Learning a second language requires a lot of hard work and dedication. However, there are several powerful benefits of learning a second language if you put in the effort.
Many people choose to learn a second language to communicate abroad or with people of other nationalities. These are great reasons to start learning a new language. But in truth, there is more to gain from bilingualism than improved communication.
When you choose to learn another language, you can change the way you think, and even improve the functioning of your brain. In short, you open yourself to new possibilities and opportunities when you acquire a second language. In this article, we’ll review the seven benefits of learning a second language.
1. Learning A Second Language Enhances Your Brain Power
You gain all kinds of improvements while learning a new language. But some of the biggest gains are seen in your ability to process information in the brain.
In general, learning is essential and beneficial for brain functioning. But undertaking a new language brings learning to a whole new level. Foreign languages are complex systems full of intricate rules, structures, and information.
When you choose to engage and understand them, you are working your brain to its full intellectual capacity. This creates unprecedented growth and development.
Think of it this way, your muscles need to be flexed and worked out to grow. Your brain works similarly. As you navigate through new grammar rules and new vocabulary, your brain is pushed and used in new and exciting ways.
Languages are by no means easy to grasp. They require critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. But as you interact with them more and more you grow these skills.
One of the great benefits of learning a second language is that more of your cognitive abilities are developed as you work out how to communicate in a completely different way.
Naturally, by working your brain this hard, you can better communicate, not only in your second language but in your own language. Your abilities to learn other subjects are also improved. This is because you have trained your brain to memorize and process new information more efficiently.
2. Your Career Options Will Improve By Learning A Second Language
Not only can you see intellectual improvements, but you can see benefits in your day to day life. Another one of the many benefits of learning a second language is it can actually improve your job prospects substantially.
Most people can only speak a single language well. So when you become fluent in a second language, you set yourself apart from other applicants.
In addition, language skills are important for any industry you apply to. There is a lot of demand for workers who can speak more than one language.
In fact, businesses are looking for bi-lingual candidates more and more each year. This is because the world is becoming increasingly globalized. For instance, language skills can be important when communicating with other branches of your company, or if your company wants to conduct foreign business.
Also, not everyone speaks the same language in a country. For instance, in America, millions of people speak languages other than English. Employers will look on you favorable because you can connect with a whole other demographic of potential customers.
Furthermore, if you are fluent, you could even apply to jobs in a different country and have a chance to live and experience an entirely new culture.
3. You Learn More About Other Cultures
As discussed in the previous section, language learning can expose you to all sorts of new opportunities. You could even move to a foreign country and learn about a new culture.
Still, you don’t have to make huge changes in your life to learn more about different customs and cultures. Cultural exchange happens naturally as you learn more about your target language. As you expose yourself to foreign words and ideas you are able to acquire more information about the people who use the language.
Generally, this happens naturally in the more intermediate stages of language learning and is another one of the many benefits of learning a second language. If you can’t visit a country, you need different methods to listen and learn about a language.
Most language learners turn to media sources to help improve their language skills. Anything from music to tv shows, to books, and movies. They are all used as learning tools.
As you immerse yourself in these new sources of information, you learn more about the culture. So not only do you pick up on language skills, but you also have the potential to learn about the art, history, and customs of a different country.
As you start to get better and better at speaking and understanding a language, you will also begin to learn about the culture more deeply.
4. Learning A Second Language Slows Down Brain Aging
In addition to boosting brainpower, another one of the benefits of learning a second language is it actually protects your brain from aging. As you get older, your brain starts to lose its edge.
You might not think this is important right now, but if you want to live a quality life in your older age, this is something to consider. Aging brains tend to run slower and are unable to process as much information. They are also more prone to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Luckily though, when you commit to language learning, you slow down the process of brain aging. You can stay sharper and more alert in old age.
Many scientific studies have confirmed this benefit. Being bilingual can really boost brain health. Some studies have even suggested that it can delay Alzheimer’s by up to four years.
Scientists attribute this effect to the cognitive back and forth of bilingual thinking. People who speak multiple languages must separate languages from one another constantly. For instance, you don’t want to speak French when you are having a conversation in English.
Really, the brain gets a serious workout as it separates various languages and keeps them from interfering with one another. This cognitive exercise is what keeps the brain active and healthy.
It doesn’t matter whether you acquired your second language in childhood or learned it later as an adult. Anyone can reap these health benefits.
5. Understanding A Second Language Boosts Creativity
When you use more than one language to communicate, you are forced to think differently and more creatively. Ideas in your primary language might be difficult to translate into your second language. As a result, you’ll have to think more deeply about the meaning of your own language.
This includes the meaning of specific words, grammar, and concepts distinct to your culture. To get to the core of your ideas and communicate them well, you have to be inventive. This way you can speak effectively.
As you do this over and over, you gain new insights into your own language. You naturally boost your own creativity as you re-work words and phrases familiar to you into an entirely new language.
You don’t always say things exactly as you mean to, but by practicing a new vocabulary, you get better and better at your second language. At the same time, you get to be creative and have fun with new words.
In fact, one of the main benefits of learning a second language is that you have two entire languages to pull ideas from. Languages have ideas and words that are completely unique to their own lexicon.
When you invest in learning a second language, you open yourself to new ideas that can spark newfound creativity.
6. Learning A Second Language Helps You Connect With Other People
It goes without saying, but one of the most obvious benefits of learning a second language is that it will help you connect with more people. When you learn a second language, you can talk to a whole new population of people.
Speaking one language is fine, but it severely limits your ability to communicate with individuals from other cultures. However, as you become fluent in another language, this communication barrier disappears.
You can travel to countries you’ve dreamed of visiting. And you can actually speak and connect with locals on a new level. None of this is possible unless you take that step to learn a new language.
Furthermore, if you plan on moving to an entirely new country, language learning is especially helpful. You will make friends more easily and assimilate better into your new host country.
Even if you don’t travel abroad, you can still network with other people online or in your community. People speak all kinds of languages. And as the world continues to become more interconnected through technology, you can connect to others even better with your language skills.
7. You Can Improve Your Decision Making Process When You Understand A Second Language
The last advantage of learning a second language is a crucial one. Many people struggle with uncertainty and unrest in the face of decision making. But one of the benefits of learning a second language is that you can actually improve your ability to make decisions.
Scientists have done multiple studies on this effect. They have determined that making decisions in your second language can actually be easier.
Your primary language has its own cultural biases. But when you start to think and decide in another language, you distance yourself from that bias. What this means is that you can make more rational decisions with a second language.
You will able to distance yourself from cultural assumptions and emotions. As a result, your choices will be more logical.
If you want to be more factual and clear-headed as you make decisions, learning a second language can help you with that.
The realization that there are 86,400 seconds each day. What are you doing today, so that tomorrow you are a step closer to where you want to be? If not now, then when?
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