’ (the 12th month in the Persian calendar) and dates back to the 20th century BC! Today, in Modern day Iran, this day is observed a week earlier due to calendar changes with time.

This Sepandār-mazgān, express your affection to loved ones with our top 5 Persian phrases! ❤️

1. Doostet daram “دوستت دارم”

It literally translates to “I like you” but it is the most common and widely recognized way to say “I love you” to a loved one, family or friends in Persian!

2. Asheghetam “عاشقتم”

From the word “eshgh” (love), it literally translates to “I’m in love with you.” It’s a much more intense expression or display of love, for romantic or close platonic relationships alike! 

3. Jigar tala “جیگر طلا

This Persian expression takes the cake for unique ways to address your lover, literally meaning “golden liver”. An English equivalent might look something like “A heart of gold.” 

4. Fadat besham “فدات بشم”

The ultimate expression of affection, this phrase means “I am willing to sacrifice myself for you.” Use this expression the next time someone says something super adorable that makes you melt. Said in fun, this phrase is not to be taken seriously!

5. Eshghe mani “عشق منی” 

Translating to “you are my love”; this phrase can be used in response to an adorable comment by a loved one. Derived from the word eshghعشق” (love), you can flip around the expression and add the possessive pronoun “my”, or suffix “-am” in Persian: “eshgh” + “am” = eshgham (my love).

Other common terms of endearment include: azizam (my dear), asalam (my honey), khoshgelam (my beautiful), nafasam (my breath), jigaram (my liver).

This February, sign up for NaTakallam’s NEW Duo Sessions in Persian and share the love WITH your jigar tala (جیگر طلا)! At NaTakallam, every language session contributes to the livelihoods of our skilled tutors from refugee/displaced backgrounds. What say’s “doostet daram” more than that?

Double the fun and impact; learn more here.

5 ways to express your love in Spanish

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, express your affection to your loved one in one of the most romantic languages in the world – español! Here are 5 fun ways to impress your sweetheart this Valentine’s 😉

1. Te quiero:

From the verb “querer” (to want), this phrase literally translates to “I want you” but contextually also means “I love you” when said to a loved one, friend or family! It is usually a lighter expression of care and affection compared to “Te amo”, which has a more romantic or intimate connotation and reserved for a lover.

2. Flechazo:

Literally “an arrow shot” – meaning, love at first sight! Although its literal meaning is the pain or injury caused by an arrow, in colloquial terms, this Spanish untranslatable refers to the moment when love strikes unexpectedly!

3. Querido/Querida:

One of the most common, affectionate and widely recognized terms of endearment, and it’s translated as “darling” or “sweetheart”!

4. Mi reina/rey:

Make your Valentine feel extra special – and royal – when you call them “my queen” or “my king”. Throwback to Game of Thrones times. Moreover, this term of endearment could also be used between platonic friends to mean “darling” or “dude”.

5. Que mono/mona eres!:

In Spain, this phrase means something like “You’re so cute!”. But if you want to translate it literally, you would be telling your crush: “You’re so monkey!” 🙂

This Valentine’s, sign up for NaTakallam’s NEW Duo Sessions in Spanish and share the love WITH your querida/o! Twice the fun and impact; learn more here.

5 ways to express your love in Arabic

Valentine’s Day is almost here! Show your love to that special someone in your life with one of these Arabic love expressions.

From our قلب ❤️  (heart) to yours:

1. Ahebbak/Ahebbik “أحبك”:
This is the most common and widely recognized way to say “I love you” in Arabic.

2. ‘Ala raasii على راسي”:
What better way to tell someone you would do anything for them than to say you would do it “on my head”? When a loved one asks a favour of you, this Arabic reply means that – to use English equivalents – you would walk across hot coals, move mountains, do anything, for their happiness.

3. Ya rouhiيا روحي”: 

If you know Arabic, chances are you’ve heard of the commonly used habibi/habibti, literally meaning “my dear”. Similarly, this sweet little phrase also implies “my dear/beloved,” but literally means “my soul.”

