While it is true that because of technological developments you do not need to learn a new language to order in a restaurant while visiting a country or browsing a website in a foreign language, doing so can be beneficial to your brain, and your overall happiness.
We have collected the 5 main reasons why you should learn a second language so that you get the boost you need to get started!
5 reasons why you should learn a second language
1. Improves your memory and your ability to learn
Studies show that being able to speak two or more languages is greatly beneficial to cognition and the ability to learn in general. Bilingual people think differently than monolingual people, and the bilingual brain has some advantages. The benefits are greater when multiple languages are spoken more frequently, so just learning a language isn’t enough – you also have to practice!
2. Boost your brain power
Learning and speaking an additional language actually makes you more intelligent. You’ll keep your brain trained and you will be able to think in paradigms that allow for better decision-making, improved confidence, and overall happiness.
Speaking an additional language challenges your brain to recognize terms and assign meaning to those terms in order to communicate in different codes. Much like a computer can be trained to read and understand HTML code or python script depending on the program it is running; those computational models were built based on mimicking the human brain.
3. Improves your confidence
Once you´ve decided to learn a language, you will notice how quickly your confidence grows. Your progress will encourage your motivation to continue learning, and you will certainly be applauded by your friends and colleagues as you improve. When you practice your additional language with native speakers, you will also enjoy a boost of confidence as you realize the new world you are now able to enter with minimal effort.
4. Make more rational decisions in a non-native language
According to a study performed by the University of Chicago, researchers found that people make more rational decisions when they think a problem through in a non-native tongue. Asymmetry in decision-making happens when the same choice is framed as either a gain or a loss, and that paradigm is shifted when thinking in a foreign language.
Says Boaz Keyser, an expert on communication, said: “A foreign language provides a distancing mechanism that moves people from the immediate intuitive system to a more deliberate mode of thinking”. The Professor of psychology at the University of Chicago worked on the study, titled “The Foreign Language Effect: Thinking in a Foreign Tongue Reduces Decision Biases,” which tested native English speakers who had gained Spanish proficiency in order to see how loss aversion influenced their decision-making. This study shows that through the acquisition of an additional language, the tendency to avoid risk can be minimized, allowing us to take on more positive choices that may be slightly risky.
Because foreign languages tend to have less emotional resonance than a native language does, one’s ability to assess a problem or decision in a foreign language creates a buffer that allows for a more objective assessment of the situation. By removing emotion from the language affecting any decision-making, we essentially become more rational.
5. Access a new world of literature, music and more
The access to a new world of literature, music, and film, as well as culture, that new language acquisition allows for is invaluable. Linguistic diversity is increasingly important in our globalized world, and as communication experts, we are here to encourage you to continue studying and improve your ability to speak, understand, and read additional languages. It will always benefit your personal and professional experience.
Ready to learn a new language? Stop making excuses and start speaking the language you’ve always wanted to learn!