No doubt, the idea of learning a new language has appealed to you. (Editor’s note: Check out our curated list of content for learning a language).
For some of us, there’s just something about it that makes it a worthy pursuit, while for others, there’s a specific interest or practical reason for learning the language.
But regardless of the reason, there’s no denying that it entails a great number of benefits.
Rather than just vaguely saying learning a language is “really good” or has “many benefits” as we’re accustomed to saying, let’s actually delve into what kind of benefits they have. So the next time you’re considering learning a new language, you actually have a good idea of some of the real benefits of doing so – which will hopefully motivate you to go ahead and do it.
1. Opens up a new communication channel
When you’re embarking on learning a new language – think of this, you’re entering into a new realm of communication. You’re uncovering what was once secret to you, and becoming part of that secret.
With the many languages that are out there, undoubtedly one language spoken by a person is a mystery to another.
But when you’re actually learning, deciphering and understanding a new language, a whole new mode of communication opens up to you. Essentially, this means that you can extend your horizons and communicate with more people who speak that language.
You can now read, listen and speak with people in this different language. A new communication channel can lead to more contacts, acquaintances and friends in the world.
This is the most obvious benefit of learning a new language – that it will definitely come in handy when you are traveling to a destination that speaks that language.
The practical advantages of these cannot be delineated enough, but those of us who have been to a region where the language is foreign to our native tongue, can almost certainly appreciate what a benefit this is (and even those who haven’t).
It can be quite limiting and frustrating when such a simple task or inquiry can’t be done because of a language barrier, which hinders our travels. Particularly if you’re travelling to an area where little or no English is spoken.
In any case, learning a new language can help you on your travels, whether you’re a tourist, business traveler or visiting friends and family. From asking directions to listening to a local’s story on an iconic landmark, the advantages are limitless.
3. Expands scope of intelligence and memory
When you know more than one language, you are bilingual, and if you know more than two, you’re multilingual. There’s a very good reason why people tend to get impressed when somebody is able to speak more than one language.
Unless you grew up with it, learning a language is not a simple feat. More than just learning a new vocabulary (which alone is extensive), it requires you to delve into the basics of alphabet, grammar and sentence structure of an entirely new language, which may have different rules and patterns that need practice.
It’s also not a matter of understanding and remembering, but putting into practice by verbally articulating the new language, listening to dialogue and understanding it, as well as expressing it in written forms. This is not at all to dissuade one from pursuing the learning of a new language, but to recognize its benefits for our mind and brain.
Indeed, there is very good reason why it has been found that being bi or multilingual is protective in older years against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Experience a new culture
A language is not merely a collection of sounds that have originated from a particular region of the world as a mode of communication from one human to another.
Far from it, the languages we see today are associated with a unique culture and experience that can be explored and experienced by learning the language. Languages have a rich heritage that are tied to certain parts of the world, and we can’t help but associate different languages with different cultures. It encourages us to become diverse as individuals and experience people, places and things of a different culture, and not to forget different food!
5. Work and CV boost
Having another language under your belt can go a long way – yes, in impressing potential employers, but also actually being practically useful in an occupational setting.
With certain occupations, knowing a different language is regarded as a valuable asset and can actually be put to practice, for example in business relationships with members of different countries. It also gives you a chance to diversify in your work and volunteering ventures internationally.
As you can see, there are a plethora of benefits to learning a new language. By no means is the list above comprehensive, but it provides a snapshot into the various benefits of being bilingual or multilingual. It certainly takes time and dedication to learn a new language, but the learning process and the language skills you acquire every step of the way will certainly be worth it in some way or another!What is the reason you’d like to learn a new language?