4. Kalamak/ik ‘ala qalbi ‘asalكلامك على قلبي عسل”: 

Make sure to add a wink after this phrase ;). Literally meaning, “Your words are honey on my heart,” this expression is the perfect response for when a special someone says something especially sweet. 

5. Tuqburniiتقبرني”:

Although this phrase literally means: “You bury me”, it’s used a lot to say “I love you so much.” Someone who says this expression is remarking that they would rather die and have you bury them before losing you. It’s actually quite sweet!


… حب (hub), شغف (shaghaf), عشق (‘ishq) and more… in Arabic, love is a complex spectrum!

This month, don’t miss NaTakallam’s NEW “Duo” Valentine’s offer on our Integrated Arabic Curriculum, perfect for two – lover, sibling or friend!

Alternatively, sign up for our Duo Conversation Sessions in the following Arabic offerings: Egyptian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Syrian, Yemeni, or Modern Standard Arabic. Learn more here.

10 untranslatable love expressions from 6 languages

Love is a universal language but some days you need a little extra to express your affection to your loved one. With Valentine’s just around the corner, here are our top 10 love expressions in 6 languages!

1. Arabic: “دمه خفيف” (damu-hu khafeef)
Literally “his blood is light”, is a way of saying that you find someone extremely funny and adorable! Change to “دمها خفيف” (damu-ha khafeef) when speaking to a lady 😉

2. Spanish: “Eres un bombón”
For days when your eye candy is looking particularly sweet, literally meaning “you are a bonbon”. 

3. French: “Mon petit chou” (masculine) or “Ma choupinette” (feminine)
Want a unique way to address your beloved? This French term of endearment, literally translates to “my little cabbage”! Confused? The “chou” here is actually short for ‘chou à la crème’, a sweet puff pastry!

4. Persian (Farsi): “دلم برات تنگ شده” (delam barat tang shode)
When “I miss you” just isn’t enough, employ this poetic Persian phrase: lit. “my heart has tightened for you”. This could mean the mental feeling of missing someone transforms into physical pain or that you miss someone so much; you can’t breathe!

5. Spanish: “Me haces mucha falta”
Or if you’d prefer en español, this very common phrase is often directly translated as “I miss you”. But when you break it down, it basically translates to: you make a big absence in me, or you are lacking from me!

6. French: “Retrouvailles”
More relevant this year than ever: the unmatched feeling of joy when finally reunited after much time apart – that’s exactly what this untranslatable French word describes!

7. Kurdish (Kurmanji): “Kezeb-a min”
Go beyond the typical terms of endearment with Kurmanji and address your loved one – lover, family or friend – with: “Kezeb-a min”, literally meaning “my liver”. As a vital organ, this is truly a sign of affection!

8. Arabic “تقبرني” (tuqburnii):

No, we did not mix up our Valentine’s Day and Halloween expression lists! Although this phrase literally means:, “You bury me”, it’s used to imply: one would rather die and have you bury them, than live without you! It’s actually quite touching.

9. Persian “دورت بگردم” (doret begardam):
Another poetic Persian phrase, this one translates literally to: “let me circle around you”, in effect, meaning, “I would do anything for you”. We love the planetary imagery this evokes! 

10. Armenian: մեռնեմ ջանիդ (mermen janid)
As suggested by its literal translation, “let me die for/on your body”, this phrase indicates a readiness to sacrifice your life for your loved one, and may be said to anyone you love and care for.

Looking for more ways to express your love? Skip the chocolates! 

This year, try NaTakallam’s NEW Duo language option and discover your language of love WITH your loved one (and save up to 25%!). 

Twice the learning, twice the impact. Sign up here for Arabic, French, Persian and Spanish!

10 ways to go beyond a simple “thank you” in different languages

2020 has been a testing year for us all, to say the least. As a way of expressing our gratitude to all our language learners, language instructors, translators, interpreters, volunteers & team members throughout, here are 10 ways of saying thank you — in Arabic, French, Persian and Spanish!

