In today’s interconnected and globalized world, knowing other languages and embracing different cultures is practically necessary. We interact with different people around the world, doing business, creating relationships and experiencing new cultures to expand our knowledge. All of these are good reasons to learn any language, no matter which one it is.
However, multilingual people have some very particular advantages over monolingual individuals. These interesting benefits will probably make you decide to finally learn Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese, or any other language you find interesting or useful.
1. You will be a better worker, student, or entrepreneur
People who learn a second language are better at multitasking, focusing, and switching between different tasks. When you learn a new language, your brain develops the ability to shift from one language to another, to associate the new meaning of words with the concepts of your own language, to use idioms and conjugate correctly, among many other skills. These skills help the brain to multitask easier, and to filter out relevant information in order to focus on the task at hand.
2. Your brain will be healthier
Learning a new language significantly reduces the odds of getting neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia at an earlier age. Recent studies show that people who speak more than one language developed these disorders at a later age of 75, compared to monolingual people, who started showing the first signs of these diseases at age 71.
3. It will make you a better reader
When you learn a new language, your brain creates new connections, which help to sharpen your reading skills as the brain learns to express the ideas using a new set of words, meanings and rules.
4. You will improve your own language
Learning a different language gives you a better understanding of your own language, as the brain learns to recognize a whole new semantic structure, with its own syntax and grammatical constructions. Learning a new language puts the brain to task by working out the meaning and rules of the new language. All of this will help you analyze your mother tongue in a way you didn’t before, as all those sentence constructions and meanings were learned automatically since you were a toddler. Therefore, you will explore your own language with more interest than before.
5. It will help you remember information
Learning a different language also helps strengthen your memory, as the brain learns the new language structure and memorize new vocabulary and rules. This ability to associate and retain information makes it easier to remember not only new words, but also names, telephone numbers, steps in a process, lists, to-do’s and other important information
6. You will get better at problem-solving
When multilingual people learn to choose the right words and to pick the most appropriate sentence construction or verbal conjugation, they also become more alert and vivacious in other aspects of their cognitive processes. The ability to identify what’s relevant and what’s not, makes them more critical and perceptive, which makes them better at solving problems, and enhances their negotiation skills.
7. You will make more accurate and faster decisions
When choosing between different words that seem appropriate, but have small meaning differences, and other subtleties of the foreign language, the brain develops better decision-making skills. The decision-making process becomes not only faster, but more prudent and judicious.
8. You will improve your grades
People who learn a foreign language have higher IQ, and are more creative, innovative and flexible of mind than monolingual individuals. Studies have shown that learning a new language is more a cognitive problem solving activity than a linguistic activity. They also get better scores in math exams, have better reading comprehension and have a more ample vocabulary.
9. You will understand the world around you
Learning a new language helps you get a better understanding and appreciation of other cultures and the traditions of different countries. As a multilingual person, you will be able to see the world from different viewpoints. At the same time, this will help you comprehend and appreciate your own culture.
10. Traveling will be easier
When you visit a country and you know the language, you have the opportunity to meet a lot more people, and have deeper and more meaningful experiences when you visit interesting places such as museums, national parks, historical places and cultural attractions.
11. It will boost your confidence
No matter how easy or hard it was, learning a new language gives you a sense of achievement. You will feel extremely satisfied with yourself, and your self-confidence will increase. You will no longer feel refrained or embarrassed to speak in your new language. Plus, people who speak other languages are perceived as more interesting and attractive to others.
Do you speak more than one language? What other advantages do you think multilingual people have?