The Benefits of Learning a Second Language
We are living in an era where English is slowly becoming a universal language regardless of the associated consequences. Let’s face it, English is the language of the internet, finance, air traffic control, diplomacy, popular music, and films – the language is everywhere.
In fact, most foreigners who are (non-English speaking individuals) are in a ‘quest’ to learn the English language. Also, it’s been predicted that most languages will be extinct by the end of this century, leaving just a few hundred out of the current 6000 languages. On top of that, instant translation of live speech keeps getting better day by day.
So, what are the benefits to learning a second language?
With the aforementioned facts, the above question is inevitable. Yes, we aren’t there yet but there is no denying the possibility of getting to a point where people will start asking: why should I learn a second language except English for non-English speaking individuals? Why bother to learn another language when with time everyone in the universe will be able to communicate in one? the inevitable is bound to happen, whether we see it coming or not.
Well, today we want to address this very question with a simple answer YES. The benefits are endless in terms of learning a second language such as:
Delayed Early Onset of Dementia
Bilingualism has been suggested to delay dementia. However, the inconsistency mainly occurs in matters to do with bilingualism in adulthood and infrequent use of a second language. Therefore, we can’t dismiss the possible benefits that bilingualism can have on kids. And given that Alzheimer’s and some other forms of dementia sets in pretty early, it won’t hurt to give the second language learning a shot amongst your kid(s).
Additionally, bilingualism helps you to multi-task better. This, in turn will save you time and money but most importantly, it boosts your management skills which then stimulates your brain, by keeping you active verbally and mentally.
On top of that, there is the benefit of brain growth and a memory booster which translates to delayed cognitive impairment. Think about it, between names of acquaintances whose native language you’re familiar with and those whose language you don’t even know; which ones will you most likely remember?
Having A Quantifiable Challenge
There is a need to keep taking up challenges in life, right? Well, learning a second language helps you accomplish that. The best part is, it’s a life challenge that will lead to a lifetime of learning whilst training your mind to be lucid and agile. Besides that, second language learning is easy to do as it can fit right into your tight schedule.
Most importantly, it’s easy to set clear and simple goals in order to successfully reach them regularly. For instance, you can take note of the first time you conjugate a Spanish verb without having to think about it, when you guess the meaning of a German word without breaking it down, or when you realize while speaking Italian that you just emphasize your point with some simple gestures. In the same light, you can tell what goals you’ve accomplished and what you need to work on hence making it an easily quantifiable challenge.
They say that discovering a community in their local language is equivalent to loving a person not for their looks but for who they are, and they’re right. A community language is essential in unlocking its culture which embodies the expression of music, films, and theatre as well as unveiling human emotions.
For instance, to actors filming culture-based movies, second language learning can help them resonate better with that culture bettering their acts. Similarly, a man marrying from a different culture will have an easier time interacting with in-laws upon learning their language.
A second language will help you interact better with co-workers, school teachers, and even place you in a better position to follow the instructions of a midwife based in a different culture from yours. You’ll also be better equipped to serve your culturally different clients.
Additionally, you’ll be able to mitigate some liabilities by being in a position to understand legal documents and speaking with tax authorities without the need to rely on a translator as it will cause inconvenience. Do note, that the new language does not channel the culture but it helps you understand the people and their culture better and easier.
Having A Wonderful Time When Exploring A Foreign Country
There are numerous benefits of being a tourist who speaks the local language. First, it makes you comfortable in a new environment. Two, the locals are likely to warm up to you and thus get some special treatment like a coffee or tea on the house courtesy of the owner.
Three, it will be all easier to navigate around as you can clearly ask directions from the locals. From boarding public transportation to ordering meals and interacting with acquaintances.
Additionally, you won’t be short of vacation ideas for knowing a language offers a ready-made vacation spot. And guess what, knowing that community’s local language helps eliminate stress related issues when deciding to travel abroad or to foreign cultures.
Discovering A New Side Of Yourself
Second language learning is key to discovering deeper parts of yourself. This can be attributed to the fact that the new language can liberate you from any inhibitions resulting from use of your mother tongue.
In other words, a second language can change your personality to some extent in terms of accent, intonations, and the use of gestures. This can have an impact on your emotions too. For instance, some languages like Italian makes you more emotional while in some, the communication feels so direct like German.
Nonetheless, the possibility of having a variety of emotions, accents, intonations, and gestures as you speak will help you better understand yourself by figuring out which of those you prefer or best resonate with.
Getting That Dream Job
Gone are the days when translators and linguists were the only individuals who depended on learning other languages to advance their career. This can be attributed to today’s globally connected economy. Heck, most multinational companies prefer bilingual speakers in comparison to native speakers.
That means second language learning can help you get that dream job by opening new doors and setting yourself apart from the competition. Basically, you don’t have to change your 9-5 job but learning a new language can help you get admissions to different states with more stimulating environments and perform the same tasks as before. This is more so for careers in the fields of consulting, international relations, marketing, customer service, hospitality, among others.
Culture through Art
Have you ever attended a stand-up comedy skit where a foreign comedian performed in your local language? How thrilling was it?
Well, I’m willing to bet it was more fun than when the comedian who would have used a typical sort of universal language. But do you know that it was more fun and adventurous for the comedian than it was for you? There is no better joy and fun as that arising from learning a second language.
Luckily, this fun does not only apply to stand up comedians, but you can also enjoy yourself whilst reading a book, watching a movie or literally doing anything in its original versions.
Here is an example:
Figure 1: Conjugating in Arabic
Notice how the consonants remain intact serving as pillars while the vowels dance around them? So cool. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to roll that off their tongue? Luckily for language-lovers, you can get the same from Ethiopian language (Amharic), some Spanish, and Hebrew language.
Additionally, all languages have a different word order which is just intriguing. For example:
Figure 2: Word order
To Sum It Up
Second language learning is wonderful with numerous benefits as discussed above. Better yet, learning these languages is easier than ever before. I mean can you compare the old fashioned cassette and books with the modern-day apps such as Duolingo and Babbel?
Don’t hesitate, go forth and learn a new language as the benefits it shall give you, will most certainly leave you speechless or shall i say speechful!