1. تسلم / تسلمي (Tislam/Tislami)

Coming from the root verb “سلم” or “salama” meaning “to come out safe/healthy”, this phrase means “May you stay safe”, and can be used as a way to thank someone, while literally also wishing well for their health and safety!

2. يعطيك العافية (Ya‘tik al-‘afiya)

Literally translating to “may [God] give you health,” this is a recognition of someone’s hard work and allows you to show your appreciation.

3. Merci de tout coeur (mekh-see dah tu ker)

A heartfelt phrase in French meaning, “thank you with all my heart”.

4. C’est très gentil à toi / vous (seh tkheh jan-tee a twa/voo)

In more formal settings, one might say “that’s very kind of you”. Remember to use “vous” when speaking in a respectful manner! 

5. Daste shomā dard nakone (دست شما درد نکنه )

Never realized how poetic Persian is? This phrase means “may your hand not hurt”, often used when someone gives you a gift or prepares food for you.

6. Ghorbāne shomā (قربان شما )

Literally meaning “your sacrifice”, this is an example of a Persian taarof or an Iranian sign of etiquette and politeness, displaying humility. Read more here for context.

7. Te la/lo debo (te la/lo de-bo)

Spanish for “I owe you” – use this with friends to let them know you’re grateful for them and you got them next time!

8. (Estoy) Muy agradecido/a (ehs-toy muy agra-de-cido/a)

This is a lovely way to say “(I’m) very grateful for you” – another version of “thank you so much”, as the adjective “agradecido” is translated as “grateful”.

9. Mamnoun(t)ak/ek (ممنونك/ممنونتك)

You may hear this Arabic loanword, “mamnoun” or “ممنون”, in Arabic or Persian, as a way to say “thank you” or “I’m grateful to you”.

10. Merci (mekh-see)

Don’t be surprised if you hear “merci”, a common way to say “thank you”, beyond francophone countries, it’s also common in Middle Eastern countries and even Iran!  

Here’s to reaching new language feats in 2021! 

Happy new year, كل سنة وأنتم بخير, Feliz año nuevo, Bonne année, سال نو مبارک, from the NaTakallam family to yours 🙂

P.S. In case you missed our thank you series in the past month, check them here in Arabic, Persian, French and Spanish!

Shabe Yalda: The longest night of the year

Blog contributor: Sayed, NaTakallam Persian tutor

Shabe Yalda; a night of welcoming. A night of love, light and rebirth of the sun. The night of Hafez and Bidel (Persian poets) and lovers in the hope of a bright sunrise and longer days to come.

Credits: Turmeric Saffron

Shabe Yalda (شب یلدا‎), or the Night of Yalda, is the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as the winter solstice. It is also one of the most important ancient Persian traditions which is still celebrated today, on 20-21st of December

This night marks the longest and darkest night of the year, and in return celebrates the “rebirth of the sun” as the daylight would get longer – also coinciding with “Khurram ruz” (the day of the sun). This has been an important winter festival among rural people, based on agriculture and animal husbandry. The celebration of Shabe Yalda is also called “Shabe Chelleh” (شب چله‎), the night of the forty, because it is believed that the first forty days of winter are the coldest and toughest to bear.

In the Persian calendar*, this night refers to the time between sunset from 30th Azar (the last day of autumn and the 9th month of the Persian calendar) to sunrise on the 1st of Dey (the first day of winter, and the 10th month) – equivalent to 20th/21st of December.

*Fun fact: Did you know the Persian calendar is based on astronomical observations and is considered one of the closest to a perfect calendar according to this and this source? (The months are also aligned with the star signs!)

The word “Yalda” (یلدا‎) comes from the Syriac word, meaning “birth”. It is in fact thought that the ancient Persians (of Zoroastrian faith) adopted the annual ‘renewal of the Sun’ celebrations from the Babylonians and ancient Egyptians. Thereafter, the Persian Yalda festival and rituals reportedly entered ancient Rome as the “Saturnalia” celebration – where they honored the agricultural god, Saturn. For a full week, all social norms were reverted (the rich and the poor became equal, and masters served slaves) and gifts were exchanged.

