Top Ten Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Most people have vivid memories of learning a second language at school, either because they loved it or they loathed it. Some people grow up speaking more than one language and many choose to add additional languages to their skill-set in order to further their career or get more out of international travel.

Whichever camp you fall into, there is proven evidence of the many benefits to be enjoyed from being able to speak an additional language, or two, or more. Here’s our Top Ten…

Top Ten Benefits of Leaning a Foreign Language

  1. Improved chances of getting a job
    Increasingly, employers are looking for multilingual candidates to join their teams to assist with international customers and to win business overseas.  Being multilingual undoubtedly carries the competitive edge, meaning you are much more likely to get certain jobs. Even if a second language isn’t directly relevant to the role, the polyglots aptitude and ability for learning new skills will be recognised as advantageous.
  2. Increased self-confidence
    As with the acquisition of any new skill, having more than just the basics can set you apart from others in an academic, professional or social capacity. Those who can speak a number of languages are known to display greater levels of confidence.
  3. Multi-tasking becomes easier
    Studies have shown that people who can speak multiple languages are much more able to successfully complete differing and unrelated tasks simultaneously. Children are particularly good at switching from one task to another and the same can be said of people who have more than one language.
  4. Other academic areas are improved
    The cognitive process that the brain must execute in order to learn another language has the cross-benefits of improving your success in other academic areas too. 
  5. Your brain works better
    Learning a second language is like an intense workout for your brain, exercising areas that may not otherwise be fully utilised. The net result of this additional brain activity is an overall improvement in cognitive speed and agility, much the same as any other muscle that is also in training. In addition, those who speak more than one language have demonstrated an improved level of judgement, have been seen to be more aware and observant of things happening around them and have performed better at problem-solving.
  6. Inhibits the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia
    Clinical studies have shown that leaning a foreign language can significantly delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Tests revealed that the mean age of the onset of dementia for multilingual patients was 75.5 compared to 71.4 for patients only having their mother tongue.
  7. You become more social and accepting
    The benefits of understanding and being able to speak additional languages are obvious, for example, when socialising whilst travelling or working abroad, but even at home, people who can speak more than one language tend to be more open-minded and accepting of others and their respective cultures. This makes it easier for polyglots to meet new people.
  8. Your first language gets better
    A spin-off benefit of the process of learning another language is that you have to look more closely at how your first language works. Understanding grammar, conjugation, idioms and sentence structure, for example, all come under renewed scrutiny meaning that your knowledge of your first language improves.
  9. Better decision-making
    Due to subtle nuances in different languages, when faced with a decision, a polyglot weighing up the options in more than one language will make a more prudent and considered decision.
  10. Memory is improved
    Learning another language has also been proven to improve memory. Once you have learned one additional language it becomes much easier to learn subsequent new ones. In additions, the polyglot’s brain is proven to be better at remembering sequences, lists and directions.

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