The Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

If you slept through Spanish class or have nightmares about conjugating French verbs, you might balk at the idea of trying to learn another language. But it might be worth another try, because learning a new language can have a lot of unexpected benefits. 

1.The world is becoming smaller.

Travel is easier and more accessible than ever, and it’s even possible to talk to somebody across the world through a webcam without ever leaving home. Humans are no longer divided by geography, so it’s important to know how to communicate with people from different regions of the world. 

Services like Google Translate exist, but they are very faulty and don’t capture the nuances of conversational language or regional dialects. Many like to mock their inadequacies by running familiar songs through Google Translate and seeing how incoherent the words become.

2. The big corporations might not be in your home country.

Many large corporations have their headquarters in Japan. Learning Japanese can be very useful for someone in the business field. Chinese, French, and Spanish are other commonly spoken languages around the world. 

Most people in these large corporations will learn English or have translators, but it’s always a good thing to be able to speak to someone without relying on a translator. It shows a level of respect and thoughtfulness that will go a long way in the world of business.

3. Gain insight into other cultures.

Learning a language also requires you to learn about its cultural context. It’s one of the most in-depth way to learn about another culture. How a group of people choose to convey information and express themselves tells a lot about their values, experiences, and ways of life. 

For instance, the Maori word for “land,” whenua (fuh-noo-uh), is the same as their word for “placenta,” and they have a tradition of burying the placenta of a newborn baby in the land where the baby was born. Their connection to the land is an important part of their culture, and this is reflected in the way they speak.

4. Improve your skills in your native language.

Learning how another language works can  help you better understand the rules of your own language by allowing you to compare it to another. This teaches you to look more closely at the words you use and how your sentences are structured. 

Learning Spanish, for example, which has many similarities to English but uses a different sentence structure, can  lead a native English speaker to think more critically about how to structure sentences and what the order of the words means.

5. Sharpen your mind.

Learning a foreign language also improves many other mental capacities, such as your analytical and communication skills, as well as memory, concentration, and problem solving. It can also help fight against age-related problems in the brain. It’s never too late to learn something new.

Learning a language may be difficult and time-consuming, but if you stick it out, you will learn a lot about yourself. You will learn patience, dedication, problem solving, cultural awareness, and many other important skills.

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