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5 Reasons to Learn Another Language (And Links to Help You Do it Easily)

5 Reasons to Learn Another Language (And Links to Help You Do it Easily)

Learning another language can quite literally help to improve and extend the quality of your life. Here are five reasons to crack open that language learning course, and a few links to help you learn a language the quick and fun way.

1. Learning Another Language Boosts Your Skills

We could all do with a bit of a brain boost, especially when faced with our morning Sudoku. The good news is, learning another language appears to improve our skill sets in several areas, meaning that you don’t just get a new language under your belt but also see benefits in a number of other areas.

Studies have shown people who are bilingual are likely better at multitasking, have a better attention span, are better listeners and even have better memories. All this can lead to a noticeable jump in standardized test score performance. But the changes aren’t just intellectual!

2. Learning Another Language Makes Your Brain Grow

We know that acquiring skills in speaking another language has intellectual benefits, but that learning a language makes your brain grow isn’t just hyperbole. Adults learning a second language (or even a third or fourth!) have been shown to present with actual changes in several regions of the brain that serve language functions. This includes increases in hippocampus volume and changes to cortical thickness.

The good news is, anyone of any age can benefit from learning a language. As we’re often told, a stimulated brain is a healthy one.

3. Being Bilingual May Stave off or Even Prevent Degenerative Brain Conditions

It has long been known that keeping the brain active is important to stave off diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Research shows that learning another language early on in life can help stave of mental lapses as we get older, but even starting when we have a few good kilometers on the clock can have rewards.

Even in those who do go on to develop dementia, it appears that bilinguals might do so up to five years later than their monolingual counterparts and, some studies show, see the condition progress much more slowly and so may have a better quality of life for longer.

4. Learning a Second Language May Make You More Creative

Due to the fact that language learning requires you to grasp the structure, rules and differences of a language, it is highly likely that as a result of learning another language you will become more aware of your native language, helping to correct any imperfections and improving general usage.

More than that, there is also some evidence to show that because learning a foreign language requires thought about how to describe objects and people, you may acquire a new eye for detail and so boost your creativity.

5. Learning Another Language Lets You Explore Another Culture

Learning another language provides an ideal opportunity to explore other cultures. This can lead to a more authentic understanding of a culture that in turn can inform your language skills, making you a more rounded bilingual speaker. It’s also a great excuse for a holiday so you can really test your language learning skills!

Now, here are some tips and great resources so you can start learning a language easily right from the comfort of your own home:

Lastly, have fun with the process. Play games and enjoy the experience. After all, learning should be a pleasure, not a chore.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock.

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102 comments

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5:28AM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

After all, any foreign language is hard for a non-native, right?

9:00AM PDT on Jun 5, 2014

Japanese will be the nineteenth language I have studied under a teacher. I cannot retain that many languages but because I am a historical Linguist trying to figure out the origin of all languages means that I like to study as many languages as possible. Any language I decide to study again will come back to me much faster. Avarsky, Russian, Kartuli ena, and German are my first languages of choice. I have had quadruple bypass open-heart surgery and that has caused me memory lose, but now after a year my memory is starting to come back. In a month and a half I will be finally over sixty, but desire to keep on studying languages, have given up drinking and am eating carefully to make the results of the surgery last as long a possible.

9:33AM PST on Dec 14, 2013

wonderful!

8:12PM PST on Nov 30, 2013

I am trilingual :) English, Spanish and ASL

6:15AM PST on Nov 18, 2013

I'm working on my 13th language at this time, and if my brain actually grows with each one ... that's actually rather scary! Ha! :)

5:18AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

I wish that I had been raised with my father's language as well as English, (Malay). My father could not be bothered to teach me, it is a shame. A second and indeed third and fourth language is a bonus to life. Really well worth treasuring. I will consider the links though as I would still like to give another language a try one day. I am of the opinion that I am not a natural (failed at trying French at school). It is also interesting the comments made about being able to say thank-you to people in their own language. This is very true. It is also true that if you intend to move to another country it is common sense to learn the language as well. So many people have come to the UK with very little or no knowledge of English. Good Communication breaks down all the barriers.

12:55AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

i took 4 yrs. of Spanish in school & i never did learn how to conjugate -_- but, i grew up speaking Dutch & English, thanks Mom & Dad.

good post, thanks for the info.

12:47AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

Gracias..

3:20PM PST on Nov 16, 2013

TYFS

11:14AM PST on Nov 16, 2013

I speak 3 languages...but it was fairly easy as my parents are different nationalities. Should i ever have children---i would make sure they too learn at least 2 languages on top of english.

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