Multilingualism: The benefits of language learning

26/05/2020 | Rebecca Twose

Did you know that learning a new language might make you smarter and more decisive? Language learning may also benefit your mental health, as well as your work and personal life. Below we will be discussing these 3 benefits of multilingualism and language learning:

  1. Language learning improves your cognitive abilities
  2. Language learning enriches your personal life
  3. Language learning expands your careers opportunities

multilingualism

Improving your cognitive abilities

One of the main benefits of learning a new language is that it has been shown to have a positive effect on cognitive processes and it may even improve mental health. Physiological studies have shown that learning a new language could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies found that for adults who only spoke one language, the mean age for showing the first signs of dementia was 71.4. But for adults who were bilingual, the mean age was 75.5.

It has also been suggested that learning a foreign language can improve the functionality of the brain as it challenges it to recognise and distinguish between different language systems, which boosts your problem-solving ability. This has been reflected in studies where students who were bilingual scored higher on standardised tests than their monolingual classmates.

Language learning has also been said to help improve memory, as studies also show that bilinguals are better at remembering information such as shopping lists and directions. The reason for this is that learning a language involves memorising vocabulary and grammatical structures, these exercises improve overall memory as they strengthen the mental ‘muscle’.

language learning

Enriching your personal life

Multilingualism can also enrich your personal life. Travelling abroad is much more enjoyable when there isn’t a language barrier, there’s no need to worry about finding your way around because you don’t know the language. You’ll be able to speak to locals, order food, ask for directions and get fully engrossed into the culture of that country.

Learning a second language can help you connect and socialise with people from around the world. You will also become more aware of cultural differences and also understand why those differences exist and learn the importance of respecting cultures other than just your own. Language learning can inspire solidarity and improve tolerance which is essential in multicultural societies.

Language learning

Expanding your career opportunities

Learning another language can also have benefits to your career and working life. According to Ryan McMunn, language expert and CEO of BRIC Language Systems, his business would have never have been successful in China without him learning Mandarin. This highlights how learning a new language is essential if you want to work in a company who deals with international clients, or if you are looking to expand your business into a foreign market. Learning the language of the market you want to enter will help you build and maintain strong relationships with clients in that market whilst also improving your knowledge of that market’s culture.

Not only can multilingualism increase your opportunities and help businesses expand into new markets, but learning another language can also help you pursue a career in translation and language services. Many would argue that multilingualism is essential in an increasingly interconnected world.

If you’re looking for a job that will allow you to use your multilingual skills take a look at our careers page to see our latest opportunities. Or, if you’re working within a business that wants to expand internationally, take a look at our translation and localisation services to see how we can help you communicate with your foreign audience.

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