7 Surprising Benefits of Learning a New Language (Backed by Research)
There have been numerous studies pointing to the benefits of learning a new language. Yet, recent study shows that only 18% of Americans can fluently speak two or more languages.
Part of the reason is that learning a new language only becomes an interest to us once we reach adulthood, and we mistakenly think that it’s impossible to acquire a new language at a certain age. While it’s not a walk in the park, nearly anyone can learn a new language with a bit of motivation and diligence.
Some people have more aptitude for learning languages, including children, and we shouldn’t let it discourage us from continuing to improve.
“People vary in their aptitude like they do in learning math or in playing basketball,” — Dr. Robert DeKeyser, Professor of Second Language Acquisition
If you need more reasons to motivate yourself to learn a new language, here are 7 unusual benefits backed by science.
- You will improve your native languages
It’s only when we learn a new language, that we can appreciate the roots and fundamentals of our native language.
This is because we grew up speaking our native language, without much thought in terms of how sentence structures worked or breaking down the accents for each syllable.
It’s similar to playing basketball your whole life, then learning how to play volleyball, and using those skills to improve your basketball game.
“You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.” — Geoffrey Willans
- Enhances your focus
In a study, published online in the journal Brain and Language, individuals who spoke more than one language were observed through an fMRI, while performing word comprehension tasks.
Results showed that multi-lingual individuals were better at filtering out competing words than one-language speaking individuals. This ability to tune out competing words benefits in blocking out distractions to focus on the task at hand.