There are many reasons to learn a new language so we’ve made it that much easier by compiling our top 8 surprising reasons that will leave you asking why you haven’t already started learning a foreign language right now!
1# Increase Your Brain Power
Studies show that learning another language can increase brain power, according to Ellen Bialystok a psychologist at York University in Toronto.
“Being bilingual has certain cognitive benefits and boosts the performance of the brain, especially one of the most important areas known as the executive control system.”
Researchers from University College London
studied the brains of 105 people – 80 of whom were bilingual. They found learning other languages altered grey matter
– the area of the brain which processes information – in the same way exercise builds muscles. So not only are you going to open up a world of opportunities if you learn a new language – you’ll actually come off smarter as a result of it!
2# Enhance multi-tasking
If you’ve ever struggled with walking and talking or any other of the taxing day-to-day activities we battle with on a regular basis, learning a new language could be the answer. Multilingual people, especially children, are skilled at switching between two systems of speech, writing, and structure. According to a study from the Pennsylvania State University, this “juggling” skill makes them good multi-taskers, because they can easily switch between different structures.
Multilingual people are skilled at switching between systems of speech, writing, and structure and therefore good multitaskers [Tweet this]
In one study
, participants used a driving simulator while doing separate, distracting tasks at the same time. The research found that people who spoke more than one language made fewer errors in their driving.
3# Help Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but recent studies have proven that bilingual people do not suffer from the disease the same way monolingual people do. In bilingual people, the onset of the disease happens much later, and although they have similar physical symptoms, their mental acuity remains better, longer. Learning a foreign language can do a lot to preserve brain function. How exactly does learning a language do this? As your brain works to incorporate the new vocabulary and conversational skills, new neural pathways are created, improving brain and memory function. The same way exercise helps keep your heart healthy, exercising your brain with language lessons helps it fight off Alzheimer’s Disease.
4# Travel to the Fullest
“Cold shredded children and sea blubber in spicy sauce.
” – From a menu in China
Though it’s possible to travel to foreign countries without speaking the native language, your experience
will be largely shaped by your ability or inability to see beyond the surface of the culture. When you lack the ability to communicate
in the native language, you can’t fully participate
in day-to-day life, understand the culture, or communicate with the people
. The language barrier can be anywhere from frustrating to downright dangerous. When you learn Chinese in China
, you have the comfort of being able to successfully navigate
all sorts of situations, like order meals in restaurants, ask for and understand directions, find accommodation, negotiate cheaper prices and meet and talk with natives, to name only a few. In most countries, people will appreciate attempts to use their language. You will be able to communicate more completely and have a deeper, more satisfying travel experience
By learning foreign languages, you will communicate more completely and have a deeper, more satisfying travel experience [Tweet this]
It’s true that in tourist areas English may be spoken. However, even if the natives know some English, many are uncomfortable speaking it, particularly beyond their limited interactions with tourists. In addition, these well-beaten paths are not places where you will get to know the country you’re visiting – they cater to tourists and provide a watered-down, often stereotypical and commercialized version of the culture both to meet and profit from tourists’ expectations. If you intend to stray from the tourist centres and explore the real country and really get to know it, you must know the language. Your language ability will allow you to see and do things that many visitors cannot.
5# Become More Perceptive
Learn a new language and become more perceptive. A study from Spain’s University of Pompeu Fabra
revealed that multilingual people are better at observing their surroundings. They are more adept at focusing on relevant information
and editing out the irrelevant. They’re also better at spotting misleading information. Is it any surprise that Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are skilled polyglots?
6# Improve Your Decision Making Skills
According to a study from the University of Chicago
tend to make more rational decisions.
Any language contains nuance and subtle implications in its vocabulary and these biases can subconsciously influence your judgment. Bilinguals are more confident
with their choices after thinking it over in the second language and seeing whether their initial conclusions still stand up.
Bilinguals are more confident in their choices after thinking it over in all languages checking if the conclusion still stands [Tweet this]
7# Improve Your Native Tongue
Sometimes learning a foreign language helps you understand your own language and culture better through comparison, or trough the relationship between the foreign language and your mother tongue. For instance, studying Latin can help you to learn an incredible amount of English, because English has so many words that come from the Latin. Same with Greek.
Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen
Those who know no foreign language know nothing of their mother tongue.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
8# Develop Your Own Secret Communication
Having to talk about people behind their back all the time can be a drag. If you and some of your relatives, friends or colleagues speak a language that few people understand, you can talk freely in public without fear of anyone eavesdropping, and/or you can keep any written material secret. On a more serious note though, speakers of such Native American languages as Navajo, Choctaw and Cheyenne served as radio operators, known as Code Talkers, to keep communications secret during both World Wars. Welsh speakers played a similar role during the Bosnian War.
So who knows what uses a new language could have in the future!
Click edit button to change this text.
Why not make it easier and more fun for yourself? Come to China and surround yourself with Chinese-speakers, check out our programs here