Learning a foreign language has become a trend these days. Why would anyone want to spend their time learning something they don’t even speak? What advantages come with foreign language study?
Why you should learn a new language
There are several reasons why you should learn a new language. First of all, knowing another language opens doors to new opportunities. If you live in a country where English isn’t spoken, you’ll be able to communicate better with other people who speak that language. Secondly, learning a new language helps you develop your brain. The more languages you know, the smarter you get. Lastly, learning a new language makes you more attractive to potential employers.
You might be thinking that learning a new language takes too much effort or time. It takes some time, that’s true. But it’s also possible to pick up a new lingo within a short period of time. There are plenty of resources out there that can teach you a new language. In addition, you can start speaking the language immediately after completing a course.
So, why is it important to learn another language? Let’s look at the benefits language learning brings us.
1. Your memory will improve
The more you use the part of your brain responsible for learning new things, the better its function becomes. When you set out to learn a new language, your brain has to get used to new grammar and vocabulary. This way you are building new neuronal connections and help your brain to become more flexible. And learning a new vocabulary trains your brain to remember new words, connect them together, and use them in different contexts. Again, this will help to interweave the neurons in your brain more tightly, so you become better at thinking in directions other than you usual pattern.
2. You will kickstart your Career
Foreign language skills can be a significant advantage that sets you apart. They’re one of the top eight skills needed for all jobs, no matter what your industry or career level. And the global market for bilingual workers is growing rapidly. In fact, between 2009 and 2014, the number of U S. job postings specifically geared towards bilingual applicants increased nearly twofold. Companies are hiring people who can communicate effectively with clients in new and emerging international markets, as well as service and sell to an increasingly diverse domestic clientele. With more than 60 millions Americans speaking a second tongue at their homes, you don’t need a passport to put your languages skills to good use.
3. You become more confident
Anyone who has studied a foreign language knows that they make plenty of mistakes when trying to learn a new one. It’s important to learn from mistakes. To learn a new foreign tongue, you need to put yourself out there and move away from your comforts. The upside is the feeling of achievement you’ll get from conversing with people from other countries in their native languages.
4. You enhance your Communication Skills in your Mother Tongue
When you study a foreign language, your will find that your overall communication skills will improve. Not only will you be able to converse with people from another country in their local language. You are also likely to become better at conversing in your own native language. If you speak more than one language, you will start to compare the two. This way, a new language also gives you a better understanding of your own language.
5. You find a Connection to foreign Cultures
Language is the most effective way to connect with people from different countries. Learning a second or third foreign languages helps us appreciate the traditions, religions, art, and history of the countries where they’re spoken. Understanding leads to greater appreciation for different cultures, which in turn fosters greater openness toward and respect for people from different backgrounds.
6. Your Travels will never be the same again
We’ve all been there. You got lost in Paris and wanted to ask for directions in French but didn’t know how. Or you found yourself on a market in Mexico City and didn’t know how to persuade the sales men to give you a better price. If only you had known the native language! That would have been a real advantage.
Traveling isn’t just about flying to a foreign country, visiting the usual tourist attractions and taking selfies in front of the most Instagramm-able spots, before going home. It’s about getting to know the culture and the people who live there.
Even if you only know a few words and phrases, you’ll be amazed at how the locals respond to you. English speakers are used to people from other countries to speak English. In facts, we kind of expect every other nationality to learn English before visiting us. But in other countries, people are usually really pleased to hear you made the effort to learn at least a few words of their native language. Your grammar and pronunciation might not be perfect, but you will still be able to have meaningful conversations.
7. You will find new Friends from other Countries
One of the best things about learning a foreign language is the opportunity to make many new acquaintances. We are social beings, so finding friends and meeting new people is good for us. Some hermits may seek solitude to spend all their time thinking about life’s big questions. But most of us are happier when we are well-connected and have a larger crowd of friends and family with whom we can share our joys and sorrows.
A new language creates more opportunities to find friends from other cultural backgrounds, thus giving us a better understanding of our complex world instead of just looking at it from our usual angle. You can share your respective views and find out what unites us.
Finding friends in other countries will make you richer, maybe not in money but in experience and understanding. And who knows, you may find the love of your life in another culture! You never know where learning a language will take you.
8. Learning becomes easier with every new Language
If you only speak English so far, the most difficult language for you to learn will be your second. And why? Simply because everything will literally be new and foreign to you.
You have to learn new words, and another grammar. And you have to get used to make sounds with your mouth, you never made before. Simple because these sounds are not part of you local language. But they may be an ordinary sound in another part of the world.
And you will make mistakes. You will mix up words, pronounce words and phrases incorrectly and occasionally you will make a fool of yourself. In public.
But once you have mastered your first language, you already have a better understanding of the differences between two languages. The one you just learned and your own.
So, if you start to learn a second language, it will be much easier for you to see the similarities between the new language and the ones you already know. It will be easier for you to learn the rules of the new language.
And this will become easier with every new language you learn.
So, as you could see, there is a lot that learning foreign languages teaches us. Much more than just vocabulary and grammar. Foreign languages open our eyes to new cultures, interesting people and a multi cultural world. I think these are all good reasons why it is important to learn at least one other language.
And if we all put some effort into understanding other cultures better, what an amazing place this world could be!