Today, many friends and families from Iranian, Afghan, Tajik, Kurdish and Azeri communities come together to celebrate Shabe Yalda. Friends gather in groups or relatives usually at the home of grandparents or the elderly to spend the whole night waiting for the sun to rise. They pass the longest night with legends, stories and riddles, quoting the Shahnameh (the epic Book of Kings by Ferdowsi, and the longest poem ever written by a single author), reciting poems from Divan-e Hafez*, playing instruments, singing, having fresh fruits such as watermelon, persimmon and pomegranate, and “ajil”, آجیل, (a colorful mix of dried fruits, nuts and seeds).

*Reciting poems from Divan-e Hafez is a special tradition on this night. Each member, in turn, makes a secret wish or poses a secret question (in their heart), and opens a random page in the book, in which the elder member of the family, or best reciter/interpreter, reads the selected poem out loud. It is believed that the randomly selected poem is a response, guidance or direction to the secret wish or question. It is fun to guess the secret wishes of others when in groups, as well!

According to an old belief, the sun, with its sunrise, will break the back of darkness, and with its radiance, it will remove darkness from people’s lives. 

As Persians say… Shabe Yalda mobarak, شب یلدا مبارک – Happy Yalda Night!

Fascinated by Persian traditions, language and poetry? Get more insight into the culture with NaTakallam’s native instructors! Sign up here, today.

This piece was contributed by Sayed, our Persian Language Partner, based in Indonesia.

Sayed Mohammad Nabi was born in Afghanistan right after the Soviet withdrawal but has lived as a refugee in Iran and currently resides in Indonesia. He studied French language and literature at Kabul University and has a background in translation and interpretation. In his free time, he enjoys poetry, photography, and hiking. He’s been working with NaTakallam since the beginning of 2020.

The Human Rights Advocates teaching you languages :)!

Today, December 10th, marks Human Rights Day  – the day the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948…and a day to celebrate in all languages!

Did you know..?

Many of our Conversation Partners (CPs) are human rights advocates, themselves!

Mahmoud: Women’s Rights in the Middle East

“This year during COVID times I started an Instagram account supporting women rights and speaking on human rights topics in the Middle East. My goal is to shed light on the growing gender equality movement in the Middle East covering topics toxic masculinity, relationships, the upbringing of children and mental health. Moreover, I started working as a cultural mediator for the European network for the work with perpetrators of gender based violence, a project by the European Commission, and I will have my first webinar about this topic very soon, on the 10th of December!”

Mahmoud, Syrian CP based in Germany

Leila: Giving a voice to the voiceless

“Most of my studies are about voiceless people from the Middle East. This year during the very hard times of the pandemic, I started to focus on presenting my ideas and interpretations via zoom workshops and talks, as well as building a series of podcasts. In these podcasts, we try to educate the people about their past. Our goal is to show that there are always traces of subordinated voiceless people neglected by governments and some historians. The history is not only of well-off people, but all the human beings, despite their ethnicity, sex, and social class, should have their space in history. The history of the Middle East, in most cases, is comprised of the stories of victorious kings, armies, and masculinity-we are trying to transform all these presumptions. I am also writing applications and hope to get some amount of money to continue my project on voiceless people in Europe.”

– Leila, Persian CP based in Sweden

Luis: Fighting against corruption


”I am a former anti-corruption prosecutor and I worked in high impact cases within my country, which were of national significance. One of them even transcended in the United States of North America. In the cases that I work, I managed to prosecute high officials of the State as well as powerful national and international businessmen, which represented an harassment of me in social networks, complaints against me by the same people that I processed… reaching such harassment to control my family and me in our home, which brought me to my current refugee situation in the United States. As there is no support or protection from the institutions of the State of Guatemala despite various complaints that I present making known the danger that my family and I were facing. But in the same way, I feel very happy with the work I did, because fighting corruption is synonymous to support for Human Rights. Since corruption limits people to have access to good education, food, health, housing, among others, and despite being away from my home and loved ones, I know that I did the right things in the right way.”

