There are many advantages to learning foreign languages, research shows that bilingualism has been associated with improved metalinguistic awareness (the ability to recognize language as a system that can be manipulated and explored), as well as with better memory, visual-spatial skills, and even creativity.
But that’s not all! Here are 7 reasons that will push you to learn a new language as soon as possible..
1) Get smarter
Being able to speak several languages means having the ability to switch from one to the other by focusing on the language being used and simultaneously “inhibiting” the others.
Being bilingual can have tangible practical benefits. The improvements in cognitive and sensory processing driven by bilingual experience may help a bilingual person to better process information in the environment, leading to a clearer signal for learning.
Bilinguals possess greater intellectual flexibility, a better ability to deal with ambiguity or apparent contradiction, and can juggle information while ignoring unnecessary distractions.
Learning a language is a great way to keep your brain sharp and active!
2) A vast world of job opportunities
With increasing globalisation, there are few professions and positions that no longer require skills in at least one, or even two or three foreign languages. In companies, one of the job interviews may be held in a language other than one’s own. Language skills will allow the candidate, if he or she puts forward at the right moment his or her knowledge of Japanese, Spanish or Bahasa, to stand out among multiple candidates with comparable CVs.
3) Live better, live longer
The practice of languages shares certain brain mechanisms with those involved in neurological diseases of old age. For example, it has been observed on Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer can affect anyone, but bilinguals develop the disorder four to five years later than others, according to findings presented at the 2011 American Association for Scientific Advancement conference. The study involved 450 patients, half of whom were bilingual from an early age.
Do your language gymnastics and live better!
4) Increase cultural awareness
Learning a foreign language can also lead to discovering a new country, new cuisine, new social relationships and more! You probably don’t realize it, but being in contact with a new culture changes you profoundly. By having a new relationship with the world, you develop an “intercultural know-how” that few people have and of which you can be proud. Language learning can inspire tolerance, open-mindedness and understanding – which is key in a world which is becoming more and more globalised!
5) Better understanding of one’s mother tongue
For a long time, the mother tongue has been the obvious, the one we have found without ever looking for it, the only possible option that we do not even try to explain. But opening your horizon to a second language puts things into perspective.
An additional language is undoubtedly a way of deepening one’s knowledge of one’s own language. The linguistic structure that this or that language has chosen takes on added significance when compared with others: the genesis of words is revealed, the functions in the sentence are organized, the meaning of words is clarified.
6) Increase your decision-making skills
Psychological studies have shown that when people think in another language, they generally make more rational decisions. Because we tend to want to avoid what can harm us, we limit risk taking, even when circumstances work in our favour. But researchers at the University of Chicago have found that thinking in another language creates a distance that leads to decisions that are more thoughtful and less dependent on our emotions.
“Perhaps the main reason for this is that a foreign language has less emotional resonance than a native language,” said researcher Sayuri Hayakawa. “An emotional reaction can lead to decisions based more on fear than hope, even when the probability of success is very high.”
7) Become a global citizen
Whether it is for a holiday, a stopover or a professional mission, knowledge of the local language can completely change the appearance of the stay.
Travelling is much more fun when there isn’t a language barrier. You don’t have to worry about getting around or not being able to converse with the locals, and most importantly, you’ll be able to order your food without pointing at the pictures!
We run Foreign Language Classes on Monday evenings at Foyle. Courses start in September and February each year. For more information get in touch at email@example.com