11 Advantages of Learning a Different Language

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.

6 Surprising Benefits of Learning a Language

Whether you’re hustling to land a new job or expanding your horizons, learning a language can open the door to opportunity. In addition to making you a better value as a professional, science has suggested that speaking another language can unlock intellectual potential and may strengthen cognitive abilities.

Here are just a few of the possible benefits of a learning a new language.

1. Learning a new language could improve your memory

There’s evidence that learning vocabulary boosts memory, but it’s more than just simple repetition. Delving into another language can make you more mentally alert because you’re also paying attention to body language cues. For instance in Polish, where the word no actually means “yes” or “yeah,” watching body language can help you determine that no oczywiście!  actually means “of course!”

Fine-tune your pronunciation by instantly comparing your voice to thousands of native speakers using Rosetta Stone’s TruAccent® speech engine.

2. Being bilingual can make you a better multitasker

Science suggests that bilingual speakers demonstrate an increased capacity for problem-solving. Using cognitive muscles to navigate multiple languages can make you more adept at juggling tasks in other ways. The Chinese might say those who speak other languages 脚踏实地 (jiǎo tà shí dì), or “step on solid ground,” which is an idiom that means those who stick to the basics have the advantage.

3. Knowing other languages may encourage cultural appreciation

Learning a new language could contribute to greater tolerance because of the exposure to a variety of cultures. Some studies show there is a correlation between being bilingual and having a more positive outlook. As the French say avoir la pêche, which translates to “having a peach” but means you are “full of happiness.”

4. Speaking other languages can make you a better communicator

It’s not just about knowing how to express yourself. It’s also about the ways other languages can help you understand your own. For example, to learn how to conjugate a verb in the past perfect in Spanish, known to native speakers as el pluscuamperfecto, English speakers begin by perfecting their own verb tenses.

Everything we do has one very specific goal: to get you speaking confidently. So you’ll be ready for real-world conversations.

5. Learning a language can encourage creativity

One of the natural outcomes of being versed in another language is immersing yourself in that culture. The process can spark connections and shift paradigms within your own world. In America, for instance, whistling at sporting events expresses approval. In Italy, however, it’s considered a sign of disapproval, similar to booing. Understanding the difference in custom can help you see something important differences in cultural values.

Lessons sync across devices, so you can learn wherever the language journey takes you.

6. Being bilingual may make your brain bigger

Research suggests that being bilingual has noticeable benefits when it comes to the size of your brain, particularly growth in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Like the other muscles in your body, the brain can get bigger with exercise. One of the best ways to keep your mind active is to learn, speak, and read in other languages.

If you’re not already sold on the benefits of language learning, maybe this will seal the deal. There’s data that indicates those who learn a new language enjoy higher incomes  as a result of increased professional opportunities.

These are the benefits of learning a second language

There are many advantages to learning a second language. Some are fairly obvious. If you find yourself lost in a foreign country, being able to express yourself clearly could help lead you to your destination. Similarly, if your job requires you to travel you may find it easier to vault language and cultural barriers.

But there are other benefits that are not so immediately apparent. For example, learning another language could improve your all-round cognitive ability. It could help hone your soft skills, and even increase your mastery of your mother tongue, too.

Some studies have apparently identified a link between being multilingual and fending off the onset of dementia. Others indicate that being able to speak more than one language can help you become better at multitasking in other aspects of your daily life, too.

Deciding on which additional language or languages to learn is often a matter of chance and personal preference. Maybe you have a parent or grandparent who is a native of another country, so you were brought up being able to speak their language. Perhaps your family regularly took vacations in a particular foreign country when you were a child and that sparked your interest. Or it could just be that you had a very engaging teacher who instilled in you a love for languages.

But deciding whether to learn one at all would appear to be determined more by your mother language than anything else. In short, native-born English speakers are far less likely to learn a second language than many other people.

In the US, just 20% of students learn a foreign language. Meanwhile, in parts of Europe that figure stands at 100%. Across the whole of Europe the median is 92%, and is at least 80% in 29 separate European countries investigated by Pew Research. In 15 of those 29, it’s 90% or more.

Down under, around 21% of people can use a second language, although only 73% of Australian households identified as English-speaking in the 2016 census. In Canada, only 6.2% of people speak something other than the country’s two official languages, English and French.

In the UK, fewer school students are studying languages to exam levels at ages 16 or 18. Since 2013, the numbers of studying a language at GCSE level – the end of secondary schooling examination taken by most 16-year-olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – have fallen between 30% and 50%. Scotland has its own exam system but the drop off in language study is comparable.

The UK has a long-standing tradition of teaching French and German at secondary school level, although not always with tremendous success: Brits are not famed for their multilingual skills. However, the popularity of both those languages has plummeted in UK schools. Less than 20 years ago, just 2,500 students were taking a language other than French, German, Spanish or Welsh – which is a mandatory curriculum requirement in Wales. But by 2017, according to numbers acquired by the BBC, that had shot up to 9,400.

Two languages that are growing in popularity in the UK are Spanish and Chinese, the BBC found. Chinese, of course, is the most widely spoken language in the world. However, in the online sphere it’s a close second to English. Online, English is used by 25.4% of people. For Chinese, it’s 19.3%. Both are way ahead of third-placed Spanish which is used by 8.1% of internet users.

10 fun facts about languages

There are an estimated 7,000 languages in the world, from Mandarin Chinese spoken by nearly a billion people natively, to over 200 artificial languages like Elvish spoken only by the (imaginary) Elves from J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic and their diehard fans.

