(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1Lwu2Qm)
A very interesting thing is happening in the world today, particularly in terms of technology. For the first time in history the young actually do know more than the old in terms of our world today. The reckoning is that in fact a 20 year old today can know as much as a 50 year old knew in the 1980s. This is both scary and fantastic.
Yes I hear you all saying that of course they will not know as much about ‘life’ as the 50 year old, but in fact this is changing too. Due to technology young people are learning more about people and communication than the older generation. Tech companies also these days are far more interested in recruiting new eager young people than old established experienced staff. (Probably cheaper too!)
So what has this to do with ESL?
Well the truth is the same for the acquisition of English. For the young people today most around the world are at least aware that English is important even if they have only some proficiency in it. But what is truly amazing is the amount of older people who are taking up this learning of English too. But as the older people take on the English skills there is an interesting shift happening with them too.
As older people start to acquire the language it in turn opens up the world for them more (particularly through technology), and so they start to undergo something which is now called ‘youth-ification’.
Along with technology, the acquisition of English has made older people younger (well at least in the eyes of their community). It used to be that the person who could speak English in the group was the most powerful and most international, now it also means that they are possibly the youngest too. Therefore if you have someone in the group who is older, can speak English and is the most powerful person in the group, the chances are that the community also sees him or her as ‘younger’ than they actually are.
So why is this?
As English is known as an international language, so are the users of it. If you become proficient in English you are also considered more knowledgeable and more in touch with what is happening and in turn more open to ideas, not so ‘stuck in cultures and traditions’ and therefore younger than you look.
This can also help the older person as they too may undergo the ‘youth-ification’ principle and feel they are able to fit in in a wider context internationally and therefore feel years younger.
So my final point on this? Learn English and look 20 years younger!!
Worth a try.