– Luis, Guatemalan CP based in the US

Fanar: Refugee & Asylum Rights to Resettlement


“After more than 4 years of waiting in my host country, I am finally getting the chance to have an asylum visa to France through the French Embassy. It was like a miracle for me to get it especially in this hard year for most of the people. I didn’t believe in good in this world, but we found very good hearted people that helped and still want to help us.

I am expecting to travel in the next few days with my family and I am very excited to move to a new country and have a life after years of being a refugee in Jordan, or I wasn’t even recognized as a refugee by the UNHCR. I hope this gives hope to others who are in need for it.

NaTakallam is a great opportunity for me because I cannot work in Jordan because I am an asylum seeker. I feel happy and hopeful every time I get a new student. NaTakallam is the place where I can meet different and new young people that encourage me to look forward. I am very glad to be one of the CPs in such a wonderful organization. I feel liked and confident whenever I talk to one of my students. I can see their kindness in their words and compliments that makes me so happy and satisfied. There are students that care for my asylum status and try to send me online jobs: one time my sister got a job because of my student sending me a link she found and thought of us!”

– Fanar, Iraqi CP based Jordan, soon moving to France

Join us today, and every day, in celebrating human rights, and all the unsung heroes around the world who’ve stood up for humanity. 

Wanna get to know these heroes further & even perhaps, learn languages with them?
 Sign up for language sessions (in 5 languages) with them here!
Or maybe even gift them to loved ones this holiday season.

5 Ways to say “thank you” in Persian

For our last series of “thank yous”,we’re highlighting 5 culturally meaningful ways to express gratitude in Persian!

1. Sepās-gozāram (سپاسگزارم)

Mostly for formal settings, and with roots dating back to ancient Persia, the term “Sepās-gozāram” (سپاسگزارم), meaning “I am grateful” can also be used in a more casual way with, “Sepās” (سپاس).

Want to impress? Feel free to add “kheyli” (very) before “sepās-gozāram” to emphasize your gratitude.

2. Mersi (مرسی) or Merci

Looking for a more colloquial term? Go for the French loan word, “Merci” – but roll the r to pronounce as “mer-see”. It leans more on the informal side but remains common across Farsi-speaking communities. In return, expect to hear “khahesh mikonam” (you’re welcome).

3. Daste shomā dard nakone (دست شما درد نکند )

This phrase, which literally means “may your hand not hurt”, is frequently used when someone gives you a gift* or even in situations related to food or physical assistance. 

“Shoma” is a formal pronoun for “you”, similar to the French “vous”. Make this phrase informal with this slight tweak: “Dastet dard nakone”.

*Try this out if you happen to give/receive our Persian Gift of Conversation to/from a loved one this holiday season 😉

4. Kheili lotf dārid (خیلی  لطف دارید)

Remember that “kheyli” = very? This phrase literally translates to “You have much kindness” or “That’s very kind of you”. This can be used when receiving compliments, gifts, or even declining favors thoughtfully and with kindness.

5. Ghorbāne shomā (قربان شما )

Literally meaning “your sacrifice”, this is an example of a Persian taarof, or an Iranian sign of etiquette and politeness. When someone compliments you, instead of saying “thank you” to accept the compliment (culturally, it is more common to display modesty and deny the compliment), you would reply “ghorbāne shomā” simply displaying humility. The literal meaning is that you would sacrifice yourself for the person… as a sign of affection that is 😉

P.S. For a more informal use, ditch the formal “shoma” and use “Ghorboone to” or “Ghorboonet”.

Similar to Arabic, these translations can come across as quite dramatic but also reflect the beauty of the Persian language (and its poetry)!

Lastly, remember “mamnoun” or “ممنون” from our Arabic blog? Persians use it too! If you’re hooked on the links between Arabic and Persian, check this out: both of the Persian words “تشکر” (tashakkur) and “متشکرم” (motashakkeram) come from the Arabic root “sh-k-r”, meaning “to thank” exactly like shukran!

Now that you’re basically an expert, put your skills into action! 

Book a one-on-one Persian language session here.

Or.. give our Gift of Conversation to Persian-learning friends.