Have you always dreamed of speaking another language? French? Italian? Russian? Don’t delay, the benefits of multilingualism are vast and include a swathe of incredible health and lifestyle benefits. Here are 10 reasons to motivate you today to turn your wish into reality.
1. It Makes You Smarter
Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. Language acquisition has a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills. Learning a second language improves memory and increases attention span. Studies show that bilingual students score higher on standardized tests than monolingual students. Studies show that secondary language immersion contributes to increased IQ in students.
2. It Keeps Your Mind Active & Healthier Longer Learning a new language is a powerful weapon in delaying the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. According to a study performed by York University of Toronto, those who learned a new language beyond their native tongue offset the average age of dementia by almost 5 years. Research findings also indicate that multilingual people recover from strokes quicker with better outcomes.
3. It Helps You Become A Better Multitasker
Multilingual people, especially children, are skilled at switching between different systems of speech, writing, and language structure. According to research by Pennsylvania State University, this “juggling” skill helps make people good multitaskers. 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.
4. It Improves Memory
Learning a new language involves memorizing rules and vocabulary which strengthens our mental “muscles.” Exercising our brains improves our overall memory. Studies show that bilinguals are better at retaining shopping lists, names, and directions.
5. It Improves Perception And Observation Skills
Multilingual people are better at observing their surroundings. A study from Spain’s University of Pompeu Fabra showed multilingual people are better at focusing on relevant information and at spotting misleading information.
6. It Makes You More Creative
Multilingual speakers are more creative than monolingual speakers according to recent research. Learning a new language makes you experiment with new words and phrases. You also gain a new perspective from within the context of another language and associated culture. Improving your skills in divergent thinking leads to innovative solutions and more creative self-expression.
7. It Builds Confidence
Confidence increases whenever we master a new skill and learning a foreign language is no different. Learning and mastering a new language while fun takes work and dedication. One of the rewards for our hard work is feeling good about our accomplishment. Knowing another language also makes you a better more confident traveler as it opens up your options for communication and self-expression.
8. It Can Help You Earn More Money
Learning a second language adds an average 2 percent increase in people’s yearly salary but not all languages are created equal. German, for instance, is the most lucrative to learn increasing non-native speakers salaries by an average of 3.8 percent yearly.
9. It Leads To Better Work Opportunities Speaking and understanding a second language will make you more attractive to potential employers and lead to expanded employment opportunities. Speaking a second language will add a new skill to your resumé that will help you stand out. It also broadens the scope of people you can work communicate and work with as well as expanding geographically new employment opportunities.
10. It Makes Traveling More Fun Knowing another language will make you a traveler, not a tourist. The benefits of speaking the local language when traveling are innumerable: read menus, navigate around with ease, earn the respect of locals, make new friends, get the inside scoop. You will have a access to new opportunities and experiences that you might have missed otherwise.
As the Austrian philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” So why not take that first step and expand your world today?