We’re all born in different geographical regions, speaking languages native to them. We are defined by these languages we are born into, and a large part of our identities are formed by them as well. Each language contains a diverse range of expressions and words, which are unique to it. And a language itself tells you much about its place of origin and use. Which is why learning a new language implies going beyond the realm of the familiar, and acquainting yourself with almost a different world. Especially in this day and age, with the advent of the internet and the growing use of technology, the world is defined by its interconnectedness, and being introduced to a new language is becoming more accessible and economical. Perhaps this is why, “learning a new language”, is an item that features on many a bucket list these days. However, there are still many who just aren’t willing to go through the effort, or simply believe it isn’t worth it or useful enough, if they aren’t going to live overseas. For those of you who think this way, there are many reasons why this is such an exciting prospect. Here are a few reasons why you should engage in learning a brand new language-
10. TRAVELLING GETS BETTER
Always dreamed of vacationing in a quaint French village, but cowered at the thought of conversing with the locals? Or, even visited a gorgeous new place, but had no idea how to get around? You, friend, have been the unfortunate victim of that awful ‘language barrier’. But knowing the language of the region you’re visiting, even if it’s just the conversational terms, can make your travelling experience a lot more hassle free. Not only that, knowing the language means you wouldn’t be spending excess money on pesky guides and translators, and you’ll be able to explore the place on your own terms and in your own way, leading to a more holistic experience. Moreover, the locals will respond to you better, and you’ll end up saving money on transport, shopping, lodging etc. That’s a definite win, right?
9. ENJOYING NEW CUISINES IS EASIER
When you visit a new place and speak their language, you’ll know exactly where to eat and what to get. But even if you aren’t in a new place, and wish to have a wider palate (albeit not a wider waistline), knowing the language means that you can go to an exotic international restaurant, and know exactly what the menu is telling you. The foodie in you could definitely do well with that information! Moreover, you could become a culinary expert in that type of cuisine, and whip up some delicious food in your own kitchen, simply because you understand the balance of ingredients in a more intimate way, by being familiar with the language and culture of the region.
8. BECOMING A PART OF A BRAND NEW CULTURE
How fun is it being a part of a culture? The festivals, the customs, and the history- it’s so very exciting to belong to such a rich plethora of things that define a region. So what if you get a chance, to not only partake in your own culture, but adopt one of your own choosing? Oh the absolute joy! Learning the language is perhaps one of the most important steps for doing just that. It allows you to understand the customs and appreciate them intimately, and not just be fascinated by them from afar. It allows you to participate in its festivities and contribute to them as well. As global citizens, it’s very important for us to broaden our cultural horizons. Double the culture, double the fun!
7. BILINGUALISM EQUALS BIGGER BRAINS
Learning a new language is literally like gym-time for your brain. Every day you spend learning something completely new, memorizing it and applying it, your brain is flexing. Our brain is essentially a muscle, the most important one at that, and it needs all the fodder and nourishment it can get. To analyze, and understand a new language is excellent for the development of the mind. In fact, Dartmouth College neuroscientists have detected “more activity in the brains of people who switch between two languages than in those who speak only one.” Another study by the American Council on Foreign Languages has shown that “language learning correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized test measures.” So get ready to learn a new language for some serious intelligence points!
6. STRONGER, SHARPER MEMORY
Yes that’s right; you have the chance to ward off memory impairing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia, simply by learning a new language. According to a study by The Society for Neuroscience, “bilingualism may delay the onset of age-related dementia, including Alzheimer’s, by up to four years. Although scientists don’t know why bilingualism creates this “cognitive reserve,” some theorize that speaking two languages may increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain and keep nerve connections healthy—factors thought to help ward off dementia.” Learning a new language can allow you to have a healthy functioning mind- with a wealth of knowledge of course, and moreover even allow you to savor your memories for the longest time possible. A neat bargain indeed!
5. YOU CAN BECOME A SOCIAL BUTTERFLY
Catching up with old friends and feeling intimidated by all the cool stories they have to tell? Well, learning a new language is a surefire way to impress and awe them. It’s an activity that requires attention, time and dedication. This automatically makes you a person of interest. Be prepared to answer a host of questions about your brand new talent, and about the country whose language you’re studying, and also show off some party tricks by spouting off a bunch of exotic sounding sentences! Not only is learning a language a fantastic way to gain repute with your existing friends, it allows you to make a bunch of new friends, by way of interaction with people in your language classes, meeting people in/from those countries or even by making some new pen pals across the world! No one said too many friends was a bad thing!
4. RENOVATE YOUR RESUMÉ
Honestly, aren’t we all looking for a fabulous CV to wow potential employers? Learning a language is a fantastic addition to your “special skills” section. As previously mentioned, learning a language is a complex activity that requires perseverance and time. And if you’ve managed to master another tongue, it bodes well for you as you are seen as a person who possesses the professional qualities of patience, dedication and commitment. Allow your employability to grow leaps and bounds by learning this special new skill.
3. EMIGRATE THE RIGHT WAY
If you’re looking for occupations that stretch beyond your shores, or wish to base your life in a brand new land, which speaks a completely different language, it helps if you learn the language of the place. It’ll allow you to adapt to the customs, and help you learn the way of life much better. Moreover, you’ll be able to make friends and contacts with a wider range of people, which means that you’ll be able to begin a happy new life, with loads of help and less alienation. A culture needn’t be shocking at all if you’re familiar with one of its most important aspects!
2. LET’S FACE IT- IT’S A LOT OF FUN!
Learning a new language is like getting a brand new hobby. Time consuming as they are, they allow you to have a bunch of fun. You get to play with new words, watch some fascinating cinema, listen to new music in that language, and read some foreign literature as well. In addition, you come off as oh-so-enigmatic and attractive to other people, which is always a plus!
1. BROADEN YOUR HORIZONS
Allow the language you learn, to change your world view. Don’t forget, learning a new language is a glimpse into a world you have never been exposed to. A world that comes with its own set of positives, and you can incorporate these positives into your daily life. Learning a new language allows you to be a more complete person, because you are able to challenge yourself in a truly intricate task, and challenging oneself to achieve greater heights is the hallmark of being human. Learn more, grow more, and evolve into a citizen of the world, because lesser boundaries mean more gains, for you as an individual, and for the world as well. Like the great writer Haruki Murakami said, “Learning a new language is like becoming a new person”. So get ready for a brand new you!