The Benefits Of Learning A Second Language
I have had the privilege of growing up in a bilingual household in a country where the majority of the population is monolingual. This has given me a unique opportunity to observe both my own position and those of my peers at school. With this in mind I have come up with the following benefits that can come from learning a second language which people who currently only know one can eventually enjoy.
Ability to communicate to more people
Knowing only English means that you are cut off almost completely from speakers of other tongues. Translation features of popular software can only do so much, especially since their are many idiomatic phrases that cannot be directly translated. Think of what the phrase “raining cats and dogs” or “head over heels” might mean to someone who speaks only Mandarin and you may have a clue about what those apps miss.
Understanding multiple cultures
Languages are made up not only of the words we speak but the cultural context from which they were derived. By learning to speak more than one, we pick up some of those little things and they can even change how we see ourselves. Languages from more individualistic cultures have different ways of expressing positive personality traits for instance than collectivist cultures.
There have been studies which show that people who pick up skills later in life are much less likely to suffer from incidences of memory loss as they age. This has implications for the development of some very serious disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Basically, by causing the brain to develop new synaptic links, learning words that come from another linguistic family will serve as a form of exercise. Your brain will become stronger as a result and less likely to succumb to degeneration.
Better job opportunities
Any qualification becomes more impressive if it is held by a polyglot. Resumes that list a second language are especially sought after now as the world is becoming a smaller and smaller global village. Where many people considered learning English for business purposes, the new choice is Mandarin or Cantonese for access into one of the world’s largest markets.
When you have advanced linguistic abilities you find yourself in a position to explain your world in much greater detail and to a much wider audience. I would recommend this to anyone.
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