Why wouldn’t we learn another language?
To learn (at least) another language is mandatory in (from what I know so far) all schools in Europe, during all the period of compulsory education (in France, until 18 years old). But after, during university and higher studies, it’s not mandatory anymore. So, for 3 years I didn’t speak Spanish (I was learning English and Spanish at school). At some point I found a 2 months internship in Spain about screen printing, where all the theory and everything was in Spanish. I realised how much I forgot, and it was very hard at the beginning. At the end of my days, my headaches were so bad that I would go straight back home after work, without going out and enjoying the Spanish nightlife.
Benefits of learning another language:
For the brain
My headaches were not coming out of nowhere. Practicing a language that I don’t master all day long requires a constant effort for the brain. All the stuff that normally doesn’t require any effort (doing the groceries, buying the bread at the bakery, talking with friends, asking information…) is an obstacle on which I have to think about. It stimulates the brain constantly. To practice a foreign language increases concentration faculties and memory maintenance.
It has been observed in old people that, signs of dementia or signs of Alzheimer’s have appeared up to 5 years later than in other subjects for the one who are practicing another language. It also maintains the liveliness and the ability to read. So, the impact it has on the cerebral and mental health is really good.
For a better access to knowledge
I have a friend from high school who is passionate about neurosciences and stuff about space. A huge crazy nerd. When he used to talk about the last fact or breakthrough he discovered, I would always ask about the sources, to check, because he would manage to talk about something very complex in a very interesting way. But everything was in English, since the studies were made most of the time in some American institutes. And of course, at this time I didn’t have the patience or the level to have access to this kind of content. But now I could perfectly read and listen to everything he sent me. Maybe for the podcast it would be still a bit too fast and hard to understand (some American accents can be really hard for me to understand). But still! It’s great to think that learning a new language allows you to have access to more knowledge. And it applies for any kind of field: cooking, art, science, …
For a better communication with people around us
Sometimes, children from immigration didn’t have the opportunity to learn the language of their parents. Learning this language is a way of communicating with family members who speak it, especially if they don’t speak the child’s mother tongue. It reinforces the feeling of unity in the family, and it’s also a way to reconnect with their roots and the culture of their ancestors. The language can thus be transmitted to future generations and participate in their cultural richness.
For couples from different origins, learning a foreign language is also a way to understand one’s in-laws, to better integrate into it and to show respect for this different culture.
For travellers, learning the basics before a trip is a way to have better contact with local people and to have a better integration in the country. And professionally speaking, it opens a lot of opportunities.
So now we know that learning a new language brings so much benefits, why in the world shouldn’t we learn a new language?
Of course, it’s work, and it requires time, but the satisfaction and the advantages you will get from this are priceless (:
So, ladies and gentlemen, to your books and languages apps!