Have you ever wanted to learn another language? What held you back? Maybe English isn't your strong suit so you can't see yourself doing well with a second language. Perhaps you started but got stuck on some advanced grammar and quit. Whatever the reason, many of us who were not taught a second language starting in elementary school struggle with becoming bilingual later in our adult lives.
Even though I took French in high school, I lost a lot of it over time. I wish I had stuck with it because I now live in a French/English bilingual city and many jobs require you to know both languages! However, there is no time like the present to start language lessons.
There are so many benefits to speaking multiple tongues. From keeping your mind sharp to putting you ahead of the pack in job competitions, you will never regret learning a new language once you get started. On this list, you might even find out some new reasons to study a foreign language that you never thought of before! Read on for my top six reasons you need to learn another language now!
1. You'll Strengthen Your Cognitive Skills
It seems kind of impossible that simply speaking more than one language can make you smarter. But it's true! When you know multiple languages, your brain is challenged to think in different ways than when you are unilingual. As a result, it automatically applies those analytical and problem-solving skills to other parts of your life, too. You may even start to think more creatively when you learn another language!
Similarly, being bilingual helps you hone your multitasking skills. Being able to switch between languages at any time teaches your brain to focus on multiple tasks at once. One study from Pennsylvania State University tested people's multitasking skills while driving. They were given distracting tasks to complete while in a driving simulator. Those participants who speak more than one language made fewer driving errors, showing that knowing a second language may improve your ability to focus on multiple things at once.
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Do you want to become more observant of your surroundings? Speaking another language has been shown to increase perception. Multilingual people learn how to sift through all the data their brains take in, so they only focus on what's important. Having to do this with another language naturally lets you become more alert in other environments, too. (The Telegraph)
2. You'll Become Better At English
Now: This one might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. When you learn another language, you become hyper-aware of your first language. You will think more about English grammar, sentence structure, and vocabulary because you are learning about all of those things in another language. While you are not directly studying English, you will take note of smaller details of how the language works that you may not have thought about before.
As a result, your communications skills in English are sure to improve. Because you are thinking more about the meanings of words and the structures of language, you may become a better writer and editor. Your listening skills might improve, too! Studying a second language makes you better at distinguishing meaning, so don't be surprised if you are suddenly really good at “reading between the lines” when talking to others.
3. Your Memory Will Improve
Want to improve your memory? Learn another language. Just like any other muscle in the body, your brain needs frequent exercise to stay sharp. That's why people who take part in brain-intensive hobbies after they retire are at a lower risk of losing their mental capacities. While doing puzzles or playing an instrument are other good options for keeping your mind “in shape,” knowing more than one language will also build stronger mental muscle.
When your brain has to switch between two totally different vocabularies and sets of grammar rules, it is working harder to communicate every day. This daily mental exercise makes bilingual people better at remembering other things, including grocery lists, people's names, and where they parked their car.
Though it's far down the road of life, being able to speak more than one language may even be able to let you enjoy your twilight years for longer. Many studies have shown that people who speak two or more languages show signs of dementia and Alzheimer's disease years later than unilingual people. Whenever you don't feel like doing that language lesson, think about the fact that it may help you spend a longer, happier life with your family! (The Telegraph)
4. You'll Have An Edge In The Job Market
Let's be honest. Nowadays, it is HARD to set yourself apart from the crowd. Whether you are applying for college or a job, it seems that education and experience don't have the same value as they once did. Everyone has degrees and did their time at internships, so you need some unique skills behind your name to help you stand out.
That's probably the number one reason you should learn another language right now.
Even if the program or job you are applying for doesn't require knowledge of a second language, it will make you look super smart! For one thing, employers will connect your bilingualism to all of those amazing cognitive skills I outlined earlier in this post. Problem-solving, being perceptive, multitasking, and analyzing all look awesome on any application!
Additionally, the world we live in today is globally connected. The ability to speak a second (or third, or fourth) language is a powerful one. It will allow an organization to work with a new group of clients who also speak that language. For this reason, knowledge of another language is a huge resume booster.