With such scale and variety in the way we express ourselves, there are a whole host of fun facts about languages that we can dig up. Here are our top 10:

1. Only onomatopoeia

Despite how natural yours may sound, onomatopoeias are not universal. English speakers use “snip snip” to communicate cutting scissors, whereas the Japanese say “chocki chocki”. Car horns go “düt düt” in Turkey instead of “beep beep”, and Korean trains go “chik chik pok pok” not “chugga chugga choo choo” as in English. The animal kingdom also provides countless comparisons. In Afrikaans, bees say “zoem-zoem” (not “buzz”) and in Bengali cows say “hamba” (not “moo”). The humble rooster’s crow is also different between languages: English’s “cockadoodle-doo” becomes “co-co-ro-co” in Catalan, “kikeriki” in German, and “goh-geh-goh-goh” in Chinese.

2. A long story

Alongside the much-quoted antidisestablishmentarianism there are several other mouthfuls to try memorizing. Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism is a thyroid disorder, Mary Poppins’ “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” actually appears in some dictionaries, and (interestingly) “hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia” is the fear of long words. But are long words valuable? That’s a personal preference – though if you think they are not, just know that the act of describing something as being of little importance is another long word: floccinaucinihilipilification.

3. Letter count…

English speakers know their alphabet has 26 letters, but may not realize this is not standard. Rotokas, a language spoken in Papua New Guinea, has only 11 letters making it the shortest alphabet on Earth. The crown for most letters goes to Khmer, spoken in Cambodia, with 74 letters.

4. A lot of character

Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) sports 50,000 characters, making for a lot of flashcards to remember them all, but if you’re learning Chinese, worry not. To read a newspaper you’ll “only” need to know 2,000 characters.

5. What came first?

The question of which is the oldest language can’t really be answered because spoken languages and cultures with solely oral traditions are not taken into account. The oldest languages with written records are Hebrew, Sanskrit, Sumerian, and Basque.

6. Creative linguists

Over 200 artificial languages – sometimes called constructed languages or “conlangs” – have been created since the 17th Century. Many were devised by philosophers to use amongst themselves, though modern-day artificial languages (such as Elvish, Klingon, Na’vi, and Dothraki) have been created for popular culture, commerce, and trade.

7. Rhyme time

E is both the most common letter and vowel in English and R is its most common consonant. However, more words start with the letter S. Something especially fun about English is its long list of words that don’t rhyme with any other. Think silver, bulb, angel, month, husband, wolf, purple, hungry, and wasp.

8. Synonyms galore

Some languages have cultural or culinary concepts with many dozens of synonyms (made famous by Eskimo languages Inuit and Yupik’s many words for snow). There are 27 Albanian words for “mustache,” (including “dirs ur” referring to a teenager’s new facial fuzz) and 43 words in Somali relating to camels. Over in Hawaii, there are 108 words for describing sweet potato, 47 for bananas, and 200 for rain.

9. The wonderful world of semordnilaps

A word that creates another when spelled backward – think stop > pots – is a semordnilap (taken from “palindromes” backward). Some examples of English semordnilaps include : diaper > repaid, desserts > stressed, evil > live, dog > god, drawer > reward, gateman > nametag, and smart > trams.

10. Accented sign language

Just as there is no such thing as being “accentless” in a spoken tongue, there are also accents in sign language. This is because sign language is not a direct translation or representation of spoken language, but its own language with grammar, idioms, slang, and expressions. Born Deaf signers can easily tell whether another signer is Deaf, hearing, or new to sign language. Over in the US, New Yorkers are known for being fast-signing, whereas those from Ohio are calmer. Accents can even be communicated with differing signing styles, such as draw-out signs to communicate a southern drawl.

7 language facts that will blow your mind

The future of how we’ll communicate is a source of heated debates – here’s our take if you’re curious – but whatever it is, let’s take a moment to appreciate the mind-blowing diversity and uniqueness of the nearly 7000 languages spoken by humans.

Here are seven language facts that will blow your mind:

1. Basque is a mystery language

The language spoken by around 700,000 people in the Basque Country, a small territory south of France belonging to Spain, is so unique and unrelated to any other language that experts aren’t even sure where it comes from. However, it’s thought to be so old it predates all other European languages.

2. There’s a language with only 12 letters

People on the island of Bougainville, near Papua New Guinea, speak a language with only 12 letters in it, so I imagine it isn’t a lot of fun for them to play Scrabble (or perhaps it’s just really easy).

3. Scrabble letter distribution is totally different between languages

Speaking of Scrabble, tile distribution in international versions of the board game tell us a lot about how those languages operate: for example, in Poland, the fifth most common tile is Z, while in Finnish the third most common tiles are T and N.

Meanwhile, in Slovenian and Catalan, E is the tile you’ll find the most – the same as in the original English version.

4. Most languages vs most words

Papua New Guinea is the country with the most languages, at 840. Meanwhile, the English language has the most at approximately 750,000(with new ones added each week).

5. The US has no official language

Despite English being the first language of many Americans – not to mention the language of business, media, and politics – it isn’t actually the official language of the United States. Why? Because there isn’t one: despite being the dominant language since the continent was colonized in the 1600s, it was never legally declared the national language.

6. English and French are everywhere

English is taught in every country in the world – but did you know that French is also taught in every country? Despite this, Mandarin Chinese is the world’s most spoken language. Take that, French and English!

7. There’s a word for ‘twin speak’

Sometimes twins speak their own made-up language, especially when young, and there’s an actual word for this – it’s called cryptophasia, which totally sounds like a Halloween theme park ride.