Anyone learning a new language knows: it is no piece of cake. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have and how many time-saving tips you follow, it is still a quite difficult goal to achieve.
But the beauty of learning second languages is that all the time spent poring over books can benefit you in great and often unpredictable ways. Let’s find out which ones exactly.
1. Languages help you become self-disciplined
No need to use x-rays and MRI scans to prove that languages enhance discipline, concentration, and focus. Indeed, modern students often give preference to self-study and digital language lessons: it’s easy to learn languages like French online or to practice Spanish using only a mobile app.
With the help of technologies, learning a different language on your own is no longer a mundane dreary process. On the contrary, it is a fun, cheap and efficient way to acquire some knowledge and become a self-reliant and responsible person.
2. Bilingual people are more relaxed and outgoing
One of the key benefits of learning a new language is its influence on mental health. A study proves: bilingual children demonstrate way better behavioral and emotional well-being than their monolingual peers. They are not only less anxious, lonely and sad, but they are also less stressed out and much easier to get along with.
Bilingual kids also tend to have fewer conflicts and problems with anger management. In other words, being bilingual is an essential ingredient of good mental health.
3. Bilingualism is good for your brain
Another remarkable benefit of learning a foreign language is its positive impact on brain health. Psycholinguists admit that being bilingual may delay dementia and help recover after the consequences of brain injury.
A Canadian neuroscientist Ellen Bialystok claims that Alzheimer’s patients who speak two languages cope significantly better with the disease. All because learning a foreign language is a great stimulating mental activity and a perfect way to exercise your brain.
4. Learning a second language changes your personality
This topic has been researched a lot, and the conclusions almost always repeat each other. At the beginning of our century, linguists surveyed more than a thousand bilinguals and found that 65% of them felt like a different person when they spoke a different language.
A 2006 study demonstrated that bilingual Mexican Americans tended to appear more extrovert, agreeable and conscientious when they spoke English. Mainly because of the superficial friendliness widespread in individualistic culture such as the US.
That adds to our list one more fine reason why you should learn a second language — the ability to gain one more dimension to your personality and expand the understanding of who you are by accessing various cultures!
5. Knowing multiple languages makes you a better communicator
Speaking different languages allows you to build effective social skills. In the 2015 study, scientists found that exposure to another language improved kids’ ability to understand the adult perspective and select the correct objects.
Moreover, learning a foreign language improves your skills even in nonverbal communication. Many past studies have shown that bilingual people often rely on facial expressions, hand gestures, body language, and emoticons. Which helps others understand them better.
6. Being bilingual changes your perception
According to the last research, learning a foreign language changes the way we see the world. Literally.
This is especially noticeable when we deal with color perception. In Mongolian, for instance, different shades of blue are strictly distinct, while both light and dark shades of green are described as one word. In Chinese, however, both light blue and dark blue are described by one word, as well as light green and dark green.
And what is more interesting, people from cultures that don’t have a lexeme for blue have troubles differentiating between blue and green. Whereas they can easily tell apart subtly different shades of green that most English speakers won’t distinguish at all.
Isn’t it one of the most astonishing benefits of learning a new language? Just think of it: studying languages give you literally a new way of experiencing reality. What a wonderful world.
7. Bilinguals make wiser financial choices
Wonderful perk you won’t be expecting from learning languages. Nevertheless, psychologists claim that people become more rational when they use a second language. In comparison with monolingual people, multilingual speakers make less emotional decisions and are better at strategic long-term thinking.
No one’s quite sure why this is happening, but probably learning a language as an adult engages more of the analytical, planning parts of your brain. And later these activated “thinking” parts benefit you in everyday life.
8. Learning new vocabulary makes you high
Our brain likes pleasure. Come on, we even have a specific part for it known as the “ventral striatum” or a “pleasure center”. And the good news is that learning new words is a perfect activity to stimulate that feel-good part.
Simply put, acquiring new vocabulary is just like gambling, playing video games or eating chocolate chip cookies. The only difference is that it doesn’t have drawbacks in the form of excess weight or wasted money.
So now you can see, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. The benefits of learning a new language are very diverse and useful. And even it takes a huge amount of effort and energy, it is never a waste of time.
Because even with just one foreign language in store, you’ll be a much more versatile individual with broader opportunities, great communication skills, beautiful personality, and even a healthier brain. Not to mention possible career prospects, the ability to travel the world and explore new cultures.
So stop hesitating, sign up for those language classes you’ve been thinking about for ages, and enjoy the benefits!