What are the positive aspects of mastering a new language?
Learning how to use a new language can appear as something daunting, time-consuming and, at times, scary. Let me reassure you, engaging with a new language is probably the best decision you will ever take.
There are many reasons why we should all try to learn at least a modern foreign language. English native speakers have the advantage to actually pick the language they would like to learn and develop.
Let us consider the case of a group of learners I taught at the early stages of my career, and what kind of activity I recommended for them, based on their most frequent errors
Starting to learn a language at an early age is much easier than trying later because the language center of the brain is still developing. However, this does not mean that it is not achievable when you’re older. All it takes to learn a new language is commitment, determination and passion. Plus, adults have the advantage of having greater attention span and organization which are needed to study more effectively than pupils.
Learning a new language helps you become a smarter person. It has been proven that speaking at least two different languages have a positive impact on your cognitive process. What’s more, it also slows the aging process in the brain, postponing early signs of dementia by at least four years compared to non-bilingual people.
Learning a new language is also a fun experience. When you learn a language, not only do you learn about its construction, but you also learn about its history and the culture of the target language. It helps you be even more open-minded and understanding. When travelling, being able to speak at least some of the language of the country you’re visiting will make your experience even more authentic. You will become a better communicator and stronger at listening as you will have trained you ear to focus on key words.
It is also a great way to improve your mother tongue. As you learn a new language, you will focus on its grammar, its peculiarities and there is no doubt that it will also make you think about how your mother tongue also works. It might also make you want to investigate the etymology of words in your mother tongues that comes from different languages. For instance, did you know that over 10,000 English words come from French
Let’s not forget that peaking another language leads to more job opportunities. The ability to communicate in a different language is good asset to be added to your CV. Interacting directly with new clients and companies in their own language is a first step to a good lasting business relationship. People will generally trust you more if you are able to speak in their language. Multilingual employees definitely add value to the workforce, and it is a competitive edge in today’s world.
It can also improve your performance in another key subjects. For instance, it has been proven that mastering another language helps with problem-solving tasks. This is mostly due to the fact that speaking another language makes your brain cope with new patterns it has to first identity and then register.