Why You Should Learn Another Language
By Krista S.W.
Let’s face it. Many of us are required to take a world language course at some point in our lives. Some may welcome this as a fun opportunity, while others expect it to be boring. But have you ever thought about what that language class could offer you? There are plenty of benefits to learning a foreign language, and people learn them for different reasons. So why learn a foreign language?
Your cognitive functions improve.
This may seem obvious, but it is true. Learning a language can improve memory, listening skills, decision making skills, problem-solving skills, attention span, and brain development in certain areas. As a result, students that know multiple languages tend to score higher on exams than those who don’t. Furthermore, knowing a foreign language can also improve observation skills and prevent the onset of dementia.
You become a better multitasker.
Studies have shown that multilinguals are better multitaskers than monolinguals. Through navigating different language systems, your multitasking ability improves, which refines traits necessary for complicated tasks.
It can increase your chances of employment.
Foreign language skills not only improve your cognitive functions, but also make you stand out to employers. There are careers catered specifically towards multilinguals. Employers value people who can speak multiple languages, especially since more businesses are expanding overseas. You may also receive a higher income than those who are monolingual.
You gain cultural competency.
Traveling to a country while knowing their language is a benefit, but learning any language introduces cultural competency. Some things accepted in your culture might not be accepted in another culture. For example, making eye contact is seen as positive in the U.S., while it can be seen as negative in other countries. You eat with silverware in the U.S., while people eat with chopsticks in Asian countries. Being educated about different cultures opens your eyes to a whole new world of perspectives. You realize that not everyone has to speak English and that you can connect with people from backgrounds other than your own.
You understand your native language better.
Especially if you learn one of the Romance languages like Spanish, French, or Swedish, you grow more conscious of rules in your native language. When studying features such as conjugations and sentence structure, you become aware of their existence in English, and that can improve your English grammar.
It can boost your confidence.
Yes, you will make mistakes when it comes to language learning, but that’s part of the process. It will take years of practice until you become fluent like a native speaker, but when you find that you can read simple sentence in your target language, you know you are making progress. In this sense, learning a new skill can boost your self-esteem. And the best part? Learning a second language can help make learning a third language easier.
With more than 6,000 languages spoken on Earth, there are plenty of choices as to which one you can learn. Whether it’s a common language like Mandarin Chinese or a dead language like Latin, no language is worthless. There are free apps like Duolingo for language learning and HelloTalk for conversing with native speakers. Learning a language comes with an enhanced understanding of a culture’s identity, including its history, art, customs, and food. You can also enjoy different forms of entertainment like music, movies, TV shows, and even books. No matter what language you choose, you are making a great investment by choosing to become multilingual.
What language(s) do you plan on learning?