8 Benefits of Learning a Second Language
As globalization continues to soar, so has the need to communicate faster and more efficiently. This has forced populations across the world to learn a foreign language.
Learning a second language is a surefire way to keep your brain sharp and healthy. Whether you want to hang out with friends, get to know co-workers, or just interact with people on social media, learning a second language can provide you the social boost you need badly.
There are many social benefits to learning a second language. From building closer connections with people to giving yourself a competitive advantage at work, speaking a second language matters. Read on to discover 8 benefits of learning a second language.
1. Increased Ability to See Other People’s Perspectives
Learning a foreign language often includes learning about its culture. The more you are familiar with different cultures, the more you become familiar with their differences and nuances.
People who study and understand a different language find it easy to accept people from other cultures. Also, children who speak different languages are better placed in dealing with social situations than monolingual children.
Bilingual children have some advantages of interpreting an adult’s intended meaning. It’s believed that since bilingual children need to choose which language to use in different conversations, they are likely better at seeing the perspectives of others.
2. Opens Windows to a New Culture
Having frequent, meaningful interactions with different cultures is one of the social benefits of learning a second language. In all communications, showing respect to the person you’re talking to is good practice. Also demonstrating an understanding of the history and culture of the counterpart is extremely valuable.
Speaking the language of your counterpart shows the significant amount of time you’ve put into learning their culture. The more you understand their history and culture, the easier it becomes for you to build genuine connections with the people and language.
A person who has achieved a high degree of cultural awareness might be considered more trustworthy than a delegate who needs an interpreter. In this sense, understanding other people’s cultures is beneficial in international relations.
3. Take Pride in Heritage
For those with ties to another country, learning the family language is a great way to connect with your descendants. Children who learn their “descendants’ language” earlier on tend to grow up taking pride in their cultural heritage.
4. Improved Memory
One of the primary importance of learning a second language is that it helps improve memory. To strengthen the memory muscle, you need to exercise it. Learning a foreign language involves a lot of thinking and comprehension which is a good mental workout.
Learning a different language requires not only familiarity with rules and vocabulary but also the ability to remember and apply this knowledge. This means that the brains of bilingual people are more exercised as such, can quickly remember facts, directions, names, and figures.
Bilingual children are known to perform better than their monolingual counterparts in tasks that involve using their working memory. This is partly because learning a second language forces you to store things in your long term and short term memory.
5. Foster Better Decision-Making Skills
The decision-making process is much easier for multilingual individuals. There are regional expressions and nuances that bilinguals judge for hidden meanings and appropriateness. This is apart from the vocabulary and rules associated with learning a foreign language
Biases are a big hindrance to making the right decisions. It can lead you to choose poorly when provided with multiple options. Learning a second language can reduce inherent biases, helping you make decisions based on logic and not gut feelings.
Bilinguals often think through problems more carefully which in turn minimizes their vulnerability to inherent biases.
6. Facilitate Easier Travel
Effectively learning a second language is certainly beneficial if you often travel to a foreign country. You can not only find it easy to understand maps, menus, and signs but you will also be able to communicate with the natives in their native language.
The more relaxed you are talking to natives, the easier you can create new friendships. Being bilingual can also help you have a more authentic traveling experience. For instance, if you can speak the language of the locals you won’t need to rely only on Google Translate if you get lost in a city.
7. Improved Native Language
Most folks learn their native language naturally through observation. They often don’t know the logic and the basic rules of how it works. Studying a second language can better your understanding of your first language.
Learning a different language forces you to better your listening skills, all the while looking at your native language differently. Keep in mind that as you learn a foreign language, you also learn the rules. In most cases, you can apply these rules to your first language and become better at speaking your mother tongue.
Learning grammar rules helps you understand the mechanisms of your native language. It gives you the ability to communicate clearly in your first language and can build your confidence.
8. Increased Attention Span
Speaking a foreign language helps improve your ability to focus and block out distractions. This is because bilingual people are used to switching between languages.
Bilinguals have to decide the most appropriate language to use or avoid at any given time. This provides plenty of practice to the brain, allowing you to focus and filter information. Bilinguals’ ability to concentrate better and block out distractions comes in handy when writing, reading, or even studying.
Reap the Social Benefits of Learning a Second Language
From holding deeper relationships to having more fun at parties, the social benefits of learning a second language shouldn't be taken for granted. There are many valuable returns you get from being bilingual and beyond. Overall, it helps with connecting to other people.
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