5 unexpected benefits of learning another language !
The desire to learn a new language is often born of a desire to find a deeper experience abroad.
When traveling to a country with a language that's not native to your tongue, translation apps are helpful, but only to a certain extent. They enable you to decipher a menu, but not necessarily to spark up a conversation with your server. Fluency in the local language makes for far more discovery potential.
Learning to speak a second language can be challenging, for sure, but that's because you're training your brain to do something much more complex than memorizing new words and their proper pronunciations. You're expanding your thought capability, in more ways than one.
Bilingualism provides benefits beyond the ability to ask for directions or to order a coffee without accidentally receiving a large dessert platter. (What a happy accident, though, right?) The brains of polyglots operate differently than those of unilingual folk. Regular use of a second language sharpens many cognitive skills, and it's even been found to make you appear more attractive.
To acquire these new language skills, there are tons of options: signing up for a class, downloading an app like Duolingo , or trying a more intensive software, like Rosetta Stone — which is currently offering a deal to save 40% on its Complete Set until February 17. With any of these services, commitment is key.
Consistently practicing — even if you dedicate just 15 minutes a day — is enough to reap the cognitive rewards that accompany second language learning.
**Attention improves, and pretty quickly. This is not your excuse to give up when verb conjugations are just too daunting, but research shows even a short period of learning a new language is enough to boost mental agility. A 2016 University of Edinburgh study that assessed 33 students aged 18 to 78 who had taken part in a one-week Scottish Gaelic course found an increase in several aspects of mental alertness — regardless of age — in students, when compared to a group who had taken a non-language course and a group that had not taken a course at all.
**Multitasking comes more naturally. A Pennsylvania State University study found bilingual speakers can outperform monolinguals when working on multiple projects simultaneously. It's more natural for the bilingual brain to quickly edit out information that's irrelevant and hone in on what's important.
Researchers traced the source of these enhanced task-switching skills to the way bilinguals mentally juggle both languages. The inner negotiation that occurs any time they speak acts as a "mental gymnasium," training the brain to perceive and evaluate priorities quickly.
**Decision making is simpler in a foreign language Researchers at the University of Chicago found that we are able to think more rationally, and with less bias, when we use a foreign tongue to weigh the options of a decision. Surprisingly, foreign language framing also reduces loss aversion. They attributed these effects to the fact that a foreign language permits greater emotional and cognitive distance when evaluating what's at risk in the decision.
**Memory skills are better protected. A study conducted in Luxembourg found those who speak more than two languages may be at lower risk of onset memory problems like Alzheimer's and dementia, stating that multilingualism has "a protective effect on memory in seniors who practice foreign languages over their lifetime or at the time of the study." And the benefit appears to be a compounding one, as the risk proved lowest in those fluent in four or more languages.
**Your brain actually gets bigger. A 2014 study titled, "Age of language learning shapes brain structure" found the cortical thickness — which is generally associated with higher intelligence — of the bilingual brain is only altered when language learning happens later in life, after developing proficiency in their first language.
The later a second language is acquired, the greater the effect on brain structure increase, the study found. Also, bilingual speakers who use both languages often may have more grey matter in the brain regions responsible for attention, inhibition, and short-term memory, according to recent research from the Georgetown University Medical Center.
THE SOURCE : businessinsider.com
Thank you very much for your interesting article. I am learning three languages, although I am an "old lady". I agree with you. See you again and good luck.
I found that very impressive, and it's not about the age it's all about the willingness, I wish you the best with your languages and thanks for reading ;-)
This is a brilliant post. Have some lingots, I've got plenty. It is very interesting indeed since I'm already bilingual. But I'm learning another two languages. Sometimes I fiddle around with German or Greenlandic too but I don't take those as seriously.
I liked this post too much, I'll follow this discussion. Here there are some valuable information about the effects of language learning.
That's one of the best posts that I saw here. Excellent job student!!! Some researches are very useful in this field of learning. Good studies for everyone.
Thanks for posting. But I've heard that Duolingo is far better than Rosetta Stone.
Really? I finished the Spanish tree (although I still do it to keep it gold), and I'm about to start Rosetta.
I honestly don't know, as I've never done Rosetta Stone. I've heard Duolingo is better, but maybe that's not true now that there's immersion. But don't just go off of what I say, I'm sure there's posts on Duolingo and other websites that will answer your question.
Danke / спасибо / thank you for the article ... это очень интересно (very interesting)!
We all are here to learn or improve our knowledge of a language but … sorry, "bilingualism" is something reserved for people who were spoken to in more than one language in their childhood or, in rare cases, very talented people who make a huge effort to acquire a second language in their adult age.
Despite years and years of studying and spending time in English-speaking countries I have never reached real proficiency in this language (which was a significant factor limiting my choice of vocations). Even with Esperanto, in which I am much more fluent, there are realms I have never talked about in this language, so I find my vocabulary wanting there. It's way from being bilingual.
I agree that having some knowledge in one or several "foreign" languages is not only extremely useful bus also satisfying but I decline the idea that true bilingualism is something within reach for the majority of adult people who do not already have it.
As a sort of a counter-point, I know a lot of uni-lingual English speakers who aren't really proficient in English, either (chuckle). I suspect proficiency will always be a matter of degree, and there will always be room for improvement in any language - and for me, that's a large chunk of the fun of trying to learn another one. And despite your own assessment of your skills, based solely on what you wrote above, I'd say you're probably well above the "basic proficiency" stage. Just my opinion ... worth no more, and no less, than yours. Good luck in all your studies, and in life!
A well thought-out article! Thank you for taking the time to write such a thing. Take a few lingots. =)
I am bilingual already, my first language is English, despite being Filipino. I speak Filipino also, but I am more comfortable with English. I am trying to learn the following languages: Japanese, Korean, Greek and Dutch. Once I finish these languages I will do French (mabye). I have a hard time with Korean and Dutch so I occasionally do those. Japanese just seemed natural for me when I started learning it. With this certain book of Japanese Hiragana and Katakana characters, pronouncing the example words there, sounded like a native Japanese. I have been to Japan three times and it is one of my favorite countries. I used to memorize Japanese anime songs, but got a little tired of doing it.
Edit: I used to learn Spanish, High Valariyan and Russian. But I got tired of that these languages.