Being able to speak a second language can also open so many more doors for your career or education than if you are unilingual. If you speak fluent German, why not apply to that cool job in Berlin? Know Spanish? Take a leap of faith and apply to a university in Madrid. Even jobs based in the US need people to travel to foreign offices for meetings or short-term postings, and being bilingual makes you the perfect candidate for these.
5. Your Respect For Other Cultures Will Increase
If you genuinely want to understand another culture, learn its language. It's not uncommon to act culturally biased without even realizing it. We grow up doing things a certain way, so, naturally, we consider other ways of life to be “weird.” However, if you learn another language, you might find yourself with a lot more respect for the culture that speaks it.
The way that societies structure their languages and vocabulary is like a window into their values. You will realize that your culture is not better or worse than another in any way, merely different, leading to more positive views of the other culture. Who knows, you may even start to think differently about values and practices that have always been a part of your life!
Once you begin to understand more about another culture, you will likely become a more tolerant and welcoming person. Seeing that people who speak other languages are not some “other” helps you embrace cultural diversity and become less fearful of those who are different from you. This attitude can help you make new friends, forge better business connections, and be an overall kinder person to be around.
When you learn another language, a whole new world of art, film, and music opens up to you. While you were once stuck with reading subtitles, you can now enjoy foreign films with a new understanding, literally. You can read books in their original language instead of translations to get a better feel for the author's meaning. (Auburn University)
6. You'll Feel Amazing!
The most important reason you should learn another language is that it will make you feel great about yourself! Successfully tackling any new skill or experience as an adult can provide you with a huge sense of accomplishment. Becoming bilingual brings an exciting new element to your life and gives you something to talk about when people ask, “What's been up with you?” It might sound silly, but doing new things can give you a confidence boost.
As young adults, we often get stuck in a routine of working, coming home, and sleeping. We barely have time for social lives, let alone life enrichment! So when you do carve out time to do something you've never tried before (like studying a foreign language), you'll feel more confident and adventurous. This is the perfect way to realize your self-worth when you are feeling down about your skills.
Many Millennials love to travel. When you speak more than one language, world travel becomes so much easier and even more enjoyable. Speaking at least some of the language of wherever you are visiting can put you at ease. Instead of constantly typing words into your translator or studying a phrasebook, you can focus on your surroundings. Traveling will feel less stressful, and you will be able to see places through a different lens.
Here Are Even More Reasons You Should Learn Another Language!
Still not sure if you should learn another language? While the six reasons above are pretty darn good (I might be biased), the video below discusses seven reasons you should be bilingual. The narrator fluently speaking nine different languages, so this video is definitely the final boost you may need!
Ready To Get Started?
When you're an adult, learning any new skill can be difficult. As we age, our brains are so overtaken with all the information we have in there that it is harder to learn new things. Being set in our ways of thinking and doing things doesn't make it easy, either! Becoming bilingual is so worth the challenge, though. You will not only gain a helpful new skill but also boost your confidence because you accomplished something difficult!
If you aren't sure where to start with learning a second language, give Rosetta Stone language software a try. Unlike other language-learning programs that provide you with boring worksheets full of vocabulary words, this company strives to help you learn a new language in a real-life context. Conversations don't come with tidy scripts! Because pronunciation is just as important as the actual words, you will also learn to perfect your accent to ensure successful interactions in your second language.
Individuals and corporations have used Rosetta Stone for over 25 years, so you know that their methods work.
It gets better.
Unlike the olden days when you were tied to a desktop computer and your CD-ROMs, you can now take Rosetta Stone with you everywhere! Simply open the app on your mobile device and start learning! You can even download lessons for when you're in a no WiFi zone (like the subway).
It's easy to fit your daily language lessons in during any little free time you have like at the gym, on your commute, or before bed.
If you have ever wanted to learn another language, do it now! If you wish to make travel more enjoyable, stave off memory loss, connect with new people, or just give yourself a confidence boost, I promise you won't regret it.
Grab your Rosetta Stone subscription and get started on those language lessons today. It will change your life!
Do you know more than one language? Why do you think people should learn another language? We'd love to hear your opinions in the comments below!