Benefits of Learning a New Language
So you’re slaving away trying to complete your French homework, and at this point, with all the grammar and useless exercises, you can’t seem to find any sense in the endeavor at all. What’s so good about learning another language besides communication, anyway? Will it make you a better person, or are other languages only for talking to your neighbor who just moved in from another country? Well, turns out there are a plethora of benefits of learning a new language. Let’s take a look at just a few of them in our quick list.
Happy, Smarter Life
Turns out not only is learning good for you, it also makes you happy. Learning new words actually activates your ventral striatum, the pleasure center of your brain. It’s a lot like eating a piece of chocolate. You get a good feeling from exercising your memory muscles. While those feelings aren’t as intense, they’re pretty darn healthy for you to develop over a long period of time. There’s a lot of evidence out there that learning languages helps you make more level-headed financial decisions, can improve your mood, and makes you score better on standardized tests.
Change Your Lens
One of the coolest things about languages is how they differ in expressing things. Some of the phrases we take for granted in English simply don’t exist in other languages, and vice versa. Therefore, the way we view the world is bound to change when we learn a different language. This can be as simple as word order and verb tense, but it can also include meaningful stuff like the nature of humans and what it means to be alive. Foreign languages have words that describe particular feelings or events in a precise and important way. To learn another language is to embody these semantics, and it might just change how you look at things.
Change Who You Are
That change in your lens contributes to who you are. You’d be a totally different person if you grew up in a different country, especially in one that doesn’t speak the same language you do now. While that may just be the effects of culture, language is a big part of who you are, even if you don’t realize it. For monolingual people, there is only one way to express and interpret everything in your life, and that’s your mother tongue. But for bilingual people, some find that changing between languages alters who you are, and how you act. Just as you’d act differently around your friends, coworkers, and family, your mode of expression adjusts to the language you speak in.
So what’s the consensus? Learning languages isn’t just for communication. Turns out, they can improve upon many areas of your life, and may even lead you to a happier and healthier one. We’d also like to mention the added benefits of just being more well-rounded and culturally sensitive. There are so many benefits of learning a new language; now get out there and study some vocab!