Over time, research have been undergone to show that there are numerous benefits of studying a new language. A recent study of Americans used as a case study showed that only 18% of them could speak two languages frequently.
The reason for the low percentage of people who know how to speak two languages fluently is because people only seem interested in new languages when they are adults and most times assume that languages can only be learnt during a particular stage of life which is childhood and teenage periods.
Learning a new language may not be as easy as it seems but virtually anyone can learn a new language once the individual is motivated and diligent to learning. It is much easier for children to learn new languages and as such we should always encourage them to learn and improve on them.
The following are scientifically proven benefits of learning a new language:
- Your Native Language will improve: When we learn new languages, we tend to appreciate the roots and fundamentals of our mother tongue. The reason for this is because while growing up, we just learn to speak our language unconventionally without learning the basic sentence structures, intonation used for various syllables, word formation processes and so on.
According to the Impact of Second Language Education, grammar, vocabulary, reading and communication skills of your first language will significantly improve when you learn a new language.
- It enhances Focus: In a study published online in the Journal of Brain and Language, some multi-lingual individuals were observed using an fMRI during word comprehension exercises.
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Results which proceeded from the study showed that those who spoke more than one language were better at distinguishing competing words than mono-lingual individuals. This ability helps to easily filter competing words avoiding distractions and possessing the ability to focus on the task at hand.
- It helps prevent Brain diseases: Learning a foreign language has been proven to prevent and/or delay the popular old-age diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s by a period of 4.5 years contrary to drugs which only prevent or delay the drug for a period of 6 months to a year.
A research conducted by The American Academy of Neurology showed that being multi-lingual increases the number of neural pathways in the brain which means information can be processed through various number of channels.
- It proves mathematical skills: The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages stated, after a study done in Massachusetts in 2007 that “Children who study a foreign language, even when this second language study takes time away from the study of mathematics outperform students who do not study a foreign language and have more mathematical instruction during the school day.” In a nutshell, this makes sense because in learning the fundamentals and structures of a new language, logic and critical thinking is needed. Mnemonics also used in the learning of new languages helps improve the memorization which is also applicable in the case of mathematics.
- Learning becomes faster: It was concluded by researchers in Massachusetts still in 2007 that the “exercise in cognitive problem solving” through language learning can be directly applied to anything we want to learn. Memory retention is also improved because when learning a new language, new things are learnt are used often rather than re-using already known information. Also, multi-lingual individuals have been shown to better multi-taskers than mono-linguists.
- Attain a high level of likeness among people: Language is one of the key elements of culture and while learning a new language, one gets to meet a lot of people, get sociable and develop a level of likeness from the original speakers of the language because of the interest one shows in learning it.
Majority of the conflicts between people in the world arise from mis-understanding between people of different origins and languages. Learning a new language helps you feel connected to the original speakers of the language due to the cultural knowledge developed.
- It boosts your creativity: In learning or speaking a new language, one tends to develop ways to construct sentences using various techniques, develop new ways to construct words using word-formation processes. This processes have been concluded by researchers that multi-lingual individuals are usually more creative than mono-linguists.
- Confidence level increases: After learning a new language, confidence level increases. Being able to converse in another language fluently will significantly make you more confident because of the ability to do what every other person might not be able to do, standing out in the crowd when the need arises.
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